Sheltered, housed and supported: a timeline of progress

A roundup of news and updates from the Joint Office of Homeless Services since its 2016 formation.

Jump to 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016

2021

Oct. 2021

October 2021 Supportive Housing Services update: More shelter, more outreach, more housing all under way

Aug. 2021

NEWS RELEASE: Despite end of federal eviction ban, rent relief, legal protections remain available to help protect tenants locally

‘A crisis within a crisis’: County leaders brief board on preliminary findings of June extreme heat report

Joint Office opens supply center to outreach teams, community groups to help share water during latest heatwave

July 2021

Joint Office will again open supply center to outreach teams, community groups to help share thousands of bottles of water during heatwave

Project Turnkey grant helps Joint Office purchase motel for shelter during COVID-19 and beyond

The Stark Street Shelter operated by Do Good Multnomah, under contract with the Joint Office.

June 2021

Joint Office supply center works with dozens of groups to distribute nearly 56,000 bottles of water through worst of heatwave, reaching across Multnomah County

Michael Phelps, outreach worker/case manager, hands out water along with other care items under the record-breaking heat in SE Portland. Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare's Street Outreach Team also offers mental health and housing education.

FUSE (Frequent Users Systems Engagement) analysis reveals that supportive housing reduces crises response and jail bookings in Multnomah County

Unprecedented Joint Office budget adds new shelter beds, behavioral health services, hygiene access — and an immediate infusion of supportive housing

May 2021

COVID-19 Rent Assistance and Housing Stability Resources

Joint Office’s St. Johns Village shelter celebrates opening: ‘Shining example of what it looks like when a neighborhood opens its arms’

Partners in supporting the St. Johns Village watch Do Good Multnomah director Chris Aiosa cut a ceremonial ribbon on May 21, 2021.

April 2021

Chair Kafoury shares $52 million budget plan for first year of Supportive Housing Services Measure funds

Details on how Chair Kafoury has proposed investing funds from the first year of Metro's Supportive Housing Services Measure.

Old Town shelter will remain open through summer — serving as temporary bridge amid ongoing work to give vaccines

Feb. 2021

Multnomah County’s groundbreaking plan for supportive housing clears key hurdle; Chair Kafoury announces work on data tracking

An example of a physical distancing motel shelter is the Portland Value Inn - Barbur.

Jan. 2021

It’s about being safe’: Hundreds of shelter workers vaccinated in first-of-its-kind clinic hosted by Public Health

Lindsey Prutch, a resident advocate for Transition Projects, at a vaccination clinic for shelter workers at the Oregon Convention Center on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021.

MEDIA RELEASE: Amid ongoing COVID surge concerns, Joint Office joins other West Coast communities in seeking partial Point in Time Count delay

2020

Dec. 2020 

News release: Commissioners affirm that ‘Housing is Health’ in votes preventing evictions, adding shelter and creating housing opportunities

Board of Commissioners, in one of their last group photos taken before COVID-19.

Joint Office outlines plan for tackling chronic homelessness with historic infusion of funds from Metro’s supportive housing measure

As COVID-19 surges, Joint Office completes shift to motel shelters for vulnerable people, as sixth site opens

Do Good Multnomah staff set up a room at the Portland Value Inn - Barbur, the sixth COVID-19 physical distancing motel shelter.

Joint Office opens 24-hour winter shelter in Old Town's former Greyhound Station

 

Nov. 2020

Work begins to winterize COVID-19 outdoor shelters with installation of personal pods at Old Town location

The Old Town COVID-19 outdoor shelter under construction in April 2020.

Oct. 2020

Urban League of Portland works with Joint Office to open historic motel-based shelter designed for Black adults at risk of COVID-19

Nkgenge Harmon-Johnson, president of the Urban League of Portland, speaks at a press event Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.

