The HILLTOP Award (Heroes Inspiring Leadership, Learning, Teamwork, Opportunity and Pride) was created in 2006 to honor individual and organizational efforts to address poverty in Multnomah County.

Shannon Singleton is the HILLTOP Award for Public Official Achievement winner for 2019.

Shannon Singleton

Shannon Singleton’s name is synonymous with compassion for people experiencing poverty and homelessness.

As the executive director of JOIN since 2015, Shannon advocates for essential outreach and placement services to move people from homelessness into permanent housing. But she also reminds people that housing alone is not the only solution to poverty — though it is a fundamental first step.

“She brings the realities of poverty to the spaces of influence that she holds,” her co-workers wrote in her nomination. “Reminding people that food, safety and access to basic needs is out of reach for many of our neighbors. As a leader, she advocates with compassion and identifies viable solutions to address poverty and homelessness.”

With more than 14 years of experience in local homeless services, Shannon was chosen as the HILLTOP Public Official Achievement Award winner for her demonstrated leadership in addressing poverty.

Her passion for social work began in her home state of Pennsylvania where she received an undergraduate degree from Temple University; an education steeped in social justice. She went on to work with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (Philadelphia), to end sexual and dating violence (in New Mexico), and to support young men in a group home, (California). Her path eventually led her to Portland, where she earned her Master of Social Work from Portland State University, directed the Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter and worked as program manager at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, and program coordinator at the Portland Housing Bureau.

Shannon also serves on the Welcome Home Coalition Steering Committee, Portland Housing Advisory Commission and co-chairs the Home for Everyone Coordinating Board. She was on the executive committee that passed the 2016 Yes for Affordable Homes and 2018 Yes for Affordable Housing measures.

“Shannon’s leadership has supported an unprecedented level of local resources for affordable homes and homeless services, along with strong program planning, implementation and oversight,” said Jenny Lee, Advocacy Director for the Coalition for Communities of Color.

“Of particular note has been her integration of racial equity into housing and homelessness policy,” said Lee. “Many communities of color are disproportionately impacted by homelessness and economic disparities, and Shannon’s drive to seek solutions that effectively meet their needs will lead to better outcomes for all experiencing homelessness and housing instability.

She is truly an extraordinary public official in her leadership among peers and her deep connection and understanding of the issues impacting low-income communities.”