Joint Office on target for Supportive Housing Services Measure spending goals

In a presentation to the Board of County Commissioners April 16, 2024, the Joint Office of Homeless Services demonstrated its progress deploying Metro Supportive Housing Services Measure dollars, showing that in the first three quarters of FY 2024, the department has already spent more than it did for all of FY 2023.

Through March 2024, the Joint Office has spent $91 million in Supportive Housing Services funds, or 53% of its $170 million program budget.

And with spending typically reaching its highest rate during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, the Joint Office is on track to not only meet but exceed the spending goals it established with Metro for FY 2024.

In the first three quarters of FY 2024, $78 million, or 87%, of the department’s Supportive Housing Services expenditures have gone directly to contracted service providers, with most of that funding going toward shelter, outreach, permanent supportive housing and short-term housing assistance.


“This progress has been through deep partnership with contracted providers, and it’s shown us how focused, urgent action can yield greater investment of resources and, most importantly, greater impact for our community,” said Chair Jessica Vega Pederson. “I’m extremely pleased to see these SHS dollars are being put to good use, creating services that are needed to help people stabilize and rebuild.”

The Joint Office’s investments with Supportive Housing Services dollars this fiscal year include shelter bed capacity, including preserving 175 beds at the Bybee Lakes Hope Center and adding 30 additional family shelter units; expanding daytime services; and deploying $2 million in immediate rent assistance. Additionally, the Joint Office hired an East County Liaison focused on ensuring geographic equity in the Joint Office’s services across the county.

Another key investment this fiscal year was $10 million in organizational health and capacity-building grants that have been distributed through United Way of the Columbia Willamette to 61 service providers across the system, a first step to addressing ongoing workforce issues outlined in a 2023 Joint Office study on provider wages.

The Joint Office also presented, for the first time, 10-year forecasting that shows that spending will exceed available revenues by FY 2027. Chair Jessica Vega Pederson and Joint Office Director Dan Field will also present the 10-year financial projections to Metro on Wednesday, April 17, along with similar forecasts from the other two counties that receive Supportive Housing Services funds.

“We’re stabilizing a groundbreaking program and laying the foundation for long-term success,” said Field, who took over as Joint Office director last year. “It took us some time to build up our system in the first two years of this measure. But as promised to the voters, and as we make internal improvements, we are acting urgently to use these resources to deliver much-needed services to our community. That includes shelter beds, permanent supportive housing, rent assistance, street outreach and more — all at a scale that was never possible before this measure.”

The Joint Office did not meet the spending goals it set with Metro for the first two years of the Supportive Housing Services Measure. Those issues were largely due to workforce challenges in the homeless services sector, and start-up time needed to build out a larger homeless services system in the region during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2023, Metro worked with Multnomah County to create a Corrective Action Plan focused on correcting slow spending in the first two years of the measure.

The current fiscal year, however, presented some additional budgeting challenges for the Joint Office to overcome.

In September 2023, months after the County’s budget was approved, the Joint Office received an additional $51 million in unanticipated revenues from Metro. Without that surge in revenue driving up the Supportive Housing Services program budget, to $170 million, the spending rate this year would have been even higher, at 76%.

Even with those challenges, the Joint Office is on target to meet the goals outlined in the Corrective Action Plan, and to exceed its minimum annual spending target for the Supportive Housing Services Measure ($127 million, or 75% of the total program budget).

Watch the full board briefing online here.