All Good Northwest Wants to “Contribute” to Wheeler’s Plan to Create Homeless Campuses

The nonprofit says its pitch for business wasn’t really a pitch for business.

More than 200 people testified last month on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s plan to create vast “campuses” where homeless people could pitch tents and get access to restrooms and other services.

Some citizens said they loved the plan, while others warned the campuses would be concentration camps. Andrew Brown, director of systems operations at All Good Northwest, said he’d like to run them.

“We are the only regional provider with a sustained experience and demonstrable success in operating outdoor shelters,” Brown said.

It’s unusual for a service provider to make a business pitch during a hearing, especially when the provider has a complicated history. All Good Northwest billed the Joint Office of Homeless Services $525,000 in unallowed expenses, according to a July report by Multnomah County Auditor Jennifer McGuirk, including $330,000 in double-billed payroll.

The auditor’s office started its investigation after it got a tip on its Good Government Hotline. All the funds were recouped as a result of that alert, the auditor said.

The report is particularly damning, the auditor said, because Multnomah County helped set up All Good Northwest just last year, and the Joint Office was its sole source of funding.

“All Good Northwest was essentially a county-funded startup,” the auditor said. “It did not exist as an operational organization until the Joint Office contracted with it to operate alternative shelter programs. Because of this, it did not have any established funding or cash flow to support operations. It appears that All Good Northwest’s overbilling errors stemmed, at least in part, from cash flow issues within the organization due to its 100% reliance on county funding.”

All Good Northwest runs the BIPOC Village on Northeast Weidler Street, the Queer Affinity Village on Southwest Naito Parkway near the International School of Portland, and the Multnomah Safe Rest Village on Southwest Multnomah Boulevard. It also runs the Market Street Shelter. (WW reported this summer that All Good Northwest abruptly closed its rest village in Old Town, citing gunfire and other violence in the surrounding streets.)

Brown said he wasn’t soliciting business.

“We are not seeking a service contract,” he said at the hearing. “We are humbly suggesting that the operators of the only city-developed, county-funded, and private operator of outdoor houseless shelter be invited to contribute.”