On April 10, 2019, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill joined county and community representatives for the ribbon cutting of the Diane Wade House.
“When other jurisdictions across the country look for a way to successfully replicate a transitional housing program for adult women involved in the criminal justice system, we hope and expect that the Diane Wade House will quickly be on the top of their list,” said District Attorney Underhill. “We are working hard with our system partners every day to address the racial and ethnic disparities that exist in Multnomah County. We know these disparities can cause significant harm, particularly to African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics who are justice-involved. The District Attorney’s Office remains dedicated to adjusting for and improving racial equity within our community and the criminal justice system, and the Diane Wade House is a giant step in the right direction.”
According to the Multnomah County Local Public Safety Coordinating Council, the Diane Wade House is the “first-of-its-kind transitional housing program for adult women involved in the criminal justice system in Multnomah County. The home will provide gender-responsive, trauma-informed services that are also Afrocentric. This means that residents, who must be referred to the program, will have access to culturally specific mental health stabilization and support services.”
The Diane Wade House will have a wide selection of daytime services such as mentoring and life-skills programs. Its concept is part of Multnomah County’s overall strategy at reducing unnecessary incarceration. The Diane Wade House will also provide an alternative for people with behavioral health issues who would benefit more from community-based services than from jail.
The house will serve 38 justice-involved women who will be referred by the Multnomah County Department of Community Justice and Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services.
“We’ve developed some very successful re-entry programs over the years. But not everyone has shared in that success. Women, especially black women, have not been given the same opportunities to reclaim their lives,” Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said at the ribbon cutting.
According to a 2016 report released by Multnomah County, in partnership with the MacArthur Safety and Justice Challenge, jail use in Multnomah County disproportionately affects people of color. African Americans are six times more likely than Whites to be in jail, despite accounting for just six percent of the county’s population.
Diane Wade was a Multnomah County parole and probation officer. She was a leader in the African American community and best known for her advocacy and passion for justice-involved women.
Services provided by the Diane Wade House started in December 2018 but construction delayed the opening of the physical location until recently.
For more information:
Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director