Central City Concern

Providing comprehensive solutions to ending homelessness
and achieving self-sufficiency.

Black History Month Series: Addressing Housing Needs

Feb 27, 2015

On any given night, nearly 3,000 people in Multnomah County—including parents with children—are grappling with homelessness. They are mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters. They may be sleeping under bridges or in cars. They may be staying with friends or in emergency shelters.

The causes of homelessness are complex. Untreated mental illness, substance abuse, chronic illness, physical disability, domestic violence, and job loss usually play a role. Inadequate access to health care, cuts to social services, and an increasingly tight rental market make matters worse for people who can’t or won’t turn to friends and family for help.

The situation is especially dire for families and people of color who are newly in recovery from addiction and want to live in a housing environment that supports their recovery process. Currently, many families must wait a full year before receiving a referral for affordable housing that includes critically important on-site support services. Very few organizations provide culturally specific services for people of color, an historically underserved part of our community.

In July, Central City Concern and Miracles Club will break ground on new construction of a 47-unit apartment building for individuals and families. The building will be located in a Northeast Portland neighborhood that was home to many African Americans in the 1950s and 60s; services will include culturally-specific peer mentoring. Guardian Real Estate Services is overseeing project development and building completion is expected in Fall 2016.

The $12.7 million project has received strong support from the Portland Housing Bureau as well as private funders. Central City Concern continues to engage in fundraising efforts to fill a gap of roughly $350,000 on this project. The agency is also working to raise another $200,000 to build additional units of affordable family housing over the next two years.

Monthly Volunteer Spotlight: February Edition

Feb 26, 2015

Each month, we’re profiling an exceptional individual who has given her or his time to volunteer at Central City Concern. Today, meet Angela, who has been one of the most upbeat, positive volunteers CCC has ever had!

Name: Angela C.

Position: Old Town Clinic Concierge. Duties include making patients feel welcome as they enter the Clinic, asking if they need any help, directing patients to the correct check-in location or Clinic space.

What drew you to CCC and this volunteer opportunity?
I’m in a recovery program myself. I’m six years clean now. I found volunteering here to be in support of my own program. It helped me to serve other people to support my own sobriety.

What did you expect out of this volunteer role before your first day?
I got what I expected – a lot of patients who were very warm and kind to me and I could be warm and kind to.

What lessons or impressions are you walking away with from volunteering?
My heart has opened up more to people here. The people who receive services here are very generous and kind with their spirit. People are really grateful for any help I give them – even things like telling them the pharmacy hours or where the bathroom is.

What would you tell someone who is new to your position about CCC or the volunteer role?
Be prepared to smile at people. Acknowledge everyone's humanness. Just smiling and making eye contact is extremely beneficial and makes everyone feel human who walks through the front door.

• • •

Angela always brought a big smile, a shining attitude, and genuine compassion into the Old Town Clinic. Thank you, Angela, for all the time you spent with our patients!

If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities, contact CCC’s Volunteer Coordinator at eric.reynolds@ccconcern.org.

Black History Month Series: Words of Wisdom

Feb 23, 2015

Throughout the month, we've heard from Central City Concern's Director of Cultural Equity, Over-Representation Program Case Manager, and Cultural Healing through Recovery Program Manager, all of whom happen to be women. For today's Black History Month series entry, we asked several male African American staff members for words of wisdom and inspiration based on their own journeys. 

• • 

“Be kind and fair to all; you never know what other people are going through.” - Leonard B.

“Because I have witnessed the Watts riots first hand, shoot outs between police and Black Panthers, school riots, gang riots, police harassment, the legal system, and personal setbacks, I have had to readjust my thinking about society and my place in it numerous times. I’ve found that you can continue to grow and make a new place for yourself, and by doing that you can continue to experience achievements and successes. Never give up on yourself. Remember that ‘It ain’t over until it’s over.’” - Kas C.

“A mistake is not an error until you refuse to correct it. And remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’” - Reginald S.

“Be more kind than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.” – Tyrone R.

“Listening is a skill.  I’ve had to learn to listen so I can really hear the needs of others.” - Anthony B.

Every day is a great day. There is no such thing as a bad day. There may be days where things may not go your way, but all in all, it’s still a great day. And this quote from Michael Jordan has been inspirational to me: ‘I realized that if I was going to achieve anything in life I had to be aggressive. I had to get out there and go for it. I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it's an illusion to me.’” – Fletcher N.

Central City Bed®

Central City Bed® - unfriendly to bed bugs, stackable, easy to clean and reuse. Appearing at national trade shows. Check Central City Bed for details. Learn more »

We Are Family 2015

Join us on May 6 at We Are Family 2015 to benefit Letty Owings Center and Family Housing programs. Sharon Wood Wortman, Portland's "Bridge Lady," will join us as our featured speaker. Learn more »

Central City Coffee

Through craft roasting coffee in Portland, OR, Central City Coffee supports the clients and mission of Central City Concern. Available at local retailers and as office coffee! Learn more »
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