City of Portland, Multnomah County release updated Homeless Response Action Plan following community engagement process

News Article

Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler today released their final version of the City and County’s Homelessness Response Action Plan — updated and strengthened after a more than two-month engagement process and the incorporation of feedback from hundreds of community members. 

The version released today builds on the initial draft of the plan released March 11, 2024. The Homelessness Response Action Plan is a path to provide more people with safer options off our streets that meet their needs, and it provides a critical link between governments and systems that address homelessness, behavioral health, substance use and community health.

The plan is a central element of a proposed intergovernmental agreement guiding the City and County’s shared work addressing homelessness. The full Board of County Commissioners and Portland City Council are set to deliberate and vote on the new agreement, including the plan, next month.

Already, the initial phases of this plan are dovetailing with the County and City’s accelerated work to address these crises, including the opening of additional permanent supportive housing and expanded daytime services, and making progress toward significantly expanding shelter and opening a 24-hour drop-off sobering center.

With this plan and their proposed and approved budget investments for next year, the Chair and Mayor are bringing significant resources to support this clear approach to addressing, resolving and preventing homelessness in our community. 

“The embedded collaboration and clear goals outlined in this plan give us the best path forward to address homelessness in our community.” said Chair Vega Pederson. “This critical work continues Multnomah County’s commitment to ensuring the most vulnerable have what they need to be safe, sheltered, and housed.” 

"I am encouraged by this plan's commitment to address Portland's homeless crisis with measurable outcomes, meaningful data, a strong focus on behavioral health and clear accountability on who leads each action," said Mayor Wheeler. "This unified approach will help us better serve our community, particularly our most vulnerable populations.”

Community feedback adds goals, action items to plan

Consistent with the initial draft released in March, the core goals of the plan include sheltering or housing an additional 2,699 people who are sleeping outside by Dec. 31, 2025; adding 1,000 units of shelter, which would increase shelter system capacity by nearly 40%; reducing homelessness among vulnerable populations (including people of color and LGBTQIA2S+ people); adding hundreds more behavioral health beds; opening a drop-off sobering center; and increasing the supply of affordable housing.

The plan released today builds on the initial draft shared this spring with added goals and action items based on community feedback collected from nearly 200 emails and from nearly 300 people engaged during public forums and presentations:

  • Better meeting the housing needs of refugees and asylum seekers through coordination with other governments and community partners.

  • Supporting and expanding the behavioral health workforce.

  • Increasing outreach services at library locations.

  • Funding additional day services for people experiencing homelessness.

  • Better meeting the accessible housing and shelter needs of people with physical disabilities.

  • Increasing access to behavioral healthcare for people who have been involved in the criminal justice system by committing ongoing funding to the Department of Community Justice’s Stabilization and Readiness Program.

  • Developing an integrated healthcare management platform to coordinate care across housing and healthcare providers.

  • Further acknowledging the geographic diversity and different service environments of East County cities.

  • Adding a general member of the public to the Community Advisory Subcommittee — an oversight committee for the plan and for the Joint Office — to better align with the County’s requirements for Community Budget Advisory Committees.

The plan also updates or adds timelines for work that involves partners such as the Oregon Legislature.

Feedback was solicited through several avenues, including a joint session with the Board of County Commissioners and Portland City Council on March 12, multiple town hall meetings, and multiple direct meetings with service providers, business and health system partners.

In the next several months, the community can expect continued progress on the plan, with milestones including:

  • Opening 276 new shelter beds by the end of 2024.

  • Expanding intensive case management services for people who are both experiencing homelessness and living with significant behavioral health conditions.

  • Helping more people get housed and connected to healthcare as they exit carceral settings by linking housing navigators and healthcare providers to the Department of Community Justice's Transition Services Unit.

  • Identifying 20 commercial buildings in the downtown core that could potentially be converted into housing.