Homelessness Response Action Plan

A strategic reset of our response to homelessness

Jessica Vega Pederson talks at a podium alongside Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Julia Brim-Edwards Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler in 2024 unveiled a strategic reset of the community’s response to homelessness, called the Homelessness Response Action Plan. Key to the plan are new metrics and other concrete steps on how the community can work together to house or shelter roughly 2,700 people living unsheltered over the next two years

The Homelessness Response Action Plan is a path to provide more people with safer options off our streets that meet their needs. It strengthens and refocuses existing systems of care to better ensure that when someone leaves their tent or shelter bed for a home, they can remain in that home. The plan emphasizes work to address racial disparities in homelessness. And it commits to providing clear and expanded access to the range of services someone needs to leave homelessness or never have to experience it in the first place.

Jessica Vega Pederson and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler released their first version of the plan in March 2024. After a more than two-month engagement process, they released the finalized plan on June 3, 2024 — updated and strengthened with the incorporation of feedback from hundreds of community members.

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 intergovernmental agreement, including the plan, in June 2024.

A roadmap for the next two years, the plan commits to pursuing detailed goals and metrics; more transparent budgeting, data sharing and financial reporting; and a new governance structure that broadens and unifies the work of addressing homelessness and all of its root causes beyond just one downstream department, the Joint Office of Homeless Services

The plan also formalizes collaboration between healthcare partners, the justice system, housing providers, service providers, treatment providers and government partners at all levels.

Read the plan

Final Homelessness Response Action Plan (1.57 MB)

Overview

The plan lays out timelines and a concrete series of short-, medium- and long-term steps. Among the top objectives are:

  • Sheltering or placing in housing 2,699 unsheltered people (the number equivalent to 50% of the unsheltered people on the by-name list) by Dec. 31, 2025, growing the community’s existing work providing shelter and rehousing services for thousands of people a year.
  • Adding 1,000 shelter beds in two years, and provide the housing and health resources people need to move through shelters more quickly, through a new Community Sheltering Strategy developed jointly by Portland, Gresham and Multnomah County leaders and a range of shelter operators.
  • Adding hundreds more behavioral health beds (stabilization, residential, substance use services) and funding a drop-off sobering center.
  • Increasing the number of adults leaving shelter for permanent housing by 15% by Dec. 31, 2025, and ensuring 75% of people housed in permanent supportive housing retain their housing 24 months after placement.
  • Reducing homelessness among specific priority populations (including people of color and people identifying as LGBTQIA2S+).
  • Ending discharges to the street from all behavioral health, health systems or hospitals by the end of 2025, and ending discharges to the street from corrections settings by the end of 2026.
  • Ending homelessness for youth aging out of foster care in Multnomah County by 2027.
  • Increasing the supply of affordable housing through regulatory changes, building conversions and new construction funding sources, among other strategies.

The plan also defines the total scope of responsibilities and contributions needed from the full complement of partners committed to addressing homelessness, including City bureaus and County departments, governments including the State of Oregon and Metro, and healthcare and criminal justice agencies and leaders. It also works to ensure a fully braided system of housing navigation, care coordination and crisis intervention that better taps resources such as Medicaid funding to better match people experiencing homelessness with the services they need. 

Finalized plan incorporates community and stakeholder feedback

The finalized plan released June 3, 2024, 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.