JOIN exists to support the efforts of individuals and families experiencing homelessness to transition into permanent housing. Our efforts are directed at individuals sleeping outside or in their car in the Portland Metro area. Our service provision is not dependent on age, gender, race, ethnicity, faith, culture, language, sexual identity, specific diagnosis, or identifiable issue.
Jordan came to JOIN and met with Alvin, a Day One Family Outreach Worker. Lost and discouraged, Jordan was eight months pregnant and still working hard physical labor as a line cook. She was determined to get out of the situation before the baby arrived. She didn’t know what to expect when she met with Alvin. He recalls their first meeting: “When I met with her, you could just tell her spirit was broken. She wouldn’t look me in the eye. She didn’t have a lot of family or support. When we did an eco-map she only had one relationship– her mother, and that relationship was difficult.” Alvin told her they’d start looking for a place– JOIN would pay the move-in costs and work with her to have a place to raise her child.
“I could see the hope in her eyes. So often people hear ‘no’– hearing ‘yes’ brought some life back to her. She just wants for her baby coming into this world to have a place to call home– that’s her motivation for working hard.” A month later, feet swollen, she still showed up to work– and was ready to deliver. Alvin coordinated getting her settled into a two bedroom apartment. Jordan was so grateful for the opportunity to be connected to JOIN. She is working towards her goal of a career in massage therapy. Alvin encouraged her to pursue massage therapy school and get grants through financial aid. He assured her JOIN will pay the difference to make it happen.
Jordan is fired up to go back to school and looking forward to getting through her program and onto her dream career. This is my first JOIN god baby!”
Jordan is now able to save funds, and she works with Alvin to budget monthly and make sure there is financial longevity.
JOIN’s Outreach Team engages individuals, couples and families experiencing homelessness in the city of Portland and throughout Multnomah County. The Outreach team believes in meeting people where they are– living in cars, under bridges, sleeping outside, or doubled up in temporary housing.
JOIN’s Retention Team provides post-housing placement support to each household that has transitioned into housing. This team visits people in their homes to provide supportive services based on the unique needs of each household. These include: help finding employment, connecting with a benefits advocate, accessing medical, mental health and addiction services, providing resources to combat food insecurity, hosting community-building activities, and many other services.
Each weekday, JOIN operates a high quality, low barrier Day Space, also known as “The House.” The Day Space supports individuals and families living outside. The Day Space provides an abundance of services including: resource navigation, mail pickups, a welcoming space for children, a well curated library, access to the internet, assistance with food stamps and TANF, lockers for treasured belongings, laundry vouchers, bus tickets, showers to refresh, clothing, cold weather gear, hygiene items, food, and last but not least, freshly brewed coffee to fuel the day. Simply put, the Day Space offers refuge and respite.
In 2016, JOIN piloted the Landlord Retention and Recruitment Program (LRRP) to expand our highly successful model of working with private market landlords to open the doors to housing for our neighbors experiencing homelessness.
In a housing market where landlords have the freedom to make exorbitant rent increases and charge double deposits without fear of having vacant properties, this team works to recruit community oriented landlords and property managers. They maintain productive relationships with existing landlords to ensure that low-income people continue to have affordable rental options.
In-Reach engages people living in organized camps and shelters. The In-Reach team leads the effort on visiting communities and temporary housing to connect people with resources to transition into stable, long-term housing. Rather than being comprised entirely of internal JOIN staff, In-Reach is a unique collaboration between six culturally responsive agencies and is led by JOIN.
MHT serves families referred through Multnomah County’s Homeless Family System of Care (HFSC). Multnomah County identifies referrals through a standardized vulnerability scoring system. In 2014, MHT became a service provider within JOIN tasked with securing permanent housing for families. Once connected to housing through MHT, retention support is provided.