Houselessness is a systemic issue impacting an estimated 553,742 people in the United States (as of 2017), according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. In Portland alone there are around 4,015 neighbors who are currently houseless, as reported by A Home for Everyone’s 2019 Point in Time Count report. These numbers are likely higher now due to the economic and social uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SE Uplift often hears from community members who are concerned about houselessness in their neighborhoods, so we’ve compiled this guide for neighbors looking for help. We organized resources by “hubs,” groups in Portland and beyond who have active resource guides or databases already in existence. We also compiled a list of emergency resources specific to the SE community. We hope for this resource is used by community members to pursue solutions and build connections with their neighbors, both unhoused and housed. This guide can also absolutely be utilized by houseless neighbors to seek support and resources.
This guide is constantly evolving and SE Uplift staff update as needed. If you know of a resource not reflected here or see outdated information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For a list of ways to get involved, see the last section on this page.
Website | Phone – Dial 211 or text your zip code to 898211
211 is perhaps the most comprehensive resource service available, and it is free to use. They have a Community Resource Directory database for Oregon and SW Washington on their website.
A Home for Everyone
A Home for Everyone has put out a comprehensive plan to end homelessness, amongst other advocacy work. This organization represents a partnership between the City of Portland, Multnomah County, Home Forward, and the City of Gresham. Their website connects the community with resources for families, youth, survivors of domestic violence, and more. They also have a Coordinated Access Program that can connect veterans, adults, families, unaccompanied youth, and domestic violence survivors with services.
An example of a service someone could be connected with is Cascadia’s Housing Outreach Team, who operates and administers a variety of permanent supportive housing options. Cascadia is a mental health provider in PDX with multiple locations, including one in SE. Their Permanent Supportive Housing programs focus specifically on supporting folks who are chronically homeless and have a mental health disability.
Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH)
While CSH is a national organization and does not provide housing services directly, they are dedicated to improving supportive housing resources through research, education, and policy. Their website hosts an extensive resource library with a wide variety of topics ranging from healthcare benefits to toolkits for supportive housing.
Home Forward is the largest provider of affordable housing in Oregon. Their website has a database to assist in finding openings in Home Forward low-income apartment communities. There are options to sign up for the waitlist, get help paying rent, and get connected with their support services.
New Avenues for Youth
Website | Phone: 503-224-4339
New Avenues for Youth provides extensive services to support to youth who are at-risk of, or are experiencing, houselessness. They have several vital programs including drop-in day services, supportive housing, counseling and education assistance, assistance for youth transitioning out of foster care, and much more. Their innovative programs are survivor-centered and culturally responsive.
An example of one of these programs is the Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC), which provides a safe, harassment-free space for LGBTQ+ youth ages 13-23 to build community and participate in positive activities like art, music, and community organizing. SMYRC connects LBGTQ+ youth to the broad range of services offered by New Avenues for Youth, including case management, counseling, education, and more.
NW Pilot Project
Website | Phone: 503-227-5605
According to their website, NW Pilot Project connects “low-income and very low-income seniors (55 and over) in Multnomah County who are capable of independent living with rental housing that is safe, permanent and affordable to them.” The website has various resource lists that assist with affordable housing and shelter searches.
State of Oregon Homelessness Prevention
This page hosts a shelter directory, information about housing for veterans, and information about getting connected with a housing counselor. According to their website, housing counselors provide guidance on topics such as emergency rent assistance, renter support programs, and shelter options.
Street Roots Rose City Resource Guide
Website | Phone: 503-228-5657
The Rose City Resource Guide is one of the most comprehensive guides available, with a database that lists reduced cost or free services in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. As an organization, Street Roots also provides a substantial amount of support to the houseless community in PDX. They run an Ambassador Program, which works to build on the talents and expertise of people on the streets, and also serve the community through their advocacy work.
TPI is the largest provider of homeless shelter services in Multnomah County. Their website has information about accessing services, a shelter list, and their resource center. They also offer free/sliding scale TB tests.
SE Portland Emergency Shelter and Crisis Resources
This list of SE-specific resources was developed for those looking for emergency shelter and/or crisis services. Many of these groups are able to serve those in immediate need, though shelters can have waitlists or requirements that need to be met. These resources differ from the hubs listed above that help identify support but often do not have the ability/capacity to directly provide it to individuals or groups needing assistance. We encourage our neighbors to use both lists when searching for support, as there is some overlap.
– Last updated 8/2021 –
CAREpdx (Community. Advocacy. Readiness. Education.) has put together an emergency resource list for anyone in PDX to use. These resources connect folks in crisis with organizations/groups who work primarily outside of the criminal justice system to provide community-based support. This resource list includes several crisis lines, including Lines for Life and the Multnomah County Crisis Line.
Central City Concern
Along with connecting individuals with services, Central City Concern’s Housing Rapid Response program works with houseless folks in need of emergency services. According to their website, “HRR case managers are there to respond to people in need, to act quickly to build trust and bring them into the CCC community where they can find safe housing, medical and mental health care, addiction treatment and other vital support. With the support and collaborative efforts of the HHR team, participants have access to a variety of interventions that can help them begin their journey of recovery.”