Joint Office to run three new seasonal shelter spaces, offering COVID-compliant safety off the streets for 275 more people this winter

Sept. 2020

Board of Commissioners protects tens of thousands of renters with local extension of COVID-19 eviction ban

Friday, Sept. 18: Joint Office offers 9th day of smoke shelter, likely the last day for now — sign up with 211 for alerts on future events

Smoke over the Willamette River, Sept. 11, 2020

Thursday, Sept. 17: Joint Office of Homeless Services offers eighth day of additional shelter as escape from smoke

Wednesday, Sept. 16: Joint Office of Homeless Services offers 7th day of smoke shelter; supply donations remain welcome

Tuesday, Sept. 15: Joint Office of Homeless Services offers 6th day of smoke shelter; supply donations remain welcome

Monday, Sept. 14: Joint Office of Homeless Services offers 5th day of smoke shelter; extends thanks amid ongoing call for supplies

Sunday, Sept. 13: Joint Office of Homeless Services offering 24-hour smoke shelter for 4th day; request out for supplies

Sept. 12: Joint Office of Homeless Services offering 24-hour smoke shelter for 3rd day, distributing KN95 masks

Joint Office still adding 24-hour smoke shelter, works with community to help distribute KN95 masks

Smoke, dangerous air prompt Joint Office of Homeless Services to open extra shelter capacity, take other protective steps

July 2020

Longer-term plan for COVID-19 moves forward: Joint Office opens three new motel shelters to better protect high-risk guests

A physical distancing motel shelter has opened at the Banfield Value Inn.

June 2020

Amid urgent need to protect highest-risk shelter guests, Joint Office opens motel as shelter for vulnerable people

‘Something that I knew would be helpful’: Volunteers provide thousands of lunches for people without shelter, with help from Joint Office

May 2020

FAQ: COVID-19 physical distancing shelter transition

March 2020

COVID-19 guidance for people experiencing homelessness without shelter

COVID-19 and homelessness in Multnomah County

Governor clarifies 'Stay Home' order with guidance for social services, people experiencing homelessness

Jupiter Hotel steps up, partners with Multnomah County to provide temporary shelter

Beds in Oregon Convention Center and Charles Jordan Community Center help create healthier spacing in County’s shelter system

County employees work to set up temporary shelter space at the Oregon Convention Center on Friday, March 20, 2020.

Jan. 2020

Community wants social services — not stricter law enforcement — to address homelessness, poll results show

Katrina Holland, right, HereTogether Oregon board member and director of Community Alliance of Tenants, speaks to the board at a briefing Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.

2019

Dec. 2019

Governor’s tour of Laurelwood Center shelter celebrates community relationships at the heart of ending homelessness

Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson visit with residents at the Laurelwood Center on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.

Board of County Commissioners authorize tourism dollars for housing and homeless programs

Oct. 2019

For 2nd year, Eat & Greet party shows possibilities when neighbors embrace shelter residents

At the 2019 Wy'east Eat & Greet.

County releases 2018 report of homeless deaths

Sept. 2019

‘Housing, not Warehousing’: County leaders, businesses, advocates reject Trump’s harsh homelessness rhetoric

Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks at a Street Roots news conference Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2019.

Board approves plans for Behavioral Health Resource Center

Preliminary sketch of proposed behavioral health resource center.

County leaders praise engagement with homeless neighbors as new Portland Street Response program takes shape

Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks at a press event where Portland Street Response survey results were unveiled Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.

County partnership, including Wapato money and tourism taxes, helps Portland housing bond achieve goals, provide support services

Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks alongside Mayor Ted Wheeler at Portland City Hall on Sept. 17, 2019.

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer says federal government must join local leaders like Chair Deborah Kafoury in homelessness fight

Aug. 2019

‘A dignified space’: Services-focused Laurelwood Center marks milestone in County's evolving shelter system

Stacy Borke, left, and Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson inside the Laurelwood Center on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019.

‘More than just a safe place’: Public-private Navigation Center adds another services-focused shelter

March 2019

The quiet and relentless work of preventing homelessness

Feb. 2019

Thanks to $100,000 from County and CareOregon, Northwest Pilot Project to help seniors facing eviction downtown

‘No one will be turned away’: As storm bears down, County, Portland leaders share plans for shelter, transportation

 
Chair Deborah Kafoury explains the County and Portland's severe weather plan for helping homeless neighbors Feb. 8.

Jan. 2019 

‘What the County should be doing’: Land donation makes affordable housing possible in neighborhood hit by gentrification

County-owned land on North Williams Avenue that's been donated to the City of Portland for housing.

2019 Point in Time Count starts Wednesday, Jan. 23, with unprecedented coordination among outreach workers, volunteers

Outreach workers plan for the 2019 Point in Time Count.

