Portland Ideation Summit: Housing for All

From HousingWiki
Hackathon For Social Good general page

The Portland Ideation Summit: Housing for All was an event sponsored by WebVisions, Saturday, January 27, 2018 from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM (PST) in Portland, Oregon. 

The event was organized by Brad Smith (WebVisions) and Sue Gemmell. Forty people attended, who had a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, including students, activists, houseless people, mental health experts, social services professionals, programmers, and people who were just interested. 

A list of resources was shared ahead of time.

After hearing seven perspectives on homelessness (see list in the schedule below), a system diagram was shown, that illustrated the cycle from housed, to unhoused, and back to housed (image to come). Participants were asked to think about what could prevent people from becoming unhoused, and what could help peple get housing. Also, what are the factors that cause homelessness, and the barriers that keep people on the streets? Participants wrote their ideas on post-its and placed them on large copies of the cycle diagram. 

System cycle.jpg
System cycle.jpg

The next step was ideation - to think of a product or service that doesn't exist but would address some part of the cycle and prevent homelessness. Each group came up with an idea and presented it, very briefly. Then we had a pizza lunch, people could keep chatting and change groups if they wanted to. After lunch, groups got to work drawing or writing up about their ideas, and in some instances building (the outreach tracker). At 4 pm the event culminated in final presentations and discussion, described below. All ideas were applauded.


Next steps

Organize events to continue developing these projects, and find resources to ensure they happen. A page has been set up for each project (see list below), and these are open for project members and others to keep building on and branching out from. 



Oregon Tenant Resource Center

Tim McCormick, YIMBYwiki.

Renters Emergency Response 

Marih Alyn-Claire, TenantsPricedOut.com 

Realtime Roadmap

Oz Ramos, Dan Linn, Eboni Brown

Idea Guide

Outreach Mapping

Portland Homelessness Portal

By the People, For the People

Law Review Project

Coordinate wishlists across agencies: (added as placeholder 25 April 2018, by Sue)

The Clackamas Service Center is in need of the following:

Denture cleaner & adhesive
Hand & Body lotion .... etc

I wish there was more coordination between local organizations for these things somehow. I know for a fact that TPI has a constant stream of almost all of that stuff, but of course you have to travel to old town for that and that's not an option for a lot of folks.

This could be solved with some info sharing tech. I have ideas; will follow up.



Tickets page: 



Pacific Northwest College of Art 
511 NW Broadway 
Mediatheque - Ground Floor 
Portland, Oregon 97209

Facebook group & Twitter 

Facebook group for event participants (now opened to other people too): https://www.facebook.com/groups/PdxIdeationHousing/.

Event photo album (on Facebook)


Twitter: @PdxHomesForAll.

Hashtag:  #PdxHomesForAll  (if you put this on your tweets, Facebook posts, Instagrams, blog posts, etc, we + others will be find and link conversations more easily). 

Twitter search for #PdxHomesForAll



Hackathon for Social Good page, with schedule: 

08:30am Doors open: Sign in / Coffee and Scones;
please bring your refillable water bottle.

09:00am Opening message; review the day’s process

09:15am Brief presentations about the homeless crisis

  • Barbra Weber, Activist Street Roots, Hygiene Huddle
  • Ibrahim Mubarak, Activist, Right 2 Survive
  • Eliot Hinkle, Life Skills Coach – LGBTQ Specialist, New Avenues for Youth
  • Savanah Walseth, Manager, Kenton Women’s Village
  • Chris Aiosa, Executive Director, Do Good Multnomah
  • Jason Renaud, Coordinator, Oregon Law & Mental Health Conference
  • Mark Lakeman, Founder, Design Director, Communitecture and Advisory Council Member, Dignity Village

10:00am - Divide into groups; Ideation and strategy.

11:00am - Groups present their plans.

12:00pm - Lunch break – pizza and salad provided

12:45pm - Concept development.

03:45pm - Finalize and prepare for presentation.

04:00pm - Presentation of projects.

05:15pm - Feedback and next steps announced.


Ideation Exercise (10-11am)

alt text

Reflecting on what you heard from the speakers, what you’ve seen, your professional experience, personal experience, homelessness, and sharing information with fellow participants at your table, think about the cycle of losing and regaining a place to live (large diagram is on the next page).

At the top of the circle, the image represents people in safe housing. Hading counterclockwise, misfortunes could send people on the path to living on the street. Job loss, illness, sudden unaffordable rent, for example.

Think of all the resources you know that could intercept the impact of misfortune, and return or keep someone housed. Rent aid, family loans, sharing homes, for example. Using the yellow post-it notes, write as many ideas as you can. Stick them in the upper left of the circle, around the smaller loop, labeled “hope.”

Use orange post-its to write and share ideas for barriers that prevent people from getting the help they need, and stick those on the lower left corner, between 9 and 6.

These events have the result of the people housed above now living on the street. What can you think of, and know about, that can trap people on the street? Instead of effectively using the resources, they cycle back onto the street.  Write your ideas on the orange post-its and paste them in the lower right corner, on the small loop called “barriers.”

If people can avoid those barriers, resources will help, and they will reach a point of safety - indicated by 3 o’clock - and find their way back into a safe housing situation.

Discuss with your group what you see. What unmet needs do you see in the cycle? Where is help, communication, resources, missing? What barriers need to be removed? Use your imagination to propose new solutions. Your idea can be:

  • Info system/app (for geeks);
  • New concept in shelter (architecture/design);
  • New concept in services (social, non-profit);
  • Research and advocacy (policy wonks).
  • Other - no constraints!


Attendee list 


See:  Portland Ideation Summit attendees 



Resources page: http://www.hackathonforsocialgood.org/resources-homelessness-in-the-portland-area/.

Gather with regional experts, advocates, activists and people who have experienced homelessness to imagine and pursue new ways to house the people who live on Portland’s streets. 

The Ideation Summit will accommodate ~ 60 participants, who will form groups to deliver innovative ideas that can be pursued at future events. Portland is known for its hackathon culture -- so let's apply the Hackathon for Social Good approach to the homeless crisis. 
-- Hackathon: a day of focused, determined, collaborative work
-- For social good: solving social issues by local communities, for local communities. 

The Summit will be a collaborative forum to develop innovative ideas and plans that take on the varied facets of Portland's homelessness crisis. The event begins with short presentations by representatives of and advocates for the homeless community, then participants will break up into teams for three hours to collaborate, innovate and propose a solution to present at the end of the day. 

In addition to ideas for future consideration, the day’s output will include a visual display for public view at PNCA through Feb 15.


Background Reading 

The Guardian - "Outside in America Series: On the frontline of the homelessness crisis in the western US".

StreetRoots - news from the street

Portland's State of Emergency on Housing and Homelessness (Homelessness Toolkit)

A Home for Everyone - A good place to start is to have a look at city and county information. In 2013, the city, county, and Home Forward convened a special committee of diverse stakeholders and created "A Home for Everyone: A United Community Plan to End Homelessness in Multnomah County".

"Point in time report: 22 Feb 2017". The point-in-time count of homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County provides a bi-annual snapshot of the individuals and families experiencing homelessness on a given night in our community.

Housing First - National Alliance to End Homelessness - Housing First is a homeless assistance approach that prioritizes providing permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness, thus ending their homelessness and serving as a platform from which they can pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life.

Kenton Women's Village - a creative, collaborative year-long pilot project, offering a new potential approach for addressing houselessness at a small scale, which could be adapted and implemented in communities across the country.

Homelessness in the Portland Area - resources

see main article:  Homelessness in the Portland Area