Current Initiatives

Housing Multnomah Now

In February 2023, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson announced an initiative called Housing Multnomah Now — in full partnership with the City of Portland — to rapidly house hundreds of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness in a particular geographic area, starting with a portion of the central city.

The goal is to house 300 households by June 30, 2024. The program initially had the goal of housing 300 people in four months, but the target was adjusted when it became clear the original timeline wasn’t possible. The current timeline and goal was finalized and approved by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners during the FY 2024 budgeting process.

Piloting a new approach

In 2023, the program piloted a new approach to street outreach with provider Transition Projects, bringing housing case managers directly to a campsite to connect people with rapid rehousing resources. The pilot’s initial focus was a campsite in Northwest Portland near the Steel Bridge. 

The program is also piloting new technology for data collection during street outreach, which you can read about in this Built for Zero update.

After outreach work ramped down at the Steel Bridge in fall 2023, the program launched an additional outreach focus at Thousand Acres in East Portland, with providers Cultivate Initiatives and Rockwood CDC.

In February 2024, Transition Projects began a new outreach focus in Downtown/Old Town Portland.

Workers in yellow shirts walk through campsite in grassy area.
Woman stands in he

Jessica's Story

When I found out that I had a place, I just couldn’t believe it.

— Jessica, Housing Multnomah Now participant
Read Jessica's Story

Expanded referral pathways increase access to housing

Housing Multnomah Now began as a program focused entirely on moving people directly from tents to apartments in a specific geographic area. This followed a model that showed promise in other regions, including King County. 

Multnomah County has since expanded the referral pathways into the Housing Multnomah Now pilot program. Local realities made it difficult to deliver on some of the goals of the tents-to-housing model. That included Portland’s extreme shortage of available housing, acute barriers to housing among the people the pilot is meant to serve, and low capacity among service providers.

Lessons learned from Oregon All In

The Multnomah County Multi-Agency Collaborative (MAC) Group met or exceeded all of the goals for Gov. Tina Kotek’s Oregon All In Initiative, and it is applying lessons learned from that successful effort to the work of Housing Multnomah Now. That’s included making some changes to Housing Multnomah Now so it more closely follows the eligibility model of Oregon All In.

Housing Multnomah Now will continue to pilot a tents-to-housing model focused on specific geographic areas, while also providing housing to people who’ve recently entered shelter.

Participants eligible for services through the program now include:

  • People who have recently transitioned from the street into shelters, following the same eligibility criteria that was used by the MAC Group to successfully house 234 people in several months through Oregon All In.
  • People referred through the Joint Office’s Outreach Team and the Impact Reduction Navigation Teams in areas across the county.

Accelerating progress

The Joint Office will continue to use what it’s learned to improve the program and make sure it meets the needs of our community. And based on the lessons we learned from Oregon All In, we believe these adjustments to the program will allow us to move quicker and connect more people with housing and services. The Housing Multnomah Now pilot is an opportunity for learning, innovation and adaptation that also allows for more direct engagement with people living unsheltered in some of our most highly trafficked areas.

Progress on Housing Multnomah Now

As of June 10, 2024, 116 households have been housed as part of Housing Multnomah Now.

Line graph showing 1 person housed in Q4 2023, 18 people housed in Q1 2024, 14 people housed in Q2 2024, 33 people housed in Q3 2024, and 50 people housed in Q4 2024.

Landlord recruitment

Multnomah County and the Joint Office are ramping up the work of landlord recruitment so we can increase the number of rental units available for people leaving homelessness. Four landlord recruitment providers are working on this project: Housing Connector, New Narrative, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) and Somali Empowerment Circle. Across providers, 17 full-time employees  have been trained to use Housing Connector for housing placements. 

Are you a landlord interested in making units available to people leaving homelessness? Learn more at the link below.

Image Description:

Apartments in the West Hills on a cloudy day. 

Photo by Sean Benesh on Unsplash