County weighs purchase of downtown Portland building as part of plan for improving mental health services

Multnomah County purchased the Bushong & Co. building in Spring 2019 for renovation into a mental health resource center

$12 million from County, Portland, Oregon will add supportive housing, help ease chronic homelessness

 
Pastor Elizabeth Larsen of St. Mark's Lutheran Church comforts Chris Aiosa, executive director of Do Good Multnomah, during an emotional moment in his remarks.

2018

Dec. 2018 

Lighting the way for compassion: Vigil of Remembrance honors those who live, and died, experiencing homelessness

A hand up to hope: Winter after winter, night after night, outreach teams hit the streets with lifesaving gear, housing connections

Perlia Bell, an outreach worker with JOIN, offers a tarp to Josh on a street in downtown Portland on Dec. 17, 2018.

Gov. Kate Brown, Chair Deborah Kafoury call for continued state investment in housing, shelter: ‘It’s the right thing to do. It’s as simple as that’

Sean Williams makes a heart with her hands after showing her dance moves to Gov. Kate Brown and Chair Deborah Kafoury at the Gresham Women's Shelter on Dec. 17, 2019.

In building donated by developer, nonprofit opens family winter shelter in ‘lightning-fast time’

 
Brandi Tuck of Portland Homeless Family Solutions speaks before the opening of the community's winter family shelter in December 2018.

Nov. 2018 

Winter shelter opens in County's Walnut Park complex; learn how to donate

Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks at the Walnut Park shelter on Nov. 19, 2018.

Hoping to add affordable apartments for families, County agrees to change tax program

Oct. 2018

County releases 2017 report of homeless deaths

Deborah and Don Letourneau made friends with a Street Roots Vendor Rudy Madrid, who died while homeless in 2017.

 Sept. 2018 

Board approves first supportive housing development from Wapato proceeds

Commissioner Lori Stegmann sponsored a resolution to invest Wapato proceeds into affordable supportive housing.

“The only thing we lacked was a home": A Place For You pilot project houses four families

Sherry and her niece enjoying their new home

Amid record-setting homelessness response, Multnomah County, Portland deliver on pledge to add supportive housing

At the joint County/City work session on supportive housing, Sept. 11, 2018.

Aug. 2018 

NEWS RELEASE: Long-planned affordable housing development offers path for successful Kenton Women’s Village pilot to find long-term home

 
Inside the Kenton Women's Village, August 2018.

July 2018 

County, Portland and Oregon partner for first-of-its-kind supportive housing project

Mayor Ted Wheeler, from left, Portland Business Alliance CEO Andrew Hoan and Chair Deborah Kafoury on Friday, July 27, 2018.

June 2018 

‘This is the right thing to do’: Board unites behind design plan for service-enriched Foster shelter

 
Henry Alaman and Marc Jolin, presenting on the Foster shelter June 14, 2018.

May 2018

Shelter capacity to increase; dozens of new beds in two County buildings

At second budget hearing, concerns over housing stability, equity and immigration loom large

April 2018 

Regional Opioid Summit focuses on recovery housing, prosecution diversion and jail treatment

March 2018 

‘Structural racism impacts homelessness’: Community discussion kicks off year of work tackling disparities

Looking ahead for local rent vouchers: Gift from Meyer Memorial Trust may one day help pilot program for seniors grow

Sharon Newell and her therapy dog, Gracie.

From Budget Lodge to refuge: Leased motel to serve people recovering from mental health crisis

Rachel Solotaroff, CEO of Central City Concern, joins county officials on a tour of the vacant Budget Lodge motel.

Feb. 2018 

Multnomah County suspends operations at family shelter, relocates families

Volunteers across Multnomah County help hundreds of people find warm, dry places to sleep during winter storms

Snow seen from the Multnomah Building, February 2018.

 Jan. 2018 

Board of Commissioners approves lease for shelter site on SE Foster Road

Neighbors testify in support of the shelter site at 6144 SE Foster Road.

County to open transitional supportive housing in Southwest Portland

Multnomah County Health Department Community Mental Health Program Manager Neal Rotman addresses the board at Thursday’s meeting. Also pictured, Director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services Marc Jolin (left) and Senior Property Management Specialist

Feb. 2018 

Gresham shelter focuses on relationships, responsibility

2017 

Dec. 2017 

Home for the Holidays: Successful campaign to help families out of shelter shows power of partnerships

Rafaela Ngirngesang, a single mom of five kids, choked up as she described her journey from homelessness back to housing through the Home for the Holidays campaign.

