PORTLAND, Ore. —
It’s now up to voters to decide if dozens of Portland programs, aimed at helping thousands of kids succeed, will get the funding they need.
The funding comes from the Portland Children’s Levy, and the city council unanimously decided Wednesday to put in on the May ballot.
"[The Portland Children’s Levy is] so crucial to our children here in the Portland Metro area," Lluvia Merello, a foster parent who has foster kids that benefit from levy, said.
It changes lives.
"Yes, a complete transformation,” Karmen English, who testified in front of city council about the importance of the levy, said.
The levy supports 74 different programs, that together help 14,000 kids succeed.
"Without that, the support of the children’s levy and the support of the voters, then we’re sending kids out everyday who do not have enough food and we limit their ability to be successful," Suzanne Washington with Meals on Wheels said.
The Portland Children’s Levy helps families in six different ways including the following: early childhood programs, after school programs, mentoring programs, child abuse prevention and intervention programs, foster care programs and hunger-relief programs.
What’s will be on the ballot is a straight renewal and would start in July 2019. It would last 5 years.
Karmen English was homeless before she got connected with an early childhood program supported by the levy.
"My husband was able to get a job because the kids had somewhere to go, so we both were able to effectively work, and do everything we needed to do, and then we got an apartment, and we’ve been there for three years now,” English said.
If voters pass the levy in May, they’ll be taxed at about 40 cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value. That’s about $200 a year for property worth $500,000, but it’s something Portlanders have been paying for since 2002, when the levy was initially passed.