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The Tigard City Council approved using $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act money to aid homeless issues

COURTESY PHOTO: CITY OF TIGARD - This is what a homeless camp in back of Carriage House Apartments looked like last March until ODOT officials cleaned it up and posted No Trespassing signs. The city is in the process of looking to hire a person or persons to guide individuals who are homeless to resources they might need.  Tigard officials hope to hire a person, or several people, in paid positions to oversee and support the city's homeless population.

Earlier in December, the Tigard City Council approved using $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act — state and local money earmarked for helping communities in their COVID-19 recovery plans — to pay for three-year, term-limited positions to address the city's homelessness efforts.

"The additional team capacity for houselessness efforts will entail being responsible for the management and implementation of day-to-day unhoused support operations while also identifying and developing long term strategies," said Nicole Hendrix, a senior management analyst in the city manager's office. "This is in alignment with City Council's 2021-2023 goal on houseless to 'implement an actionable, person-centric and regional response to homelessness.'"

Hendrix said the new positions would help track and coordinate efforts to get needed resources to those who need them in "the most effective and impactful manner possible."

"Having one contact person available by phone and email, has been a frequent 'ask' by both council, businesses and the community," Hendrix said. "This added capacity will provide that point of contact the community has asked for."

Hendrix said details of the number of individuals who could be hired to address homeless issues are still being worked out.

Last summer, the city agreed to the formation of Tigard CHART, an acronym that stands for Community Homelessness Assessment & Response Team. The team is expected to pick up where the Tigard Task Force for the Homeless, which last met in 2017, left off.

That group could be composed of a council member, members of the business community, chamber of commerce representatives, homeless representatives, city employees and more.

Tigard Police Chief Kathy McAlpine said that group, which hasn't been formalized yet, is expected to hold its first meeting in January.

Last summer, Tigard held listening sessions involving downtown business owners who said they were frustrated by problems caused when individuals litter, camp, urinate or defecate in public.

While the chief has said dealing with the homeless shouldn't be a "police-led" effort, she has said police will remove people from private businesses if requested to do so.

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