311 launches Street Outreach Request Program

News Article

Portland 311 launched a new Street Outreach Request Program on February 22, 2024. The goal of this program is to put outreach workers in front of unsheltered individuals who are ready to accept help in navigating their best next step. 

A form is now available to connect currently unsheltered/homeless community members who are interested in assistance with a City Street Outreach Worker. Completing the form does not guarantee placement in a shelter site.  A Street Outreach Worker will contact you or someone you know who is currently homeless or unsheltered about City shelter sites and other resources.

"Our outreach teams want to be able to help those in need as quickly as possible. This new program will help us streamline operations and is responsive to feedback from our community," Mayor Wheeler said.

Request Assistance from a City Street Outreach Worker

City Street Outreach Workers connect with unsheltered individuals and offer navigation support with housing and other needs, including referral into a City-run alternative shelter, like Safe Rest Villages and Temporary Alternative Shelter Sites, if appropriate. These alternative shelters include tiny homes, tent locations, and RV parking spaces.

Downloadable Informational Handout (English & Spanish): 

Oregonian Headline: Portland to use 311 help line to connect unsheltered people with resources

Read article: Oregonian -- Portland to use 311 help line to connect unsheltered people with resources


Is this a shelter reservation system? 

No. This service will allow an outreach worker to help an individual with their next steps. What happens next depends on circumstances. Outreach workers may prepare an individual for shelter by, for instance, arranging for vaccinations for a person’s pets. The outreach worker may also orient an individual to other services, or help an individual reach out to family or other support structure that might be available. The next best step varies by individual, and the outreach workers are trained to help navigate this. 

Can somebody just refer any homeless person they see into this system? 

No, this is a more personal system. This service requires a name and location, in addition to knowledge that an individual is seeking help in this moment. For neighbors who wish to report a campsite location for further action, they can do so at https://www.portland.gov/homelessnessimpactreduction/report-campsite. Those reports will feed into sends a team to clean and assess a campsite, then prioritize it for a clean & removal. Other outreach worker may reach out to campsites scheduled for clean and removals.  

Is this for emergencies? 

No. Immediate emergencies should be dealt with by calling 9-1-1. For homeless individuals suffering mental health crises, individuals may call Portland Street Response (PSR) by calling 9-1-1 and asking for Portland Street Response. Operators typically pick up calls within a minute, and PSR response time is, on average, about 30 minutes. Depending on current workload, it may take outreach workers a few days to initiate outreach. 

For 24/7 phone support to anyone experiencing distress, or to aid someone experiencing distress, anybody can call the Multnomah County Behavioral Health Call Center at 503-988-4888. If warranted, operators can dispatch Project Respond, a mobile crisis response. Additionally, Cascadia Health operates a mental health urgent walk-in clinic at 4212 SE Division St, Portland. The clinic is open Monday-Friday, 7am-9pm | Saturday-Sunday 9am-9pm. 

Can outreach handle the number of referrals? 

It’s hard to predict the number of individuals who might be referred as this will be a new service.We don’t expect every person living unsheltered on the streets to seek help of this service. But if the numbers grow large, we will look to our partners in outreach from other organizations to help handle the workload. The data provided through requests for help will also inform us as to the scale of the challenge and the resources required to address it.