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Community Conversations On Homelessness

“To comprehensively address homelessness, we must continue to listen and understand one another’s ideas and perspectives so we can collaborate and innovate.” – Mayor Ted Wheeler

Thank you to everyone who made the effort to be a part of our community conversations on homelessness. We appreciate that you took the time to hear what the City and County have been doing to alleviate homelessness.

We heard your feedback—both in person and online—loud and clear. 

This is one of our highest priorities and we will continue pursuing innovative strategies as our thinking evolves about how best to address homelessness compassionately.

Learn more about some of these innovations in our city:

Shelter and Transitional Services

“We have about 4,000 people who are experiencing homelessness on any given night in Multnomah County, either unsheltered or staying in one of our shelters. If you count the doubled-up population, the number is much, much higher. The important thing to understand is that’s not the same 4,000 people tomorrow as it is today… Understanding the solutions to homelessness means understanding that this is fundamentally an inflow-outflow challenge.” – Marc Jolin, Director of Joint Office of Homeless Services

Inflow-Outflow Model. Inflow minus outflow equal unmet need.

“We have been able to significantly expand the number of people who are moving out of homelessness back into housing every year, from around 3,500 a year to about 6,000 last year. We’ve significantly increased the number of people we are keeping in housing every year, up to about 7,000 a year. And we have significantly expanded our capacity to provide emergency shelter and transition services to people to get back into housing.” – Marc Jolin

Two maps that show government-supported adult, family and youth shelters. In 2015 there are seven map points. In 2020 there are sixteen map points.

Permanent and Supportive Housing

“We provide affordable housing and finance affordable housing in our community for people who make less than 60% of area median income. That could be a preschool teacher who is making annual income of just over $37,000 a year, and we particularly put and emphasis on providing what we call deeply affordable housing. And that’s for those folks that make less than 30% of the area’s median income. That could be a couple on Social Security income surviving on $15,800 a year, or an adult with a disability who is living on just over $10,000 a year.” – Shannon Callahan, Director of Portland Housing Bureau

Portland Housing Bureau, 14,870 regulated affordable units, 3,100 units in development

The Portland Housing Bond has allowed us to create more than 1,400 units of affordable housing. Learn more about the progress in achieving the Bond’s goals in the 2019 Progress Report.

“Supportive housing is housing that combines wraparound services to meet folks where they are and help address the needs that they need to be stable and secure and successful in their housing. So it could be things like tenancy support, employment services, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, or primary health services.”

The City is advancing toward the goals set out in a 2017 resolution to create 2,000 additional supportive housing units by 2028. “In 2018, we started with 3,724 units, and by the time we reach the end of 2022, we’ll have brought on another 792 units all throughout our city,” said Callahan, the Housing Bureau’s director.

Permanent supported housing units between 2018 and 2020.  There is an increase in 2020.


Presentation Slides