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County Budget Fights Disparities

6/24/2015, 4:29 p.m.
Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith is applauding passage of a new county budget that increases support for families in crisis ...
Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith

Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith is applauding passage of a new county budget that increases support for families in crisis and fights economic disparities.

The fiscal year 2016 budget was approved last week and represents the county’s most aggressive interventions against poverty and socioeconomic disparities, Smith said. Citing the leadership of Chair Deborah Kafoury, she added “Your beliefs and care for the people of Multnomah County are boldly enshrined in this budget.”

Smith won a budget amendment to fund a Promise Neighborhoods Initiative for $2 million, a $1 million increase for a new and unprecedented investment in youth and families in crisis with an assortment of wraparound services in an effort to create stronger, sustainable communities.

“We can’t be timid in addressing epidemics that are leaving families destitute and hopeless,” said Smith,” especially in communities where those disparities are sometimes two and three fold.”

Smith also cited approval of $500,000 to support a Portland Development Commission initiative that will launch an inclusive start-up fund focused on mentoring and access to early-stage capital for Portland based firms with diverse founding teams; $250,000 to support individuals experiencing mental health crises and the expansion of affordable housing units; and $75,000 expansion of a senior hunger initiative at culturally specific meal sites to provide meals five days a week

“We’ve accomplished some great things here today to help individuals and families in need. This is the reason I get up every morning – to advocate and assist the residents of Multnomah County,” said Smith.