City of Portland and Multnomah County approve $8.4 million for rent assistance, homeless programs and shelter

This week, the City of Portland Council and the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners approved an additional $8.4 million for rental assistance, shelter beds, and services to help address the continuing housing and homelessness crisis.

With rents continuing to climb, and incomes for low-income households remaining stagnant, every month hundreds of new families on the verge of losing their homes seek rent assistance from our non-profit agencies but are turned away because no funding is available. Thousands more are already on the streets lacking both a safe place to sleep and the assistance they need to get back into permanent housing.  

To address this crisis, Portland City Council approved $2.7 million additional funds for homeless programs and shelter operations on Wednesday. This funding includes more than $1 million for short-term rental assistance to help people move into housing and avoid eviction and $840,000 to improve and operate shelter.

The City’s approved funds also include several programs that were recommended by A Home for Everyone including: a tenant protection team to aid tenants facing potential eviction due to rent escalation and/or no-cause evictions, a mobile provider team of housing placement and behavioral health specialists to provide onsite housing placement services to people staying in shelter, and a voluntary transportation and reunification program, based on San Francisco’s Homeward Bound program, to reunite individuals experiencing homelessness with family or caregivers outside of Portland.

The transportation and reunification program would provide assistance only to individuals requesting relocation help who can demonstrate that they have a permanent housing placement option in the community they propose to relocate to.

 Libra Forde, director of Community and Family Programs with Self Enhancement, Inc.

Libra Forde, director of Community and Family Programs with Self Enhancement, Inc.

On Thursday, the County Board of Commissioners approved $1 million in housing placement and retention assistance for some of the county’s most vulnerable populations: homeless families, youth, veterans, seniors, communities of color and domestic violence victims. Another $4.7 million will allow the County to lease and acquire property to be used for hundreds of additional shelter beds.

Taken together, these funds will help more than 1,000 people avoid homelessness, access emergency shelter, and get back into permanent housing over the next four months.