Volunteer Opportunities for 2019 Homeless Street Count

Portland State University and the Joint Office of Homeless Services are recruiting volunteers to help gather data collected as part of the 2019 Homeless Street Count during the week of January 23 through January 29, 2019.

What is the Homeless Street Count?

The Homeless Street Count is conducted every two years in an effort to learn more about the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Portland/Multnomah County who are unsheltered. It captures a snapshot of those sleeping outside – on the street, in a car or abandoned building – on a given night. In combination with the One Night Shelter Count, which captures information on people receiving emergency shelter, transitional housing, rent assistance, and permanent supportive housing (as well as those seeking services), the Street Count provides important information about the level of homelessness in our community and the need for services.

Why is the Street Count important?

Communities that receive state and federal funding for homeless services are required to conduct a comprehensive Homeless Street Count every two years in order to maintain funding eligibility. Having an accurate count makes our community eligible to receive millions of dollars in funding for essential community-based services. The count allows the City, County, and their nonprofit partners to better understand the demographics and needs of those experiencing homelessness -- enabling us to more effectively direct resources and design programs to meet the needs of our community.


Volunteers are a critical part of the Street Count and assist service agencies throughout Multnomah County in conducting a short one-page survey with people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers will be stationed at specific locations throughout Multnomah County where homeless persons congregate or access services, such as meal programs, drop-in centers, and health clinics. Volunteers work with agency staff to talk with people about the survey, invite them to participate, and then fill out the survey form. Specific requirements and shift schedules will vary by agency. Most shifts last from two to four hours. Shifts will be available during morning, daytime, and evening hours. The majority of the shifts will be scheduled the evening of Wednesday, January 23 through the evening of Friday, January 25, but there will be shifts available throughout the week of January 23 to 29. Even volunteering for a few hours helps immensely.

Street Count Volunteers should be:

  • Comfortable approaching people and inviting them to participate in the survey;

  • Able to relate effectively with a wide range of people;

  • Humble and respectful;

  • Able to stand or walk for long periods of time, in some cases outdoors;

  • Comfortable spending time on street corners or in crowded waiting areas;

  • Able to read the survey questions and record the answers;

  • Bi-lingual in Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, or Russian is a plus.

  • Please forward this invite to anyone else you know who may be interested in volunteering.


Please fill out the volunteer registration form linked below. We will be conducting several trainings throughout the county in January to orient volunteers and provide you all the materials you need to assist with the Street Count.