Photograph of the front and side façades of a six-story building with commercial spaces on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors.
Photograph of the kitchen of a new, empty apartment.
Photograph of a kitchen with one wall made of windows.
Photograph of the front and side façades of a four-story masonry building with commercial spaces on the ground floor and residences on the upper floors.
Photograph of the front façade of a two-story apartment building with communal greenspace in the foreground.
Photograph of the front and side façades of a two-story apartment building.
Photograph of the front and side façades of a four-story building with commercial space on the first floor and residences on the upper floors.
Photograph of adults and children in a playground occupying the courtyard of a three-story apartment building.
Photograph of the front façade of a row of 3 two-story townhouses.
Photograph of 10 beds arranged in 2 rows in a large room.
Photograph of a community room containing two long tables with chairs and an upright piano; a kitchen is in the background.

 

Home >Case Studies >Portland, Oregon: Central City Concern Administers Recovery Housing

 

Portland, Oregon: Central City Concern Administers Recovery Housing

 

Central City Concern (CCC), a nonprofit serving people experiencing or at risk of homelessness, poverty, and addictions in the Portland metropolitan area, offers transitional and permanent housing options integrated with social services, health care, and recovery assistance. With 1,685 housing units in 21 buildings, CCC provided approximately one-third of all transitional and permanent supportive housing beds in the Portland Continuum of Care service area in 2015. Designated a federally qualified health center, CCC has 11 sites where clients can receive healthcare and recovery services. CCC administers standard supportive housing that adheres to Housing First principles, in which residents are not obligated to enter substance abuse treatment programs in order to receive housing. In addition, CCC offers recovery housing in Alcohol and Drug Free Community (ADFC) units, which allows residents with substance abuse issues to pursue sobriety with the help of peer support in an environment where they will not be exposed to alcohol and drugs.

Alcohol and Drug Free Community Housing

Like all programs based on a Recovery Housing model, CCC’s recovery housing is intended for people who have freely chosen to live in a recovery housing environment. CCC’s commitment to resident choice upholds the spirit of the Housing First model practiced by the Portland Continuum of Care, which provides permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness as quickly as possible without requiring them to enroll in support services.

To secure housing in one of CCC’s 16 ADFC buildings, prospective tenants must be referred for transitional housing by one of CCC’s partner agencies, or they must apply for permanent housing. The transitional housing is available to people who are newly engaged in treatment and recovery, have been recently released from incarceration, or have recently lost their housing; the goal is for these residents to obtain permanent housing at a CCC facility or elsewhere within two years. Residents may stay in ADFC permanent housing as long as they wish and receive continuing care throughout their residency, provided they comply with the ADFC conditions of occupancy. Prospective residents must demonstrate their commitment to recovery by maintaining sobriety for 90 days before moving into ADFC housing. Upon moving in, each tenant signs a rental agreement that includes the conditions of occupancy — the resident and their guests must not use, possess, or share alcohol or drugs on or off the premises; the resident must participate in an approved recovery program; and the resident must submit to no-notice drug and alcohol testing. Some ADFC buildings and units have additional eligibility requirements related to population-specific funding, such as Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS grants or HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing rental assistance.

CCC administers 808 units of ADFC housing, which are available either with rent subsidies or at market-rate rents depending on the resident’s income. This housing includes 661 units for individuals; these studio, single room occupancy, and one-bedroom apartments include 429 permanent and 232 transitional units. ADFC housing for families comprises 147 one- and two-bedroom units; 10 are transitional and 137 are permanent.

Because CCC has found that communal facilities foster success in recovery, all ADFC buildings are designed to create a sense of community among residents. These features include communal kitchens and dining areas, group meeting spaces, outdoor areas for socializing, and offices for peer mentoring.

Financing

CCC’s first housing developments involved renovating the urban tenements and single room occupancy buildings that were common in Portland’s Old Town. Today, CCC also renovates hotels, offices, and apartment buildings as well as constructs new buildings for standard supportive housing and ADFC housing. CCC’s buildings vary in age, location, cost, and target population. As a result, Rachel Post, CCC’s public policy director, cautions that a typical cost does not exist for CCC’s developments, although all are funded with mixed-financing arrangements.

