Multnomah County Program to House Homeless Portlanders in Vacant Units Garners 374 Potential Rooms

Four units are currently in lease negotiations; no one has been placed in a unit yet.

Earlier this month, Multnomah County launched a program that offers a guarantee of one year’s rent to landlords willing to rent their vacant units to homeless Portlanders.

So far, the program has reeled in interest from 54 landlords who have offered a total of 374 units.

Only four of the units are currently in lease negotiations, however, and no one has yet been housed by the program.

Denis Theriault, a spokesman for the Joint Office of Homeless Services, which is coordinating the program, says there’s no specific number of people the proram intends to get housed by June 1 or July 1: He says it’s “as many as we can.”

Theriault could not say where most of those units are located across the city, or what the asking rental price is. The county told WW earlier this month it intended to pay market rate for the units, but would negotiate with individual applicants.

The county 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, give landlords a damage repair guarantee, and provide tenants access to service providers via a 24/7 phone line through 211.

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

Theriault says the county’s yearlong guarantee “is there to make sure someone can be there for the year.”