Glossary of terms

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)

A federal COVID-19 relief bill passed in 2021 by the US Congress to provide emergency long-term rental assistance, among other supports, for people struggling economically during the pandemic.

Built for Zero (BfZ)

An initiative made up of more than 100 cities and counties that have committed to measurably ending homelessness for entire populations using data to achieve a milestone known as functional zero — an ongoing state where homelessness is rare and brief. Multnomah County joined this initiative in November 2021, with a focus on the chronically homeless population.

Chronic homelessness

People who are chronically homeless have experienced homelessness for at least a year – or repeatedly – while struggling with a disabling condition such as a serious mental illness, substance use disorder, or physical disability.

Coordinated Entry

The nationally recognized term for the centralized housing waitlist for people coming out of homelessness.

Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)

A national organization founded in 1991 to help  bring supportive housing to those who need it most, with a combination of quality housing and support services. The company offers a comprehensive portfolio of services that boost the value and impact of work in more than 300 cities.

Homeless Information Management System (HMIS)

A local information technology system used to collect client-level data and data on the provision of housing and services to homeless individuals and families and persons at risk of homelessness. Local jurisdictions are responsible for selecting an HMIS software solution that complies with HUD’s data collection, management, and reporting standards.

Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative (HRAC)

A research center at Portland State University which aims to address the challenges of homelessness through research that uncovers conditions that lead to and perpetuate homelessness.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The Federal agency responsible for national policy and programs that address housing needs in the US, that improve and develop the Nation’s communities, and enforce fair housing laws.

Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS)

A collaboration between the city of Portland and Multnomah County governments whose aim is to provide funding, support and services to help end homelessness and to ensure safe, supportive housing for all who need it.

Move-In Multnomah

A program launched by Multnomah County in April 2022 to offer added incentives to landlords willing to rent to people coming out of homelessness.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH)

See the ‘Supportive Housing (SH)’ definition below. The main difference is that Permanent Supportive Housing provides permanent support to people who are disabled and have experienced chronic homelessness.

Person-centered approach

The person is placed at the center of the service and treated as a person first.  Focuses on the person and not their condition or disability.

Population A

A designation created by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to refer to people who meet the following criteria: chronically homeless, extremely low-income, and having one or more disabling conditions.

Regional Long-Term Rent Assistance (RLRA)

A program that provides a regional framework for the administration of rent assistance to ensure consistency for landlords, service providers and participants, while also allowing counties to independently implement the program based on local priorities.

Supportive Housing (SH)

Deeply affordable housing with wraparound supportive services like behavioral health care, case management, education and job supports.

Trauma-informed care

An approach, based on the knowledge of the impact of trauma, aimed at ensuring environments and services are welcoming and engaging for service recipients and staff.