Measure 110 provider says controversial measure is a step in right direction

GRESHAM Ore. (KPTV) – A recovery center in Gresham is soon expanding its services to provide a warm bed for those seeking help through the night, thanks to funding from Measure 110. Club Hope is a daytime recovery hub that provides free services for all stages of recovery offers. With funds from Measure 110, she will soon be opening 26 barrier-free beds.

“This is an amazing organization helping people get off the streets, get clean and get their lives back,” said Dawn Marks, program manager for the Recovery Access Center. “The Recovery Access Center will start in March, these are our beds. It’s something we’re really excited to bring to the community. We will be able to work with other community partners and gather information from those people, bring in other people who are struggling with addiction and homelessness and get them to seek treatment, detox or whatever that looks like to them, set up. We pick them up where they are. You don’t have to get stuck.”

On Monday, Marks gave us a tour of the male and female dormitories.

“That way they were safe all night,” Marks said. “They didn’t have to be out or consuming all night. When I was out there, there weren’t any such options. There were no warm beds.”

“When Access to Carer’s Allowance originally came out from M110 over a year and a half ago, it actually saved this building,” said Monta Knudson, CEO of Bridges to Change. “We had it for another program that was closing. The Access to Care funds actually gave us the opportunity to secure the building, secure our lease and plan for the opening of the Recovery Access Center in March.”

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While an audit released earlier this month by the Secretary of State’s office says it’s too early to say whether Measure 110 will be successful, Knudson says the audit doesn’t tell the whole story.

“I think what really struck us as vendors reviewing it was that it sounded like there was no data available to collect,” Knudson said. “For us, we had collected data and provided it to the Oregon Health Authority on what populations were being cared for, how many people were being housed, all the different types of data that we needed to collect. We passed it on to OHA. The challenge with the audit was that it said nothing about what the providers had done, just that no data was collected because they couldn’t find the kind of data they were looking for at the Oregon Health Authority. This has hit vendors hard because we’ve really been working out here to make a difference, and reading this review we felt like we’re not doing what we should be doing out here.”

Knudson believes the passage of Measure 110 was a step in the right direction to fix a flawed system.

“What people need to realize is that the entire system has stopped and failed because of COVID, because of 50 years of disinvestment in addiction services,” Knudson said. “I think what’s important, and what people often don’t realize, is that nonprofits like mine across the state of Oregon prior to COVID in 2020 were already understaffed and underfunded. We just tried to serve as many people as possible. There were waiting lists and you could be on an inpatient waiting list for over a month at a time. When COVID hit, it completely stopped our system and it lasted for quite a while. We opened up telemedicine just like other organizations, but our homeless didn’t have access to care through that mechanism. What people need to realize is that the entire system has stopped and failed because of COVID, because of 50 years of divestment in addiction services. So what we are seeing and have seen is the ongoing need to open up immediate access to care. That is, when someone is at the door, they are not told to come back next week or even tomorrow. People need access now. They need quick access to medical care. So we see this from the treatment level, to the detoxification level, to the housing level, to the peer services level, to the harm reduction level. I know there have been many hurdles along the way and there will be more, but we see hope in the process. Changing the system is difficult. It takes time and dedication and that’s what we’re here for.”

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With funding from Action 110, Bridges to Change will be able to add over 200 new residential beds in multiple districts and hire additional staff to continue its mission in the community.

“It will allow people to come in without obstacles,” Knudson said. “We want to pick people up where they are. We want to keep people alive, we want to make services accessible, and our 26 beds will ensure that. They are 14 day express access beds so our team can work with them to move them to other places, we can work to get them into treatment, we can provide them with harm reduction services. Being able to provide them with these quick turnaround homes for our community along with services will be essential to meeting the needs out there.”

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