Multnomah County’s program to house Portland’s homeless in vacant housing generates 374 potential rooms

Earlier this month, Multnomah County launched a program that provides a one-year rental guarantee to landlords willing to rent their vacant homes to homeless people in Portland.

So far, the program has attracted interest from 54 owners who have offered a total of 374 units.

However, only four of the units are in lease negotiations and no one has yet been housed through the program.

Denis Thériault, spokesperson for the Joint Homeless Services Office, which coordinates the program, says there is no specific number of people they intend to house by June 1. or July 1: he says it’s “as much as we can”.

Thériault could not say where most of these units are located in the city, or what the asking rental price is. The county said WW earlier this month, they intend to pay market price for the units, but will negotiate with individual applicants.

The county has set aside $4 million for the program, and the application window will remain open until June 1.

The county is offering to pay one year’s rent, a damage repair guarantee and provide access to service providers through a 24/7 phone line through 211.

Theriault says most tenants will be connected to some form of rental assistance outside of the $4 million, and may also have Social Security benefits, disability benefits, or other types of income that can cover most, if not all, of the rent. The $4 million, he says, is meant to be a guarantee used only if needed if someone loses income or housing assistance.

Theriault says the county’s one-year warranty “is there to make sure someone can be there year-round.”

Ryan H. Bowman