News

Columbia Pacific CCO awards $50,000 grant to help Community Action Resource Enterprises, Inc. (CARE) scale services to support homeless communities in Tillamook County

Sep 7, 2022, 15:43 PM

Today, Columbia Pacific CCO announced that it is providing Community Action Resource Enterprises, Inc. (CARE) with a $50,000 grant to help expand case management services aimed at addressing  the ongoing homeless crisis in Tillamook County.

“Tillamook County has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the entire state,” said Leslie Ford, Housing Strategy and Development Advisor at Columbia Pacific CCO. “A lot of these folks are unsheltered in unsafe and unstable locations throughout the region. CARE is a long-time partner of ours and has been dedicated to supporting homeless individuals in our communities for years. We’re honored to support them in this work as they continue to expand their efforts in providing more housing access to our members in need.”

The grant will fund a Shelter Case Manager who will provide one-on-one support to unhoused individuals and help them transition into housing and out of homelessness. The Case Manager will also provide members with resources to help address all their other basic needs, such as nutrition, employment and other social services.

“What a Shelter Case Manager does is work directly with people to connect them to the right resources in the community that best fit their needs,” said Peter Starkey, CARE Executive Director. “It might be getting them connected to a food bank; it might be temporary housing; it might be helping them enroll in the Oregon Health Plan so they can get medical care.”

“By providing shelter, connection to resources and intensive case management, we find that individuals experiencing homelessness are able to move forward, achieve stability and remain in a state of physical and mental wellness.”

The funds will also help expand capacity, scale services and support even more people who are in shelter and who need shelter.

CARE is the primary organization that acts as the entry point for individuals experiencing homelessness in Tillamook County to access social services and supports. Known as Coordinated Entry, it provides streamlined access to homeless services and resources. Through this, unhoused individuals are able to meet with a Housing Case Manager and get connected to housing programs such as eviction prevention, one-time rental assistance and short and long-term rental assistance.

Currently, there is a growing wait list to access these programs. An additional Case Manager will help alleviate this burden, so CARE can serve even more individuals who need these resources and services.

“If members don't have this kind of support, they can't take advantage of any of the healthcare and social services that can help them transition out of homelessness,” Starkey said. “It's not very feasible to apply for work and other social services or adhere to a medical treatment plan or behavioral health treatment plan if they don't know where they’re going to sleep that night or if they’re not in a safe, stable setting. It’s important that we keep scaling our services to provide this kind of essential access.”

Providing housing support and case management services is a key foundation to being able to benefit from health plan services and improve overall health outcomes. CARE housing assistance programs and services have shown to be successful, helping hundreds of individuals access the support they need to move from homelessness into housing. 

“It’s really difficult for homeless individuals to get organized around services and resources,” Ford said. “Systems are complicated and hard to maneuver, add that to lack of shelter and permanent address for them to sign up for services, on top of a whole host of other barriers. That’s why a Case Manager is so crucial in supporting those who are unhoused. They’re here to remove these barriers and help end homelessness in our region.”

About CARE

Community Action Resource Enterprises (CARE) is Tillamook County's homegrown, locally controlled, non-profit social service agency, serving by and large, OHP members. Created in 1991 to help ease the effects of poverty in Tillamook County, CARE has grown in direct proportion to the need in our community. They now provide a wide array of services for people in crisis and others who struggle to make ends meet.

About Columbia Pacific CCO

Columbia Pacific CCO is proud to serve more than 33,000 Oregon Health Plan members living in Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties. As a nonprofit coordinated care organization (CCO), we provide physical, dental and mental health care through a growing network of healthcare providers. Our priorities are guided by our local board of directors, community advisory councils and clinical advisory panel, and are informed by extensive community engagement. Columbia Pacific is committed to promoting the health of all those in our region. We focus on increasing access to language services, offering treatment for those experiencing substance use disorders, and fostering connections that promote social health.