Multnomah County and the City of Portland fund year-round shelters for people experiencing homelessness. These are primarily low barrier shelters that emphasize trauma-informed site design, meeting participant needs for privacy and community, and tailoring programs to the people they intend to serve.
Our focus is on programming that centers participant voices in program structure and processes; providing equity and dignity-oriented models of sheltering, and reducing barriers to shelter, including utilizing harm reduction practices, holistic and trauma-informed approaches to service provision.
The main types of shelters supported by the Joint Office are:
- Congregate shelters (with a number of people sleeping in the same room or rooms divided into more private bays, featuring bunk-beds or cots, and offering shared spaces like kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms)
- Motel shelters (where households can stay in a motel room funded by the Joint Office)
- Family shelters (specifically for parents/guardians with children)
- Domestic violence shelters (where people who are survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault can find safety and shelter in a protected location)
- Alternative shelters (village style outdoor shelters where households sleep in individual sleeping pods or tiny homes with heating/AC, and have access to showers, community space and services in an indoor or outdoor shared space)
In 2016, when the Joint Office started, there were around 800 year-round shelter beds available in Multnomah County. As of January 2023, government-supported shelters in Multnomah County have room for roughly 2,000 people a night, in motel shelters, traditional shelters, and village-style shelters. Because motel rooms and sleeping pods may serve more than one person, the total number of people served can be even larger. And more shelters are being planned and are currently under construction, so the number continues to increase.
The Joint Office of Homeless Services recognizes the need for emergency shelter to provide clean, dry spaces for people to sleep off the street. But shelter stays are meant to be short in duration and offer connection to housing options.
View the monthly Shelter Utilization report produced by the Joint Office of Homeless Services Data Team.