Giving Back to Portland

Cliff Photo

By Cliff Johnson, Co-Founder & Head of International

As families around the world celebrate the holidays at our vacation homes, nearly 4,000 people here in Portland are spending the season without safe, comfortable homes of their own. That doesn’t sit well with us. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep in a warm bed—especially when the social climate starts feeling as cold as the weather.

In a recent, widely circulated survey commissioned by KGW, one-third of Portlanders said they’ve considered moving because of homelessness. Fifteen percent cited homelessness as the reason they’ve discouraged friends or family from visiting the city, where residents surveyed claim to now see drug paraphernalia and human waste or urine more than twice a week. That’s not the Portland we know.

The Portland we know is a community where we take care of and create opportunities for one another. We lift ourselves up. We don’t run. And we never turn people away. As our changing city becomes more economically polarized, we unify our voices—and our wallets—to help build support systems for those in need.

In a call to action posted on Medium in September, Cloudability CEO and community advocate Mat Ellis wrote that homelessness in Portland is “at a crisis point.” Instead of turning his head at the issue, Mat redirects money that could be spent on elaborate holiday parties for his successful technology company toward supply kits, which employees assemble for the company’s homeless neighbors.

Like Mat and so many other local business leaders, we believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to have a positive experience while in Portland—and that supporting positive experiences can take a lot of shapes. For the Vacasa community, it means raising funds for Central City Concern, a trusted institution that’s been making a meaningful difference in Portland since 1979.

Central City Concern is one of Portland’s oldest and most reputable transitional housing and rehabilitation organizations. It’s dedicated to providing long-term solutions that promote self-sufficiency. That means, in addition to providing for immediate housing needs, the organization offers integrated healthcare and career training—a comprehensive package to help people get back on their feet.

This year, for Vacasa’s second annual Home for the Holidays giving campaign, our community of homeowners, employees, and industry partners joined forces to raise $40,000 to help fuel Central City Concern’s positive momentum. The funds will provide over 1,000 nights of safe housing as well as access to career training and health services for our neighbors in need.

As Portland continues to grow and change, we’re honored to stand alongside the incredible volunteers and business leaders working to create more positive experiences—and warm beds—in the city that we love.

Warmly,

Cliff Johnson
Co-Founder & Head of International

PS

We’d like to give a special thanks to our Home for the Holidays corporate partners: Assurant, AWS Elemental, DBA Templeton Property Management, JLL, Matterport, PointCentral, SellPDX, and Studio Mega. We appreciate your passion and support and look forward to working with you to grow our giving community even larger next year.

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Home for the Holidays check ceremony at Central City Concern