NEWS RELEASE: Chair Vega Pederson, Mayor Wheeler share Homelessness Response Action Plan

March 11, 2024

Multnomah County, Ore. — Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson on Monday, March 11, unveiled a strategic reset of the community’s response to homelessness — including new metrics and other concrete steps on how the community can work together to house or shelter roughly 2,700 more people living outside 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 will strengthen and refocus 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.

Just as they did when releasing the rough contours of their plan in December, the Chair and Mayor are committing 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 draft plan released March 11 includes a roadmap for the next two years. It formalizes collaboration between healthcare partners, the justice system, housing providers, service providers, treatment providers and government partners at all levels.

The plan lays out timelines and a concrete series of short-, medium- and long-term steps with  the following objectives:

  • Shelter or house an additional 2,699 people (the number equivalent to 50% of the unsheltered people on the by-name list as of January 2024) by Dec. 31, 2025, growing the community’s existing work providing shelter and rehousing services for thousands of people a year. 
  • Add 1,000 shelter beds in two years (including beds in development and new beds), 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.
  • Add hundreds more behavioral health beds (including stabilization, residential, substance use) and open a drop-off sobering center.
  • Increase the number of adults leaving shelter for permanent housing by 15% by Dec. 31, 2025.
  • Ensure 75% of people housed in permanent supportive housing retain their housing 24 months after placement.
  • Reduce unsheltered homelessness for specific priority populations (people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA2S+) at a rate equal to or greater than their proportion of the overall population in the baseline number.
  • Building on the Joint Office’s recent data improvements, the plan provides the most comprehensive count of people experiencing homelessness so far. Using by-name data, the plan sets a baseline of 11,153 people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County as of January 2024, with nearly 5,400 of those sleeping outside, in vehicles, or otherwise without shelter. This count, compiled over a longer period of time, provides a more complete tally than previous counts, which were based on single-night snapshots like the Point in Time Count. The 2023 Point in Time Count, for instance, showed only 6,300 people experiencing homelessness overall and just 4,000 people experiencing unsheltered homelessness as of January 2023.
  • 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. 
  • End all behavioral health, health system or hospital discharges to the street by Dec. 31, 2025.
  • End discharges from corrections settings to the street by the end of 2026.
  • End homelessness for youth aging out of foster care in Multnomah County by 2027.
  • Increase the supply of affordable housing through regulatory changes, building conversions and new construction funding sources, among other strategies.
  • And better define 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.

Read the full roadmap, including timelines and metrics, here:

Draft Homelessness Response Action Plan - March 11, 2024 (1.01 MB)

Comments from elected leaders and local partners

“Today we unveil a comprehensive and ambitious plan because the people living on our streets need shelter, safety, support and a path to housing,” said Chair Vega Pederson. “Homelessness is one of the most pressing, complex, and challenging issues facing our country, our state, and here in Multnomah County. It is a crisis decades in the making. Our specific and measurable goals are in direct service to people who deserve to be seen and connected to services that meet their specific needs. Multnomah County is committed to collaborating with the City, State, providers, and community members to ensure the most vulnerable people in our communities have the resources they need to be safe, sheltered and on the path to permanent housing.” 

"The Homelessness Response Action Plan is more than a collection of goals, it's a commitment to tackle homelessness with measurable outcomes, meaningful data and an unprecedented focus on behavioral health," said Mayor Wheeler. "Portlanders have rightly demanded action from their elected leaders, and the implementation of this plan will result in a more effective and unified strategy to address the homelessness crisis." 

“I commend the Chair and the Mayor for putting forward a comprehensive plan to respond to homelessness in the Portland area,” said Governor Tina Kotek. “This is the kind of coordination, data tracking, and vision required to address our acute homelessness crisis and improve outcomes for the entire community. The state is ready to be a partner in its success.”

“Currently there is no coordinated approach to getting clients the services they need,” said Dr. Bruce Goldberg, Professor of Public Health and a longtime advocate. “This plan establishes a coordinating body that will have real-time data on availability of service – so coordinators can match clients with services that best meet their needs. This moves us in the right direction.” 

Seeking community feedback through March 29 to build final plan

The release of the draft Homelessness Response Action Plan kicks off a public comment period through March 29 that’s meant to build on the feedback received so far from subject-matter experts, community leaders, and City and County commissioners who’ve received personal briefings from staff.

Information on the plan is online at And anyone with comments can email County staff at

The comment period will include virtual town halls for the general public (March 21) and for service providers (March 18). More details about how to attend those events will be released to the media and community.

Staff will work to compile and summarize all feedback starting March 30, with a final plan posted by the end of April.

The Mayor and the Chair plan to bring forward a new intergovernmental agreement to continue their partnership on addressing homelessness. The agreement, which would replace the 2016 contract that created the Joint Office, would formally enshrine the new governance structure and specific measurable goals. It would need to be approved by the City Council and the Board of Commissioners. A vote will be scheduled later this spring.