Critics Question the Close Relationships Between Nonprofits and the County Office That Battles Homelessness
Portland faces no bigger challenge than the plight of thousands of homeless people living on sidewalks, along highway ramps, and in tent villages throughout the city.
Last year, that crisis prompted regional voters to raise billions of dollars in new taxes for homeless services. Now, some question whether the Multnomah County office charged with spending those funds is set up to make the best decisions.
The stakes are enormous—not just for the homeless but for taxpayers.
This year, the Joint Office of Homeless Services will spend about $150 million, twice its budget two years ago.
As the largest beneficiary of the homeless services bond passed by Metro voters in 2020, the office’s budget will only grow. The measure will send nearly $1 billion to the joint office over the next decade. (It’s called the “joint” office because City Hall and the county chip in roughly equal funding to it—$30 million to $35 million each per year.)