Multnomah County releases 2016 Domicile Unknown report on homeless deaths

'More light to a darkened world': Seasonal shelter for homeless families opens at Congregation Beth Israel

Congregation Beth Israel.

From homeless shelter to permanent home: one family’s journey

Stephanie Ramirez hugs her daughter Surri Noelle on the living room carpet in their new apartment.

'A real impact on real human beings': Advocates warn tax bill would gut affordable housing

Commissioners Loretta Smith, Lori Stegmann and Sharon Meieran attended the affordable housing rally against federal tax changes Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017.

Nov. 2017 

'This isn’t about me. It’s about him': Home for the Holidays already helping families move from shelter to apartment

Andrea Bunch holds her son, Michael, 4, in their new bathroom. They moved into an apartment as part of the Home for the Holidays campaign.

Winter shelter opens in basement of Multnomah County's Mead Building

Paul Susi, manager of the 5th Avenue Shelter, hangs a poster a few hours before the first guests arrive Monday, Nov. 20, 2017.

Home for the Holidays: Campaign asks community to help families with a hand up from shelter

Marlena Neely speaks during the kickoff of the Home for the Holidays campaign Monday, Nov. 13, 2017.

“No one who needs shelter is shut out”: Severe weather plan for homeless stresses early preparation

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury explains the community's plan for helping homeless neighbors during severe winter weather at an event Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.

Sept. 2017 

‘We have to just do it’: Providers, political leaders preparing push to house thousands more chronically homeless neighbors

Aug. 2017

NEWS RELEASE: Record housing placements, shelter access follow investments in homelessness work

A Home for Everyone co-chair Stacy Borke of Transition Projects, left, with director Marc Jolin during the coalition's Aug. 21, 2017, executive committee meeting.

July 2017 

Housing advocates rally against threatened federal cuts: "Housing is a human right"

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury speaks at a housing rally, Friday, July 28, 2017, while Commissioner Loretta Smith, Mayor Ted Wheeler and others look on.

June 2017 

2017 Point in Time count: More neighbors counted as homeless since 2015, but more sleeping off the streets

New milestones in homelessness services: Record use of emergency shelter, housing placements ahead of pace

Kenton Women's Village: ‘This is a great reminder of what we can do when we all work together’

The sleeping pods that make up part of the Kenton Women's Village project. (Photo courtesy of Catholic Charities, 2017)

April 2017

"It shows what a community can do": Business partners, experienced provider open shelter in Shleifer building

Shelter manager Lawashia Smith, from left, talks to Multnomah County District 1 Commissioner Sharon Meieran and District 3 Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson during the April 17 opening of the Columbia Shelter in the Shleifer Furniture building.

New shelter to open Monday thanks to partnership with business community

March 2017 

‘A hard turn to the left’: Multnomah County chair talks Trump, homelessness with LGBT community

Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury hugs Philip J. Wolfe, a member of the Portland Commission on Disability, at the Q Center on March 18, 2017.

Feb. 2017 

Talking about "Evicted": East county neighbors share stories from the front lines of our housing crisis

Debbie Clavon, left, talks with Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann after the East County Caring Community meeting March 2.

Tight housing market threatens progress in ending homelessness

Celebrating a milestone in ending veterans homelessness

Homelessness in Multnomah County: Workers, volunteers embark on difficult 'point-in-time' count

Inside the warming center at the Portland Building this winter. Severe weather meant our region's homelessness count moved from late January to late February.

Chair Kafoury and Mayor Wheeler's open letter to landlords

Chair Kafoury throws support behind protecting tenants

Jan. 2017 

New winter shelter to opens in Downtown Portland

2016 

Nov. 2016

Businesses come together to help fund and open new winter shelter

Year-round shelter for couples opens in Sellwood

Sept. 2016

Prevention and permanent housing needed along with shelters, housing experts tell Board

July 2016

Multnomah County and City of Portland to open 24-hour shelter in Hansen Building

June 2016

Multnomah County, City of Portland approve joint office to combat homelessness