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Community Services Division - The Multnomah County Department of Human Services.

Community action agency type services are available in Multnomah County Oregon from the Department of Human Services, Community Services Division. They are involved in administering everything from emergency rent, heating bill assistance, and shelters as well as other support.

A key focus is on addressing and preventing homeless throughout the county, including in Portland Oregon. So the agency and its staff focus on resolving that particular concern for families, youth, and even seniors.

Short term housing (transitional and homeless shelters) in Multnomah County

A Portland Oregon Family Warning Center provides safety services and support for homeless families with children during the winter months from November through March. Guests get a place to stay as well as information on local case management resources.

Transitional housing for teen parents provides stabilization. It will also in effect give them time and  the opportunity to address barriers to long-term self-sufficiency.

If your child, aged 17 and under has run away from home and you need family mediation, crisis intervention or reunification services, social workers from community services can help. Please call 503.233.8111. Runaway Youth Services provide 24/7 Reception Center, crisis line, shelter, support services, gender specific transitional housing services to youth ages 12-17 who have run away, as well as their families.

Multnomah County housing administers public resources to expand affordable housing and infrastructure in low and moderate income communities. The state, using funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the Affordable Housing Development Program (AHDP), better communities. There is also a  home improvement loan program component to it.

Bridges to Housing is for the region too. The homeless can look into this. Various human and community services provides intensive case management, permanently affordable low income housing and childcare resources.




Homeless families from the county who qualify for this program have no permanent place to live, use a large amount of county-funded services, and have at least one child under the age of eighteen. They may also interact with several service systems at the same time and have serious long term barriers that cause them to be excluded from housing.

Dozens of apartments and units are located across Multnomah County and Portland. Qualified families may also qualify for partial rent or security deposit assistance as part of Bridges to Housing.

A a crisis, such as medical emergency, some free hotel or motel vouchers may be issued. The resource is rare. It often depends on federal government or state funding levels. It will be for limited housing in the Portland area. If not offered, find other ways to get free motel vouchers online from other national or local charities.

Emergency financial help from Community Services Division

The weatherization program helps income-eligible residents of Multnomah County expand their household budgets by reducing their annual utility bills with a focus on heating costs. The program provides insulation, heating, free electrical repairs and related services that help save energy through conservation measures.





The exact type of services done will vary depending on different circumstances. As an example, contractors repair or replace furnaces for homeowners but do not replace heating systems in landlord owned rental properties. They also do minimal plumbing repairs for residents but do not do plumbing repair in mobile homes. Note that in rental residences, all work must be authorized by the landlord.

Other home repairs may be done from the Community Services Division Enhanced Plumbing Program. It was designed to assist homeowners who purchase water from the City of Portland. Eligible services include water faucet repair, toilet replacement, repairs for leaking pipes only when pipers are under pressure. Contact the Multnomah County Department of Human Services at (503) 988-7423 for details.

Emergency, Short Term Rent Assistance, or STRA, provides limited housing assistance (up to 2 years at most) to households in Multnomah County Oregon. Applicants need to be experiencing homelessness or at risk of eviction/homelessness. STRA is run by a non-profit known as HOME Forward. The program is designed to respond quickly when homelessness threatens an individual or family in the region.

The program provides eviction prevention support and permanent housing assistance as well as in rare cases emergency hotel/motel vouchers for temporary shelter. There is also placement services and landlord/tenant mediation from case managers.

Apply for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program/Oregon Energy Assistance at the Department of Human Services, Community Services Division. The LIEAP free grant program in Oregon provides financial assistance to income eligible households to off-set the rising costs of home energy. Any household whose income is at or below 60% of the statewide median income for Oregon are eligible to apply for assistance through this program.

Program benefits from LIHEAP are paid out to clients on a first-come, first-served basis. The community action staff also offer outreach being offered to seniors, families with disabilities, and families with children 5 and under.

Department of Human Services, Community Services Division staff can also refer families to other utility bill assistance programs. Most water, electric, and heating providers in the state offer some benefits. Staff may help with all energy providers in the state, and find utility bill assistance programs in Oregon.

Youth programs - If you are homeless and under the age of 25 needing shelter, safety off the streets, or other  crisis services, you can get the help you need by calling 503.432.3986. The Department of Human Services, Community Services Division Homeless Youth Continuum is designed to help youth lead safe and healthy lives and become productive members of the community. Services include emergency and short-term shelter; access to transitional housing, a 24-hour access and assessment center and related social support-services.

Homeless Families receives assistance by way of shelter, emergency and transitional housing. Clients also get support services to assist with permanent housing placement. A key component of services for homeless families is the winter shelter program (see above).





Applying for Community Service programs and benefits

Other benefits and assistance programs can be arranged as well. Location of Community Services Division is 421 SW Oak Street, Suite 200, Portland, OR 97204-1623, call (503) 988-6295.

By Jon McNamara














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