Election series: Shannon Singleton, Multnomah Co. Commission District 2 Candidate

PORTLAND, Ore. — For most of the candidates running in the May 21st election, homelessness is an issue that tops their list.  For one of the candidates in Multnomah County District 2, it’s been pretty much her life’s mission.  We continue our special election series this week, with a profile of Shannon Singleton.

She’s a former interim director for the city of Portland and Multnomah County’s Joint Office of Homeless Services. “I believe that my experience makes me the perfect candidate, in this time.”

A time when she says  there needs to be a change in the safety net that the county provides for its citizens.

 “I’ve been a social worker for almost 30 years.”

And as a clinically trained social worker, she says she’s, “Worked on the front lines of the homelessness problem for years supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence find safety, security, so that they can actually move into their own apartments.”

She’s a fan of an approach she calls street outreach.  “I started the first mental health street outreach program in Portland. I’m a trained clinician, did my graduate studies at Portland State. “

She has endorsements from a long list of labor unions and current and former office holders, including State Senators Lou Frederick and Casey Jama, and State Representative Dr. Maxine Dexter, as well as former Governor Kate Brown, who at one point was her boss.

 “I spent three years with Governor Kate Brown.   Started really thinking we’re going to get to make some cool housing policy, but COVID hit and everything about our work changed.  So it became, how do we ensure that more people don’t fall into homelessness?”

And if voters choose her for District 2, she wants to focus on three issues for the county. 

“One is obviously homelessness and housing.  How do we get more folks out on the street?”

Second, behavioral health care and Medicaid reform.

 “I cannot tell you how many times I was frustrated by the Medicaid system and the gaps that we have in that system to actually serve people right away.  It actually takes multiple steps and multiple hours for somebody to qualify, to then actually get services. And I would like to see us pay for that up front, so we can get clinicians out there working with people, around addiction or mental health services.”

 Third, community safety and violence prevention work.  She says she just received an endorsement from the Oregon Alliance for Gun Safety.  “How do we ensure that we’re providing prevention and how are we ensuring that when people enter our jail system, we’re not just exiting them back to homelessness?”

Singleton spoke at a recent meeting of the East Portland Chamber. 

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