Dear Partners, Colleagues & Friends –
In 2017, I was asked to join the Housing Bureau with the goal of increasing the supply of affordable housing and to successfully implement the Portland Housing Bond. I chose to join the bureau because of my passion and commitment to deliver on our promises to the voters with the Portland Housing Bond and because I knew I would get to work with an amazing top-notch team at the bureau. As I reflect on the last five years, I am proud and honored to have been able to work with you on the singular purpose to provide Portlanders safe, stable and affordable housing. It has been an absolute privilege to work with the dedicated, passionate and exceptional team of public servants at the bureau. The time has come, though, for me to move on to new challenges and opportunities. Quite simply, I have accomplished what I set out to in my time at the bureau.
I can truly say that the work the Portland Housing Bureau does with our community and jurisdictional partners changes lives for the better. Thank you for your support of our shared vision of a city where every neighborhood has affordable housing, and every Portlander has the safety, security and sense of belonging that an affordable home provides.
See press release below:
Shannon Callahan, the Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, has announced her resignation. Since joining the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) in 2017, Director Callahan has overseen the bureau’s highest affordable housing production to date. During her tenure, the bureau has opened and is developing 5,948 new units of affordable housing: these units aim to house more than 10,900 Portlanders.
Director Callahan implemented the first two voter-approved initiatives for affordable housing in the state, including Portland’s first affordable housing bond. Currently, Portland’s Housing Bond is set to exceed the promised number of units by 43%. This includes more deeply affordable units, more family-sized units, and more supportive housing units for Portlanders who have experienced chronic homelessness.
Director Callahan led the implementation of the City’s ten-year goal to create 2,000 new units of supportive housing for people exiting homelessness. In partnership with the Joint Office of Homeless Services, after four years, 1,915 units are open or under development. She also oversaw the expansion of bureau programs, including the creation of the Rental Services Office which provides housing providers and tenants with technical assistance, guidance, and resources.
“I want to thank Director Callahan for her service, and particularly for exceeding our commitments to voters with the Portland Housing Bond,” stated Mayor Wheeler, who appointed Director Callahan. “We are grateful for her leadership.”
Director Callahan prioritized equity in the bureau’s work, significantly expanding the bureau’s culturally specific partnerships, ensuring culturally appropriate services in PHB-funded projects, and increasing equitable access to housing resources for Portland’s Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Additionally, she repositioned the N/NE Housing Strategy to reach and exceed its goals for assisting Portlanders displaced from historically Black neighborhoods to become new homeowners.
Director Callahan led with racial equity while implementing the City’s COVID relief programs. Under her leadership, the bureau provided cash assistance to more than 30,000 families to help meet basic needs. In addition, the bureau–along with its jurisdictional and community partners–served more than 20,000 households with critical rent assistance since 2020–more than 70% served have been BIPOC households.
“It has been my distinct honor to serve as the Director of the Portland Housing Bureau. I can truly say that the work we do at Portland Housing Bureau, alongside our community partners and jurisdictional partners, changes lives for the better,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. “It has been a privilege to work with the dedicated, passionate, and exceptional team of public servants at the bureau. After five years, though, it is time for me to move on to other opportunities and challenges.”
“Director Callahan has worked on behalf of the Portland Housing Bureau and the people of Portland, and we are grateful for her service. Through partnerships with numerous community-serving organizations, Home Forward, and Multnomah County, the City was able to avoid a wave of evictions seen in other parts of the nation,” said Commissioner Dan Ryan. “The health of our housing ecosystem is vital now more than ever, and I am committed to a national search to find the right person. I’m looking forward to working with the dedicated employees of the Portland Housing Bureau as we make a smooth, successful transition to build our housing future.”
Director Callahan’s last day at the Bureau will be August 1, 2022.