At an Open House on December 9, 2015 Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare released architectural plans for its new $3.5 million center in Northeast Portland. Here is what Sue Vorenberg, Contributing Writer of the Portland Business Journal, wrote about the project:
The facility will combine mental and physical health services with affordable housing. The organization has raised about $1.7 million for the project in the past five months, meaning the project looks like it will be finished, on schedule, in fall 2017.
“It’s a combination of providing affordable housing, including a portion dedicated for those with mental illness, that’s integrated with other physical and behavioral health services,” said CEO Derald Walker. “When we actually started soliciting campaigns we found that pretty much everybody was incredibly receptive to the idea.”
The facility will be in Cascadia’s Garlington Center, 3034 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
The development, set to break ground in late summer, 2016, will include an area for primary care and mental health services and a separate four-story 52-unit affordable apartment building with 10 to 12 apartments dedicated specifically for the mentally ill.
Cascadia has about 600 apartments in the Portland area dedicated to housing the mentally ill. This project will combine similar housing with affordable housing for the general public, something that is desperately needed in the city, Walker said.
“This is the first venture strictly for low income housing, since all of our other developments are for people with mental illness,” Walker said. “It’s going to be new to us, but we need more affordable housing in the area.”
One of the other reasons for the combined use is a relatively new federal affordable housing requirement calling for 80 percent of the facility to remain open to the general public, Walker said.
Rent for the units will probably be somewhere around $700 a month, although those suffering from mental illness will have access to subsidies.
The mentally ill often face challenges when dealing with primary care and physical health services. Metabolic diseases like diabetes and hypertension are more common in those who suffer from mental illness.
“People with mental illness have not been treated well when it comes to primary care,” Walker said. “Those individuals feel marginalized by medical clinics, and so often they just avoid them all together. This is the first clinic to combine both services in this specific model that I know of.”
So far, the group has received donations of $500,000 from FamilyCare Health, $250,000 from an anonymous donor, $250,000 from Meyer Memorial Trust, $100,000 from the Mitzvah Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation and a host of smaller donations from other groups.
“This opportunity aligns well with FamilyCare’s efforts to improve the health of lower-income Oregonians,” said FamilyCare Health CEO and President Jeff Heatherington. “We’ll continue to invest in partnerships which have the power to make sustainable changes in the lives of not only FamilyCare members but all those who live, work, and play in our service area.”
Walker expects Cascadia to collect donations to cover the rest of the $3.5 million project in the next six to eight months.