Advocacy

Everyone needs a place to call home

By September 15, 2020October 22nd, 2020No Comments

by Will Allen

When someone asks us whether we feel housing is a privilege or a right, we have an unequivocal answer: all humans deserve a safe and comfortable home and community. We know from our decades of experience on the front lines — supported by the most recent research — that building a life worth living is difficult, if not impossible, in our society without a space to call your own and a community that’s well resourced and free of institutional, cultural, and individual discrimination.

Roughly two-thirds of people without shelter in the Portland metro area have at least one disabling condition… and have been houseless for at least a year.

People seeking mental health care on their recovery journey often experience increased stigma and discrimination when searching for, obtaining, and keeping housing. Roughly two-thirds of people without shelter in the Portland metro area have at least one disabling condition — a mental health condition, chronic illness, physical disability, or addiction disorder — and have been houseless for at least a year. These results largely confirm what providers like us have seen for years: people living with fixed incomes and who face disabilities continue to bear the brunt of Portland’s housing crisis.

This contributes to the trauma, violence, and marginalization of our community.

Advocacy for fair and accessible housing is core to our mission and purpose. We know that to tackle this complex issue and move the needle beyond calls for action and political rhetoric, we need to see material change in a variety of areas.

These areas include:

  • Funding for permanent supportive housing and houseless outreach teams
  • Policies to waive the red tape and fees of local governments in the construction of affordable housing
  • Coalitions of nonprofits and community members to speak out against discriminatory policies and opinions of local jurisdictions and individuals that target and disenfranchise the people we work with.

By providing community education, lobbying our local, state, and federal governments, and proposing and executing innovative and bold housing solutions, we believe we can realize a world people seeking mental wellness aren’t ostracized, but welcomed into our communities. And where they have access to one of the most essential building blocks to stability and safety: a place to call home.


Will Allen is the Director of Housing and Operations for New Narrative. Connect to him via email or LinkedIn.

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