Changing lives, building communities, creating opportunities. The mission of Central City Concern is to provide pathways to self-sufficiency through active intervention in poverty and homelessness.
Central City Concern meets its mission through innovative outcome based strategies which support personal and community transformation.
- Direct access to housing which supports lifestyle change.
- Integrated healthcare services that are highly effective in engaging people who are often alienated from mainstream systems.
- The development of peer relationships that nurture and support personal transformation and recovery.
- Attainment of income through employment or accessing benefits.
In the early 1970s Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood was populated largely by older men living in shabby, crime-ridden single room occupancy (SRO) buildings. The rent was cheap, the drug of choice was alcohol and Portland’s street inebriate problem was one of the worst in the nation. In 1979, in response to this growing problem, the City of Portland and Multnomah County together created the Burnside Consortium (now known as Central City Concern) to administer a National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) Public Inebriate grant.
CCC’s initial work involved alcohol recovery treatment as well as affordable housing management and rehabilitation. Early on, it was clear to CCC leaders that safe housing was of paramount importance to those in recovery and to the neighborhood at large. CCC’s work in renovating urban, SRO housing became a standard for other nonprofit housing organizations and attracted national attention.
In the 1980s, “recovery” extended to those addicted to crack cocaine and heroin and CCC adapted its programs. Its portfolio of affordable housing units increased and it began offering alcohol and drug free housing to support those in recovery as well as their families. To further support clients’ transformations to full self sufficiency, CCC added employment training and work opportunity program in the early 1990s.