He had mental health issues and was involved with gangs, which affected his family relationships and stability.
It wasn’t until she participated in the Latino Network’s Community Healing Initiative that she found comfort. The nonprofit’s program, a partnership with the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice, works to prevent and reduce youth violence, decrease rates of juvenile justice involvement, and increase community safety.
“When Latino Network came in to work with us, the situation was very difficult,” Delgado told the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners through an interpreter on Wednesday, May 10. “The urgency they placed on our situation was crucial, and they helped us make a plan of action for us to decide what was best for us to be successful and to gain stability and control over our situation.”
Delgado and her husband also found a support network of Latino Network parents and are working with the nonprofit to learn how to communicate and be better parents for their children’s success.
“We are grateful that you haven’t forgotten our youth and that you continue to invest in hope, safety, and a brighter future for our families,” Delgado told the board.
Delgado was one of dozens of community members who testified during the board’s third and final public hearing on Chair Deborah Kafoury’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget at the Multnomah County East Building in Gresham. Many community members highlighted programs addressing youth and mental health services as top priorities they want the board to preserve.
The Chair’s proposed $2 billion budget would maintain the county’s unprecedented investment in the Joint Office of Homeless Services and add resources to help more homeless children and their parents. The budget also maintains core services and increases support for the mental health crisis system, affordable housing, criminal justice diversions, and mental health support in schools and jails.
As state and federal budget commitments to Multnomah County remain uncertain, eyes will turn to the state’s next revenue forecast, due out May 16, 2017. The forecast provides a preliminary look at state tax revenues and guides policymakers and budget analysts during the budget-making process.
Christina Albo, deputy director of Resolutions Northwest, testified about her organization’s work to facilitate honest dialogue as a means to resolve conflict and advance racial and social justice. She asked the board to consider restoring $75,000 for restorative justice programs in the Reynolds School District for the upcoming school year.
“Restorative justice is about relationships – building, maintaining and repairing relationships,” Albo said. “It provides opportunities, processes and skills to build relationships.”
She said the Reynolds School District is at a tipping point.
At Reynolds Middle School, Albo said, discipline incidents dropped 25 percent for Latino boys and 64 percent for Black boys to date for the 2016-17 school year. At H.B. Lee Middle School, discipline incidents dropped 43 percent for Black boys but increased 25 percent for Latino boys, indicating, she said, there’s more work to be done for students.
“The more they are excluded from the classroom, the more time they are in the streets and the more possibility that they penetrate the justice system,” Albo said.
While he was attending Parkrose High School, his family was evicted from their apartment. Gilbert said his grandmother had only two spots available, so he lied -- saying he had a place to stay so his mother and father could take those two spots.
Though he had a job, he couldn’t maintain it.
“It became a problem because I didn’t have a change of clothes,” Gilbert said.
After losing his job, “I had money saved up, and that lasted three weeks. And then after that, it started getting scary.”
“When I first got introduced to them, I didn’t have any real goals,” he said. “But myself, along with over 300 other youth, thanks to their program, were able to get a job and get a sustainable income.… If not for this program, I would still be on the streets.”
He started out doing temp work and has since worked at a food bank and call center. Two months ago, Gilbert moved into his own apartment and is working full time.
“Thank you for your support,” he said to the board.
Read Chair Kafoury’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget, as well as budgets from past years, at www.multco.us/budget.
How to get involved:
The Chair’s proposed budget must be adopted by the Board of Commissioners in May and then submitted to the Tax Supervising and Conservation Commission, an independent panel of five volunteers appointed by the Governor that helps determine whether the county’s budget complies with local budget law. The panel holds a public hearing and returns the budget to the county at 9:30 a.m. on May 17, 2017, at the Multnomah Building, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., in Portland.
The Board of Commissioners will also take testimony before its final adoption of the budget, set for May 25, 2017, at the Multnomah Building Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland.
Contact the Board of Commissioners: