Collaborative Capacity and the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County: Stakeholder Perspectives
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This research examines one anti-poverty initiative adopted at the federal level and its impact at a local level by exploring the complex interplay of policy development, implementation and collaboration. This study examines the divergent and convergent viewpoints of key stakeholders regarding efforts to end homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County, and the potency of the 10-year Plan to End Homelessness. Particular attention is given to the role of collaborative efforts to achieve local goals. Community characteristics that supported the success of the initiative are explored as well. Stakeholder groups interviewed for this research include nonprofit staff, City of Portland staff, City of Portland elected officials and their staff, as well as Multnomah County elected officials and their staff. Twenty interviews were performed with representatives from nine nonprofits, two departments for the City of Portland and related agencies including the Housing Authority of Portland and the Police Bureau. Several current and former elected officials from the City and County, as well as their staff were interviewed. Findings suggest that pre-existing resources in the community supported the positive outcomes from the Plan. In part, prior efforts made Portland and Multnomah County a successful competitor for multi-million dollar grants; this fortified their ability to develop and implement their Plan. This study’s findings also suggest that the Plan provided a more inclusive forum to address the issue of homelessness than had historically come together; specifically, stakeholders noted the importance of family providers getting their fair place at the “table.” The importance of the specific leaders who held key roles- and characteristics of these leaders- in designing and implementing the plan emerged as an important theme, as well. Last, beyond differences which are intuitively apparent, there do not seem to be any notable differences between stakeholder perspectives. Those interviewed for this project seemed to recognize and honor any inherent differences in their roles, responsibilities and oversight.