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Mid-Year Legislative Report: Policy Wins, People WinsWednesday, September 22, 2021
In addition to all the “on the ground” work Central City Concern (CCC) provides helping our homeless neighbors, we spend a considerable amount of time advocating for change at a systems level in order to address root causes of homelessness.
During the first half of 2021, CCC’s public policy team made great progress. Even with the stress of the last year, a record number of CCC staff turned out to engage in advocacy during our Oregon state legislative session. We gathered over 400 signatures on five different staff sign-on letters addressing key bills, which included over 70 unique comments from staff sharing stories of impact. Seventeen staff members attended 14 meetings with legislators and their staff. Five staff and four clients provided testimony at committee meetings. And one staff member testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, co-chaired by Senator Ron Wyden.
We are incredibly grateful.
With the passage of Measure 110 in November of 2020, CCC’s public policy team devoted time during the legislative session to support the implementation of this historic decriminalization and investment in treatment and supportive services for people who would like to change their substance use. Several staff were interviewed by media to educate the public about the importance of this work.
CCC staff and leaders were deeply engaged in the implementation work of the Metro Supportive Housing Services measure, which passed in May of 2020. Starting now, the first rounds of new funding and expanded services will be rolled out with service providers. We are excited to be working with Multnomah County on expanding services, especially where we can improve our integrated approach for housing and behavioral health.
Less Jail Time
Our Flip the Script (FTS) Advocacy Committee has also continued to make important connection and pushed for consequential legislation at the state level. FTS supported the recent passage of HB 2172 that would increase access to early release from parole and probation, as well as SB 620 to eliminate supervision fees. The participants of the FTS programs are finding their own personal success stories and paving the way for more community members to find health and stability, post incarceration. Earlier this year FTS met with staff from the Portland Police Bureau’s Equity and Training department and will be meeting with the Associate Directors overseeing reentry, release and supervision services at the Department of Corrections.
No doubt, there’s more hard work ahead. However, we’re proud of the legislative changes and the financial investments state and local leaders have made to support communities most impacted.
You can read our full Mid-Year Legislative Update here, including which priority bills passed, new investments made and other impactful pieces of legislation which will affect all Oregonians.
Our public policy team works year-round to advance policies to end homelessness, improve health care access, increase economic justice, correct racial disparities and achieve greater alignment of the support systems our clients rely on.