Partners

Addressing the needs of people experiencing homelessness works best when all stakeholders in the community are at the table so that roles, expectations, approaches and accountability are clearly understood and shared. Cities, counties, community action agencies and service providers lead these efforts in communities around the state and echo the same advice - bring everyone to the table, leave egos at the door and collaborate, collaborate, collaborate!

Internal Partners

Elected Officials

Across Oregon, mayors, city and county commissioners and state legislators have been effective and tireless partners and advocates in their work to convene providers and bring resources to their communities homelessness response.

Community Development/Planning Departments

City community development and planning department staff can assist social service providers and other partners to navigate multiple departments within city government. Your local planning department plays a critical role in homelessness response, providing guidance and review for siting shelter facilities, building code regulations, and serving as a liaison to parks and public works departments. See also shelter siting.

Working with Law Enforcement

Law enforcement is often a community's first response for people experiencing homelessness in public spaces. As such, law enforcement agencies are key partners as communities work to create appropriate and reasonable responses to unsheltered homelessness. Innovations like homeless liaison officers, creating social service alternatives to police response, and law enforcement providing safe transport to shelter can grow out of collaboration between law enforcement, social service providers and other stakeholders.

Community (External) Partners

Continuums of Care

CoCs are the lead agency designated by HUD to plan for homelessness programs, deploy federal resources and manage data. Often led by one of the public or community action agency partners, the CoC stewards a communities long term response to providing shelter and services and responds in emergencies.


Community Action Agencies

Oregon’s 18 Community Action Agencies serve as community-based anti-poverty organizations. Some are private, non-profit corporations, others are organized as part of county government. Services address the full range of family needs--from Head Start and other education and child development programs, to youth and adult employment and training, to services for seniors and the frail elderly.

 

Coordinated Care Organizations (CCO)

A coordinated care organization is a network of all types of health care providers (physical health care, addictions and mental health care and dental care providers) who work together in their local communities to serve people who receive health care coverage under the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid). CCOs focus on prevention and helping people manage chronic conditions, like diabetes. This helps reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and gives people support to be healthy. CCOs are increasing their support for local housing solutions and may have resources to contribute.

 

County Partnerships

Counties commissioners and county department staff play a critical role in regional and local responses to homelessness. In particular, counties bring critical resources and expertise through local public health and behavioral health departments.

 

Culturally Specific Organizations

Today, people of color continue to face discrimination in the housing market as well as in the economy. Due to persistent poverty and wage gaps, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and people of two or more races are more likely to spend a greater share of their incomes on rent, leading to housing insecurity and a higher risk of homelessness. Undocumented immigrants are especially vulnerable in the housing market due to fear of being reported. Systemic barriers to geographic and economic mobility, wealth creation, job and educational opportunities, and overall community building remain for people of color. These barriers continue to reinforce a pattern of disparities that is closely linked to race and ethnicity.

As such, it is important to build partnerships with culturally specific organizations into a community homeless response strategy. Oregon Housing and Community Services defines a “Culturally Specific Organization” as an entity that provides services to a cultural community and the entity has the following characteristics:

  • Majority of members and/or clients are from a particular community of color;
  • Organizational environment is culturally focused and the community being served recognizes it as a culturally-specific entity that provides culturally and linguistically responsive services;
  • Majority of staff are from the community being served, and the majority of the leadership (defined to collectively include board members and management positions) are from the community being served;
  • The entity has a track record of successful community engagement and involvement with the community being served; and
  • The community being served recognizes the entity as advancing the best interests of the community and engaging in policy advocacy on behalf of the community being served.​​​​

 

Population Specific Organizations

Some specific populations are both over-represented among people experiencing homelessness and report systemic and cultural barriers to accessing shelter or other services. These include people with disabilities, youth, Veterans and those identifying as LGBTQ+, especially when they are also people of color. Connecting with organizations that are trusted by and serve specific communities can assist with planning that meets the needs of all people in the community.

 

Shelter and Services Providers

Shelter providers may be established nonprofits with extensive housing and community programs, or may be organizations - mission driven, church-based, volunteer run - that step in to meet the needs of their unhoused neighbors, some permanently and some temporarily or in response to emergencies.


Housing Authorities

Housing Authorities have built and operate housing for 12,000 families, seniors and Oregonians with disabilities. They administer the Housing Choice voucher program (Section 8), and assist Veterans experiencing homelessmess to secure housing and services.


School Districts: McKinney-Vento Homeless Student Liaisons

The McKinney-Vento Act’s Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program, ensures that homeless children and youth are provided a free, appropriate public education, despite lack of a fixed place of residence or a supervising parent or guardian. The state public school admission statute assuring the right of homeless and other children and youth in similar circumstances to enroll in schools is ORS 339.115(7).

Every school district in Oregon has at least one designated Homeless Student Liaison to provide direct assistance to homeless families and unaccompanied youths to access and achieve in school. To reach a district liaison, contact your district’s administrative office, or the state Homeless Education Program office.

Oregon’s Student Success Act has a Student Investment Account designed to support districts to reduce academic disparities and increase achievement of students in homeless living situations, those who are navigating poverty, and other historically underserved student groups. District Liaisons and ESDs are essential partners in this work.

District Liaison Contacts

McKinney-Vento Liaison Contact List

McKinney-Vento Liaisons and Administrative Contacts for all Oregon School Districts (by county).

2019-2022 Oregon McKinney-Vento Subgrant Contacts