A coalition of nonprofits championing a measure to fund homeless services announced plans Jan. 14 to place a regionwide measure on the November 2020 ballot.
The group, HereTogether Oregon, is crafting a citizens' initiative to raise $250 million to $300 million a year to target chronic homelessness. It unveiled its plans at a Multnomah County Commission briefing, after unsuccessfully lobbying the regional government Metro to refer the measure.
"November is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. "This is the number-one issue on people's minds in the tri-county area."
"It's really exciting that the voters have indicated that reducing homelessness is a priority for them, because it signals that amongst all of the the things that could be on the ballot that is one thing they are hoping to see," said Katrina Holland, executive director of Community Alliance of Tenants, and co-chair of the advisory committee for HereTogether.
Metro is working to refer a transportation measure to the same ballot.
Metro Councilor Sam Chase, who has championed affordable housing, says he supports the group's plans to collect signatures.
Metro President Lynn Peterson declined to voice support.
"There's no question the region needs to have more of these services to deal with the problems we face," she says. "But we have governance questions, outcome questions and accountability questions. We need to do more community engagement."