Answers to your questions about Supportive Housing Services
How does the measure intend to address our region’s homelessness crisis?
In May 2020, voters in the metro area approved Measure 26-210 to help end homelessness across the region. The measure and its implementation are built on the philosophy that everyone can better address life’s challenges, maintain wellness and thrive when they have housing. To achieve this, the funding improves access to services for communities of color, people with disabilities, people with low incomes and others most affected by houselessness.
Historically, county systems of homeless services have been deeply underfunded compared to the need. This fund will scale resources to the need by leveraging state and federal funding and the existing infrastructure in combination with these new tax dollars to regionalize parts of this work to better meet community needs and support regional coordination.
What does the funding pay for?
- Emergency services such as outreach and shelter
- Placement into housing and help paying rent (short and long term)
- Advocacy and case management
- Services in the areas of mental health, physical health, language and cultural needs, education, employment, addiction and recovery, tenant rights and others.
Why Metro and not individual counties or cities?
Metro brings the strength and experience of regionalism, helping unite jurisdictions together to accomplish regional goals to address homelessness. With this funding, Metro supports regional coordination among the counties and provides transparent oversight and accountability to ensure all supportive housing services funds are spent in line with the intergovernmental agreements and work plan.
Who is taxed to generate the funds, and at what rates?
The funding comes from a 1% marginal tax on taxable income over $125,000 for individuals and $200,000 for joint filers, for people living within Metro’s jurisdiction as well as nonresidents who receive income sourced within the Metro jurisdiction. This means that for a single earner who made $150,000 annually, $25,000 would be subject to the tax. It also collects a 1% tax on net income from businesses within Metro’s jurisdiction who have over $5 million in gross receipts from both within and outside the Metro jurisdiction.
What are Metro’s role and the counties’ roles?
Metro collects the tax, and provides distribution, support, oversight, accountability and regional coordination for the fund. Counties create their own local implementation plans (LIPs) which outline how they will spend the funds and are approved by the SHS Regional Oversight Committee and then Metro Council. Each month Metro distributes tax revenue to the counties based on the amount collected. The counties then allocate funding to programs and community partners based on their LIP.
With so many entities involved, how is the funding coordinated?
Counties’ LIPs had to meet criteria laid out in the Measure and the Metro SHS work plan, to ensure a base level of alignment. All funds must be spent according to these local frameworks.
Counties already have systems and service networks in place to receive funds and contract them out for supportive housing services. Although many organizations are providing services, contracts are centralized at the county level. The SHS Regional Oversight Committee provides high-level financial oversight of funding investments and expenditures.
5% of funds are reserved for regional programming and projects that are guided by a regional plan created by the Tri-County Planning Body (TCPB). This group of 13 community members established in May 2022 sets regional goals and investments, which will be funded through a regional investment fund.
Once taxpayers pay their taxes, where does the money go?
Tax payments flow from the tax administrator (the City of Portland), through Metro and to the three counties for local implementation. After withholding the cost of tax collection, Metro disburses 95% of collections to the county partners, with 5% retained by Metro for administrative costs. The funds go to the lead agencies and departments of each county who coordinate the funding countywide and are then allocated to programs and service providers, when applicable.
What are the program goals and metrics, and how were they decided?
The goals for the 10-year fund are outlined in the Supportive Housing Services Work Plan adopted by Metro Council. They are:
- Connect 5,000 chronically homeless households with supportive housing
- Stabilize 10,000 households at risk of or experiencing homelessness in permanent housing.
The counties set annual goals and metrics. In the fund’s first year, combined county goals include:
- New outreach teams that will connect with 2,000 people experiencing homelessness to support access to homelessness and housing resources
- 700 new shelter beds
- Stability for 2,400 people in permanent housing.
Regional outcome metrics for the funding over the next ten years – which were created with a stakeholder advisory group – can be found in Section 5.2 of the Supportive Housing Services Work Plan.
Broader goals for the funding include advancing racial equity, building service provider networks, advancing pay equity and ensuring equitable geographic distribution of resources.
Why such a strong focus on racial equity?
While people of color make up 29% of all people in greater Portland, a January 2022 count in Portland found that nearly 40% of people experiencing homelessness were people of color. These numbers show that, while most people struggling with houselessness in our communities are white, people of color are unhoused at higher rates.
These inequities are the result of hundreds of years of racist policy and practice that have disadvantaged communities of color in everything from housing to employment to healthcare. Providing support to communities of color demands culturally-specific providers, as well as cultural responsiveness by all providers.
How far along is the SHS fund and what is progress looking like at this point?
As of June 2022, counties were on track to meet most of the fund’s goals.
View progress updated on a quarterly basis
Where can I find data and reports?
The counties’ quarterly progress reports and local implementation plans can be found at the bottom of the progress tab. Counties also share their own data, which includes outcomes from other funding sources in addition to the SHS fund.
What kind of oversight exists for this funding?
The Supportive Housing Services Regional Oversight Committee is made up of volunteers who provide independent and transparent oversight of the fund. The committee includes community members with diverse personal and professional experience and expertise, including people with experiences of housing instability and homelessness. The committee helps make sure the fund is fulfilling its goals and makes annual reports and presentations to the Metro Council and the boards of commissioners of Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties regarding the fund’s challenges, successes and outcomes. The committee currently meets every other month.
How does the public get involved?
Attend a public meeting to hear about the latest progress with the SHS fund. The Supportive Housing Services Regional Oversight Committee and the Tri-County Planning Body hold regular online meetings that include the opportunity for public comment. Additionally, to understand more about homelessness and addressing it, you can attend your local continuum of care (CoC) meetings. The CoC is the entity that oversees all of the homelessness work in your area.
You can also volunteer with one of the many organizations that provide services with the SHS fund.
How do I stay informed?
Sign up for Metro's affordable housing and supportive services newsletter to receive updates on this work. You can also sign up for Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties’ newsletter.