Six Oregon health care organizations, including five major hospitals, are donating $21.5 million to help Portland meet critical challenges in affordable housing, homelessness and health care.
The support not only will serve a humanitarian cause by helping the homeless find a place to stay, but also will relieve some pressure on hospital emergency departments where the severely needy many times turn for shelter.
"If you look at many of the repeat patients who come to our emergency departments on a frequent basis, often they don't have a stable housing situation," says David Russell, president and CEO of Adventist Medical Center and Adventist Health Medical Group in Portland.
"We don't discharge (homeless) people to the streets. I don't think any of the hospitals in the community do," Rusell says.
The initiative provides Portland hospitals with "a very good housing situation to potentially discharge patients to," Russell says.
The participating health care organizations are Adventist Health Portland; CareOregon; Kaiser Permanente Northwest; Legacy Health; Oregon Health & Science University; and Providence Health & Services in Oregon.
The six organizations are investing in a unique partnership with Central City Concern, a nonprofit agency serving single adults and families in the Portland metro area who are impacted by homelessness, poverty and addictions.
As part of the initiative:
- The Eastside Health Center will serve medically fragile individuals and people in recovery from addictions and mental illness with a first-floor clinic and housing for 176 people. The center also will offer 24-hour medical staffing on one floor.
- The Stark Street Apartments in East Portland will provide 155 units of workforce housing.
- The Interstate Apartments in North Portland will provide 51 units designed for families. It is part of Portland's North/Northeast Neighborhood Housing Strategy to help displaced families return to their neighborhood.
"All of these problems are interwoven," says George Brown, M.D., president and CEO, Legacy Health. "Affordable housing, homelessness, behavioral health, drug addiction. This investment helps the Portland community move in the right direction toward a solution to these problems."