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Central City Concern is Ending Homelessness

The deeply transformative approach Central City Concern is taking to end homelessness is changing lives on a daily basis.

Presented by Central City Concern September 24, 2021

After years of homelessness, Charlette was able to access health care, addiction treatment, housing and employment services at Central City Concern’s Blackburn Center.

On Thursday, October 28 at 7:00 p.m. Portlanders will have the chance to tune in and support Central City Concern’s (CCC) mission-critical work through Compassion in Action. The half-hour presentation will air on KGW8 NBC and concurrently livestream on YouTube, Facebook and KGW.com.

Hosted by KGW Anchor Brenda Braxton and television personality Dale Johannes, the program will celebrate CCC’s work to end homelessness and raise the funds needed to keep providing quality health care, affordable housing, and employment opportunities to the public, especially those in underserved and marginalized communities. It will feature special guest appearances by Dave Dahl (formerly of Dave’s Killer Bread) and a special musical performance by America’s Got Talent finalist and Pink Martini guest singer and songwriter Jimmie Herrod.

During the show, viewers will be encouraged to donate by texting the keyword CIA to 501-55 from their phone or by visiting the Central City Concern website.

CCC clients and employees will share their stories during the organization’s first televised fundraiser. Charlette is among the thousands of individuals whose lives have been turned around because of the assistance she received from CCC.

By the summer of 2019, Charlette had lived on the streets of Seattle for six years. Heroin took a toll on her body and her mind. But she wasn’t ready to make a change until she lost six friends to overdoses in a single week. Grieving, Charlette called her sister to bring her back to Portland.

When she entered Central City Concern’s Blackburn Center on Portland’s east side, Charlette was one of the first people to walk through its doors. She expected to fill out some paperwork and set up an intake meeting for a few weeks later.

Blackburn Center

Blackburn Center. Blackburn Center offers a first-of-its kind deeply integrated care model, with housing, health care and employment services all under one roof.

Instead, within an hour, Charlette had her insurance transferred to Oregon, saw a primary care provider who treated her long-ignored thyroid condition, and visited a psychiatric nurse practitioner who prescribed medication to ease her withdrawal. Soon after, she was able to pick up the medicine, Suboxone, at Blackburn’s on-site pharmacy.

In the coming weeks, Charlette received one-on-one and group counseling for her substance use. And she joined 80 other residents in the Blackburn Center Apartment’s alcohol- and drug-free transitional housing.

Six months into her recovery, Charlette took advantage of Blackburn’s employment services and got job training doing front-desk and maintenance tasks in Central City Concern’s other buildings. That training helped her get a job at a grocery store when she returned to Washington. Today, she is the assistant manager at the very same store.

By having health care, housing and employment services all under one roof, CCC makes it easy to access many kinds of help so people like Charlette can gain stability. “For over 40 years, Central City Concern has helped thousands of people to find homes, to regain health and recovery and to build economic stability and resilience. We provide primary care, addictions care, and mental health that’s really person-centered,” says CEO Rachel Solotaroff. “We provide supportive employment, walking alongside people to help them get meaningful wage jobs. And we work with people to find housing that is safe, supportive and affordable.”

“The result of Central City Concern’s integrative approach is deeply transformative,” says Solotaroff. “For the individual but also for the whole community. The stories you’ll hear at this year’s event are of compassion, hope and transformation.”

Located in Portland, Central City Concern provides a comprehensive continuum of affordable housing options integrated with direct social services including health care, recovery, and employment. Founded in 1979, the organization serves more than 13,000 individuals annually. Up to 12,000 people across Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties are affected by homelessness each year.

Learn more about Compassion in Action on the CCC website.

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