CCC’s newest ADFC building, Miracles Central Apartments, was completed in August 2016 at a cost of $12.94 million (table 1). Miracles Central, located in Northeast Portland, is a 47-unit complex for individuals and families who have recently left residential treatment centers. The units, which occupy the building’s top 4 floors, are all permanent housing, consisting of 21 studio, 22 one-bedroom, and 4 two-bedroom apartments. Accessible features are provided in 10 units, and all other units are adaptable. All of the housing is affordable, with 19 units reserved for households making 60 percent or less of the area median income and 28 units for people earning at or below 50 percent of the area median income. The first floor of the building is dedicated to services and community spaces, including peer-mentor offices, a community meeting room, a computer lab, and small-group meeting spaces.

Table 1: Financing for Miracles Central Apartments

 

Portland Housing Bureau

$7,100,000

 

 

Low-income housing tax credits

3,600,000

 

 

Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle grant

600,000

 

 

Oregon Housing and Community Services Low-Income Weatherization Assistance program

205,000

 

 

City of Portland System Development Charges waiver

557,000

 

 

Central City Concern funds

300,000

 

 

Deferred developer fee

575,000

 

 

Total

$12,937,000

 

 

Impacts and Successes

CCC measures the success of its recovery housing program primarily by the proportion of clients who retain stable housing and sobriety after leaving the program. By these metrics, the program has produced very good results spanning both transitional and permanent housing. More than two-thirds of the residents of transitional ADFC units move from transitional to permanent housing; almost 90 percent of those who leave ADFC housing and remain in public or private permanent housing elsewhere for at least 12 months. Of ADFC permanent housing residents, 87.7 percent remain in the recovery housing program for at least one year. The average length of stay in permanent ADFC housing is 3.7 years, although several residents have remained for decades. Most residents who leave permanent ADFC housing exit to some other stable housing arrangement, and 89.9 percent remain sober a year after exit.

Sharon Fitzgerald, assistant director of supportive housing for CCC, attributes the success of the recovery housing program to its fostering of community as well as its emphasis on resident choice. By providing a choice between standard supportive housing and ADFC housing, CCC empowers individuals and families experiencing homelessness to take control of where and how they live and receive services. “[I]t is vital to provide choice to facilitate recovery — this is true for substance abuse, family reconciliation, success related to contact with the criminal justice system, and mental health,” explains Ed Blackburn, executive director of CCC. Going forward, CCC plans to maintain both ADFC and standard supportive housing and promote community connections as a tool for building healthy lives.


 

Source:

Central City Concern. n.d. “About Central City Concern.” Accessed 28 July 2016; Coordinating Committee to End Homelessness. 2015. “Continuum of Care Application for the Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County CoC,” 17 November. Accessed 23 August 2016; Interview with Sharon Fitzgerald, assistant director of supportive housing for Central City Concern, 18 August 2016; Central City Concern. n.d. “Health and Recovery.” Accessed 17 August 2016; Central City Concern. n.d. “Properties.” Accessed 1 August 2016; National Alliance to End Homelessness. 2016. “Housing First.” Accessed 29 August 2016.

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Source:

Central City Concern. n.d. “About Central City Concern.” Accessed 28 July 2016; Central City Concern. n.d. “Housing Development.” Accessed 1 August 2016; Interview with Ed Blackburn, executive director of Central City Concern, 18 August 2016; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2015. “Recovery Housing,” SNAPS In Focus, 15 December. Accessed 24 August 2016; National Alliance to End Homelessness. 2016. “Housing First.” Accessed 26 August 2016.

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Source:

Interview with Rachel Post, public policy director of Central City Concern, 23 August 2016; Central City Concern. n.d. “How to Access Housing.” Accessed 1 August 2016; Central City Concern. 2011. “What is ADFC Housing?” Accessed 1 August 2016.

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Source:

Central City Concern. n.d. “Transitional Housing.” Accessed 1 August 2016; Interview with Sharon Fitzgerald, assistant director of supportive housing for Central City Concern, 18 August 2016; Interview with Rachel Post, public policy director of Central City Concern, 23 August 2016.

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Source:

Interview with Sharon Fitzgerald, assistant director of supportive housing for Central City Concern, 18 August 2016; Central City Concern. n.d. “Properties.” Accessed 1 August 2016.

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Source:

Central City Concern. 2016. “About Central City Concern.” Accessed 28 July 2016; Correspondence from Ed Blackburn, executive director of Central City Concern, 22 August 2016; Interview with Rachel Post, 23 August 2016.

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Source:

Interview with Rachel Post, 23 August 2016; Document provided by Central City Concern.

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Source:

Interview with Sharon Fitzgerald, assistant director of supportive housing for Central City Concern, 18 August 2016.

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Source:

Interview with Ed Blackburn, 18 August 2016; Interview with Sharon Fitzgerald, 18 August 2016.

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