The Portland City Council on Wednesday, 19 April 2023, unanimously decided to give California-based Urban Alchemy a five-year, open-ended deal worth up to $50 million to run its large housing places for homeless people.
The deal doesn’t say if these homes will be tent sites or small hometowns, nor does it say how many sites Urban Alchemy will run in the end. To get important state money, though, the city will have to build small homes or premade buildings on the sites instead of giving people tents.
Urban Alchemy says a 150-person tent site would cost $5.1 million a year to run, plus an extra $400,000 for starting costs. A 75-person tiny home village would cost $2.6 million a year, plus an extra $200,000. Documents from the city say that the city has agreed to pay for the cost of food, electricity, and building the sites, which were not included in those figures.
The city has already said that the Central Eastside will be where Urban Alchemy will run a site first. At first, the city planned for the 1490 SE Gideon Street lot to have tents so that up to 150 people could sleep there.
Some recent news on this related topic-
- Breaking News: Kotek Grants $18.2M to Tackle Homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County
- Jackson County Has $9 Million for the Homeless, Whereas Josephine County Has None
But after Gov. Tina Kotek said that tents were not safe enough to live in, the city agreed to build 140 sleeping pods at the spot with money from the state. Most likely, the pods will look like the small houses that people live in at the city’s Safe Rest Villages.
A Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler spokesman, Cody Bowman, said that tents paid for by the city will also be set up at the spot for “people who don’t feel comfortable in an enclosed space for various reasons.”
Last Month, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler also retweeted a post of Urban Alchemy which is given below-
I am grateful that @UrbanAlchemyUA is partnering with us to develop Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites to better connect homeless Portlanders with vital services and shelter. I am confident that this the right team for the job. https://t.co/uRQvNe32jz
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) March 9, 2023
The city finished the lease deal for the Gideon Street building on Tuesday.
The city hasn’t said where else its large camps will go yet. The up to $50 million deal allows Urban Alchemy to run more sites or add more buildings to the current site. The city and Urban Alchemy have already been talking about these options. The deal doesn’t say whether the growth would require small homes or tents paid for by the city.
During Wednesday’s public hearing, several people questioned Urban Alchemy’s history of housing success and safety practices, as well as cases that had been made against the charity in the past. Some people who spoke asked the city to spend money on rent, help and housing instead of the large camps.
Wheeler said that the project he proposed last fall wouldn’t replace what the city is already doing to help people find housing. Instead, it would be a new way to keep people safe while waiting for housing or not feeling ready.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the problems with Urban Alchemy weren’t discussed, but Wheeler said the city needs to try something new to keep people safe.
Source- Oregon Live