Portland/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on April 17, 2024
Portland Faces Shelter Shortage for Homeless, Audit Calls for Joint Office OverhaulSource: City of Portland

Portland is grappling with a shelter shortage that has its homeless population out in the cold, a recent audit has shown. The Joint Office of Homeless Services, a collaborative effort launched by the City of Portland and Multnomah County in 2016, has been under scrutiny for not fully addressing the needs of people without permanent housing. Despite efforts to expand the number and diversity of shelters, they remain at capacity with growing waitlists, according to the audit published on Portland.gov.

Accessibility is a hurdle, discouraging the needy often who cannot navigate the complex requirements to gain a roof over their heads. "The adult and family shelters funded by the Joint Office were generally full and had long waitlists," the report disclosed, adding that these facilities "could be difficult to access, and only sometimes helped participants move to permanent housing." Encouragingly, the Joint Office has commenced reevaluating its approach after the audit indicated gaps in service delivery and shelter availability.

Unequivocally, the analysis asserted a compelling need for a revamp. Strategies to upscale shelter supply, streamline entry, and boost the shift to long-term housing were strongly recommended. Initiatives have begun to take shape as part of the Joint Office's new shelter strategy, aiming to alleviate the crushing demand for emergency housing in Multnomah County.

Programs tailored to minimize racial disparities are also on the front burner, with the office's endeavors to design policies keeping racial equity at the heart. Despite these measures, "because disproportionate rates of homelessness persist — and are increasing for some communities of color," the report insists on a sustained push to meet equity goals and refine tactics for better outcomes.