Federal leaders tour county behavioral health resource center, present $2.67 million check for outdoor plaza

April 15, 2022

Multnomah County’s first behavioral health resource center garnered statewide and national attention on April 12, as U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici personally presented President Deborah Kafoury with federal funding of $2.67 million to support the ongoing program. development.

“There are a lot of projects going on, but I don’t think there’s a single one I can name that’s as substantial a new effort as a project that President Deborah Kafoury has driven for the past three years,” Senator Merkley said.

The resource center is slated to open this fall on SW Park Avenue, thanks to timely planning that began before the COVID-19 pandemic. The center will serve people experiencing chronic homelessness, providing peer-led behavioral health services in a drop-in center, as well as transitional housing and dozens of new shelter beds.

The building’s outdoor plaza will be a key element in creating a safe and calming environment for people receiving services at the Resource Centre.

“Thanks to their leadership,” President Kafoury said of the members of Congress, “we were able to secure significant and crucial financial resources to help open our place, which is an integral part of the functionality of the BHRC.

The building’s planned 6,000 square foot outdoor space will serve as an accessible plaza through the Day Center and serve as a space where individuals can spend time with their pets, socialize with each other, or simply get a breath of fresh air. fresh in a safe environment in downtown Portland.

“We really considered it part of healing to have a place that allowed people to be in a quiet space next to the health services being provided,” Rep. Bonamici said.

“Some struggle within the four walls of a room,” President Kafoury said, noting that having a place will make the behavioral health resource center more welcoming to more people in need.

Rep. Bonamici and Senator Merkley presented the funds to President Kafoury and health officials at the Behavioral Health Resource Center in the form of a giant check – a visual exclamation mark over the federal allocation that was also supported by US Senator Ron Wyden and the US Representative. Count Blumenauer.

Merkley and Bonamici also joined county leaders for a tour and panel discussion on how the Center will provide peer-led, culturally appropriate and trauma-informed care to homeless people with behavioral health issues. in downtown Portland.

“We want to take a moment to thank you for your support and advocacy,” Health Department Director Ebony Clarke said.

Deandre Kenyanjui, coordinator of the county consumer engagement office, said work to build the resource center has begun in the community, meeting and listening to community partners and people with lived experience of homelessness and behavioral health issues.

“What we’ve done is create a pathway with a low access point,” said Dr. Christa Jones, senior manager of the Community Mental Health Program in the Division of Behavioral Health.

The resource center will offer a drop-in drop-in center on the first two floors, where people with mental illness and substance use disorders who are homeless can come in and use washing machines, take showers, eating meals, and finding support for basic health care, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment, including referrals and peer support.

The third floor will have 33 shelter beds and the fourth floor will have 19 transitional “relay” housing beds, for people with behavioral health issues who have had difficulty accessing services.

The day center is expected to open this fall. The refuge bed and deck accommodation on the third and fourth floors are scheduled to open in 2023.

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