Mentally ill face fewer city services in Portland

From, September 13, 2011

READ – Multnomah County’s Mental Health Services Expected to be Largely Preserved, Sept 8, 2011, The Lund Report

The story below is several news cycles behind. Maybe KGW outsources its reporting, or their subscription to The Lund Report has lapsed. Or who cares? And the photo attached to this story is stock.

City and county leaders are warning about a budget crisis for mental health treatment. And a large group of Portland’s homeless population could feel the effect of a reduction in services.

Mayor Sam Adams tweeted Tuesday, that due to coming cuts from the county, state and federal level, providing mental health services would become more challenging.

County Chair Jeff Cogen agrees. Of $12 million in state cuts, funding is down $5 million for mental health services in Multnomah County.

“In addition to these cuts we are going to get additional cuts from the federal government we expect to learn about in October, and then we think additional cuts from the state next February- these are really tough times, and there are no easy answers,” said Cogen.

Cogen is especially concerned about a change in policy enacted by the state legislature that affects funding for Multnomah County services.

Cogen says instead of funding levels based on need, it is now based strictly on population. That is the case for three of five million in cuts, that funds the county’s mental health crisis line.

“We know here in Portland and Multnomah County we are a magnet for people with mental health problems and so the system that says we invest where the need is is just fair and good policy. And to make this change now in the midst of all these other changes just seems like a kick in the teeth to Multnomah County residents,” said Cogen.

Outside the Union Gospel Mission, one woman said cuts for mental health treatment for those in need is moving in the wrong direction.

“I think that’s a lousy deal because there are so many people out here that do need help,” said the woman named Christine.