I am writing my quick note this week, again on the topic of homelessness which has been and will continue to be a priority area for our chamber.
This week our chamber released a report on the state of our homelessness crisis in Lane County. I wanted to make sure each of you saw the report. The report includes background and 8 recommendations.
We have spent the last 6 months diving in very deeply to this issue as it is one of, if not the biggest issue facing our community and subsequently our business community. In a period of 4 months we spoke with over 150 community partners- nearly every nonprofit service provider who works in this space, city and county staff, community leaders, business leaders, unhoused individuals and many of you. We have also spent time talking to leaders in other communities who are facing similar challenges in size and scope. We are by no means the expert on this issue, but this report brings in the opinions and experiences of those experts and attempts to summarize the state of this crisis for the broader community.
We firmly believe that another report is not going to solve this issue, but what we do hope it can do is educate the broader community, who we learned is frankly, losing a lot of hope that we can overcome this challenge. We also hope it can help our elected leaders understand where we think some of the biggest opportunities for improvement exist. Some people think that we just need more funding to solve this challenge, our research has led us to believe that if we continue to do things the way we are doing them, no amount of money will help us end homelessness.
There are systematic issues with the way we are addressing this issue that must be dealt with before more money can be effectively deployed in our community. This issue is too big for our government or nonprofit leaders to solve on their own, and as such we need them to agree to come together with a broader coalition of stakeholders to sit at the table as equals to determine how we can do things differently. Other communities have done this effectively, we can too.
Our next steps include:
1. Establishing a Business Leaders Task force to direct a private sector response to this crisis.
a. Execute by October 2021
2. Build out implementation tactics for each of the recommendations included in this report.
a. Execute by: November 2021
3. Convene a strategic group of stakeholders from business, nonprofit, faith community, academia, government, etc. to determine a collective approach and shared goal to solve this crisis.
a. Execute by: November 2021
4. Hire an economist to perform a cost study/ economic impact analysis to better understand where our money has gone and the economic impact this issue is having on our community so we can more effectively allocate resources.
a. Execute by: December 2021
I am looking forward to more in-depth conversations with business leaders and community leaders in the weeks to come on this research and our recommendations. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with your questions or input. If you are interested in participating in these next steps, please let me know.
Thank you for all you do for the community,