The rising cost of housing in close-in Portland is well-known to have contributed to a shift in neighborhood demographics, with many Portlanders of color relocating to the outer boundaries of the city. Some of those most vulnerable to the effects of these changes are our elders. In the past decades, nearly 10,000 African Americans left the neighborhoods of Inner North and Northeast and many have resettled in the Eastern portion of the city and county, which lacks of the familiar and cherished amenities of the Historic Albina District. Many African Americans seniors in East Portland report feelings of inaccessibility and isolation.
For senior citizens displaced from cultural centers due to rising housing costs, the changes can be difficult. African American seniors who have relocated to East Portland may not have access to, or may not be aware of local churches, trusted medical care, or culturally appropriate restaurants and grocery stores. One such loss is the loss of culturally specific providers of services, like the Urban League of Portland, the historic social services and civil rights agency, which has been providing services to seniors in North and Northeast Portland for over 40 years. In response to this need, the Urban League of Portland’s Senior Services Department has begun to provide Options Counseling to African American seniors, age 60 and older living in East Multnomah County.
Through the Urban League’s services, seniors are connected to housing assistance, rent/utility payment assistance, food, clothing, and other services needed to continue living independently. This Options Counseling service is free of charge to those that qualify. Seniors located east of 82nd Avenue who are living in Multnomah County and in need of services should call Alexandria Jones-Patten 503-280-2600 ext. 645 or 501-901-9550.