Groundbreaking for Housing and Healthcare

Integrated services will help residents stay housed

11/14/2017, 3:46 p.m.
A pioneering commitment from local hospitals and health organization to supportive, affordable housing
An artist’s rendering shows the future Blackburn Building with its health clinic and affordable housing units coming to Northeast 122nd and Burnside.

A Portland nonprofit serving people impacted by homelessness, poverty and addictions, is celebrating the beginning of construction for the third of three buildings for its Housing in Health initiative, a pioneering commitment from local hospitals and health organization to supportive, affordable housing.

Central City Concern also announced that the building, at 25 N.E. 122nd Ave., will be named the Blackburn Building in honor of their retired president and chief executive officer, Ed Blackburn.

Blackburn, who recently retired after 26 years at Central city Concern, was instrumental in pulling together the Housing is Health initiative, the culmination of years of leadership and relationship building.

The two-story health care facility will serve 3,000 people each year with recovery and mental health services, as well as targeted primary care services. The clinic will include a pharmacy and 52 units of respite care, including 10 units of palliative care. Additional housing will include 90 units of transitional housing and 34 permanent homes.

During last week’s groundbreaking ceremony, community member and Central City Concern client Mike Holevas described his journey from high school science teacher to addict, to a person in recovery working toward wellness and self-sufficiency. He once bought drugs on the very corner where the Blackburn Building will be.

“This corner now can be the site where thousands who are suffering—and believe me, we suffer—can come for transformation, healing; families will be restored,” he said. “I’m so proud to be part of something that will bring hope and healing to thousands of people like me."

Additional speakers included representatives from the Housing is Health initiative’s six hospitals and health organizations, including, Adventist Health Portland, CareOregon, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals; Oregon Health Sciences University, Providence Health and Services; and Legacy Health.

“The Housing is Health collaboration is an excellent example of health systems recognizing the impact housing has on an individual’s health,” said Dr. Rachel Solotaroff, Central City Concern president and chief executive officer. “They’ve united for improving health outcomes as well as the common good of our community.”