Portland, Multnomah County leaders plan for upcoming Joint Office of Homeless Services vote

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PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Despite continued scrutiny, the City of Portland and Multnomah County are making plans to continue their partnership as the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

In a news conference Wednesday, leaders proposed a new three-year agreement to continue working together after the current agreement ends July 2024.

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However, the full city council will need to vote on the new agreement, and some aren’t on board. Some council members hope to end it, claiming the city has been giving the county money and not taking accountability.

But Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commission Chair Jessica Vega Pederson say they’ve come up with ways to improve working together by sharing more information – from data to how money is spent.

The leaders say they intend to set up a daily shelter bed availability and public dashboard to make sure at least 75% of those in permanent supportive housing will be able to stay there for two years. They also aim to improve how they count people who are homeless and reduce that number by 50% within the next two years.

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“And while the mayor and I haven’t always agreed and won’t always agree, to be frank, we share several goals among them is a commitment to working together, putting aside disagreements, and not getting stuck in the past in a way that prevents us from forging ahead, because that is what our community should expect,” Chair Vega Pederson said.

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