Resources for Community Organizations Conducting Outreach

frozen berriesWhen severe weather occurs in our community, no one organization can help everyone in need. It takes all of us: government, non-profits, faith communities and neighbors to help keep everyone safe.

Multnomah County and the City of Portland work together to provide public information about what community members should do before, during, and after severe winter weather. It’s especially important to reach out to people who live or work in settings that put them at higher risk of being exposed to severe winter weather, including being houseless. 

To help community-based organizations and others reach out with help, Multnomah County has created a template with key messages, basic scripts and resources. 

During a response, Multnomah County also gathers feedback from community-based organizations in order to tell the story of outreach efforts underway and identify gaps in critical needs from communities they serve. This helps us identify needed resources and to develop relevant messaging that meets people's needs. 

Support people living outside

  • If someone outside is unsheltered and whose life appears to be in danger, call 9-1-1.
  • Otherwise, if you see someone about whom you are concerned during cold weather  such as not being dressed for the weather conditions —  call the Portland Police Bureau’s non-emergency number at 503-823-3333 and request a welfare check. 
  • If you suspect someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, Multnomah County also offers mental health crisis resources, 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Mental health clinicians can provide direct phone assistance to individuals experiencing a mental-health crisis including: people experiencing symptoms of agitation, anxiety, depression, psychosis, dangerous to self or others, substance use, etc. Call (503) 988-4888 or visit the Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Intervention website for more information.
  • To help someone locate shelter nights when severe weather is declared, and to obtain transportation to shelter, please call 2-1-1 or go online at 211info.org. During nights when severe weather has been declared, no one seeking shelter will be turned away.

To stay warm during daytime hours:

  • People seeking to get warm on winter days when warming shelters are not open are welcome in government buildings that are open to the public, including, for example, libraries and community centers. Library hours are listed on Multnomah County Library’s website. City community center information is listed here.