Central Oregon’s homeless population is growing, and its impact on our community is increasing. The latest Homelessness Point-in-Count survey showed a 12% increase in the homeless population in Central Oregon over the last year. Many of those individuals are suffering from mental health and addiction challenges. Communities across Oregon are struggling with finding solutions. Over the summer, the Oregon Legislation allocated $54.5 million to Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) to support the creation of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH). One of six policy priority areas in Oregon’s five-year Statewide Housing Plan, Governor Brown’s goal is to place 500 PSH homes throughout the state by June 2021.

Permanent Supportive Housing is a proven solution that combines permanent, affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services. Wrap-around services include community-based mental health support, abuse treatment, employment services, and life skills. There are no time limits on the length of their stay. Studies show by providing a safe and stable living situation; tenants can build independence and live a more productive life. A considerable benefit is seen for the public. We spend billions of dollars responding to a crisis in our ERs, jails, and state hospitals. The chart compiled by OHCS shows the cost-benefit of PSH for an average night. A comprehensive study done in Orange County, California in 2017 showed an annual cost of $100,759 per person for a chronic homeless individual living on the streets with a disability (i.e. mental, physical, addiction, etc.) The annual cost per person in permanent supportive housing with services was reported as $51,587. That’s a 50% saving to the public.

Capital + Services + Operating = Development Team

The challenge with developing PSH is having the right partnerships in place to develop and maintain housing for some of our community’s most vulnerable. The team must include a developer (can be a non-profit), service provider, and property manager.

  • Developer: Oversees capital development (the money!) and the project from concept through construction. They ensure the project will be viable for the long term.
  • Service Provider: Designs and implements the services offering plan. They raise funds for ongoing operations and coordinate any additional services outside their umbrella.
  • Property Manager: Designs and implements the day-to-day operations plan. They upkeep the property and manage the inflow of tenant revenue. They also coordinate with the services provider.

Developing a successful Permanent Supportive Housing requires a uniquely qualified and knowledgeable team. $20 million of the allocated funds are set aside for a technical assistance institute pilot program. Project teams accepted into the institute will participate in a 10-day (over five weeks) training led by the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH). The curriculum covers everything from financial forecasting and property management to trauma-informed care and coordinated service delivery. Many Central Oregon organization have applied to this pilot program (see the Oregon Housing and Community Services’ website for the list). Results will be announced this fall.

Permanent Supportive Housing in Central Oregon – Liberty Lodge

A new PSH named Liberty Lodge is currently under construction in Redmond. It focuses on intellectually/developmentally disabled (I/DD) residents with incomes no higher than 50% of the area median. This vulnerable population, without support, has a high rate of homelessness. The two-story building is home to eight one-bedroom units plus a community room with full kitchen, bathroom, and coin-operated laundry. In addition to being located within walking distance to many services, a whole spectrum of wrap around resident services will be provided at Liberty Lodge to encourage the residents’ success. Liberty Lodge is being developed by Housing Impact, LLC (a partnership between Housing Works and NeighborImpact).

View other Permanent Supportive Housing examples here.

With Central Oregon’s rising homeless population, Permanent Supportive Housing will be a critical addition to our community. Visit www.csh.org to learn more and support our state’s ongoing efforts.

Peter Baer, President, Pinnacle Architecture Peter is the principal architect and founder of Pinnacle Architecture. He established Pinnacle in 1990 with the mission to enhance lives and communities. His firm works across Oregon helping house the venerable, build the health of communities, and educate the next generation. Peter recently attended the Oregon Housing Conference in Portland that focused primarily on Supportive Housing. Contact Peter at Peter@Parch.biz or 541.388.9897 to talk more about Permanent Supportive Housing.