Website | Phone: 503-548-0200
According to their website, “the Homeless Services Program at Human Solutions provides three elements that are critical to homeless families: emergency shelter, housing assistance, and family advocacy.” They run Lilac Meadows, an emergency shelter program for families, in SE.
Join is a homeless service provider organization. They conduct outreach to individuals living outdoors, housing retention services to newly housed households, and they have a day center. Their day center is located in NE, but other aspects of their work are city-wide.
Multnomah County’s Interactive Shelter Map
This interactive map displays all of the shelters distributed across Multnomah County and the City of Portland, including those in SE. According to Multnomah County’s website, shelters usually operate on a first come/first serve basis until they are full. Some have waiting lists and many shelters require TB tests.
The County also has a “Shelter and Homeless Services” page that links to information regarding 211, Multnomah County Shelters, and other service providers in the city.
PDX Free Fridge
PDX Free Fridge is a community-run program to combat food insecurity. This is an amazing emergency resource. Free Fridges/pantries are set up by community members and can be used by anyone at any time. This interactive map shows where fridges are located in PDX – there are several in SE Portland, including one just outside the front doors of SE Uplift. You can also search for other food resources with this map.
Portland Homeless Family Solutions
Website | Phone: 503-915-8306 (main office) or 971-409-1766 (shelter)
Portland Homeless Family Solutions works with houseless families who have children. They offer prevention, housing, and shelter services. Their Family Village is located in SE.
Portland People’s Outreach Project
Portland Street Response
Portland Street Response is an innovative pilot program that, according to their website, assists people experiencing homelessness or low-acuity behavioral health issues. Members of the Portland Street Response team are dispatched to connect with folks experiencing houselessness and/or mental health crises to provide resources and support, rather than having police respond to these calls. The program is in its pilot phase (beginning in the Lents neighborhood) and is slowly but surely expanding to cover SE Portland – you can check if your neighborhood is covered using this address lookup tool.
Sweep Support Hotline/Resting Safe
Website | Phone: 844-206-2005
This support hotline was created by a coalition of grassroots Portland groups to be used by anyone in the city being faced with a sweep. Along with the hotline, their website provides information from Stop the Sweeps about rights during a sweep. This website also has information about the work of Resting Safe. A project of Right 2 Survive, Resting Safe’s work revolves around environmental justice work in support of the houseless community.
Here is a list of articles that may be helpful for individuals looking for additional support:
Homelessness and the Digital Divide
Many families experiencing homelessness have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. While people relied heavily on internet connectivity to continue their daily routines, it only increased the difficult conditions for unsheltered individuals that lacked internet access. For people experiencing homelessness, having internet access is essential when looking for housing, jobs, applying for social service assistance, and accessing medical care. This guide offers materials to support unhoused folks around the digital divide, including:
- Downloadable Infographics on Homelessness and the Digital Divide
- Local Resources and Ways the Community Can Help
- State and Federal Support Programs
There are many ways to get involved in exploring creative and innovative solutions to this crisis. Anyone can be involved in supporting their unhoused neighbors, you don’t need previous experience with this issue to push for change. See the list below to explore which options for involvement are best for you.
SE Uplift Committee Participation
SE Uplift’s Houselessness Action Committee (HAC) meets on a monthly basis to share resources within the SE community, hear from guest speakers, and make recommendations to the SE Uplift Board. Meetings are the 4th Monday of each month at 5:30 pm. Each meeting, the HAC invites guest speakers who are leaders in our community on this issue along with hearing reports from neighborhoods across SE. Anyone in SE Portland is invited to attend. Please contact email@example.com to be added to the committee’s email list.
Some SE Portland neighborhoods have their own committees on this topic as well. For example, Sunnyside’s Community Care Committee is currently heavily involved in action to support unhoused neighbors in the Sunnyside neighborhood, along with bringing the needs of housed neighbors to the table.
There are dozens of city and county projects on houselessness, and many are open to participation and/or feedback from the community. Some groups, like a Home for Everyone, are connected to or run by city or county offices, such as the Joint Office of Homeless Services. According to their website, the Joint Office of Homeless Services oversees the delivery of services to people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County. The office represents a shared commitment between Multnomah County and the City of Portland to making services easier to access for those in need. Their number for general information, comments and questions is (503) 988-2525.
The City of Portland is also seeking solutions to this crisis through projects like the Shelter to Housing Continuum Project, which is run by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
Outside of involvement with government agencies or neighborhood associations, there are also many grassroots groups who frequently have opportunities to support houseless neighbors directly. Many of these groups organize to support specific needs or projects, such as food inequality or rent forgiveness. Some of these opportunities provide services to low income housed neighbors as well. Examples of these groups are:
- Shelter Now (formerly the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty)
- Community Alliance of Tenants
- Stop the Sweeps PDX
- Crisis Kitchen
- Free Lunch Collective
There are many other ways to get involved outside this list, like attending one-time trainings or participating in online forums such as the Portland Shelter Forum. If you need more ideas on where to get started, email the HAC and we’ll be happy to help.