A row of small, decorated shelters in a gravel lot.
These shelters give people experiencing homelessness a safe place to stay.
Help for Portland's Homelessness Crisis
Affordable housing is one of many factors in Portland’s homelessness crisis. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing costs (including utilities) must be 30% or less of the household income to be considered “affordable.”
If we look at income and housing cost data for Portland, it’s clear that many Portlanders are spending more than 30% on their housing.
 Portland’s minimum wage is $14 and the annual income for a person earning minimum wage is about $30,000. For this person’s housing to be affordable, it must be $750 per month or less. But, according to (as of May 15, 2022), the average cost of a 1-bedroom apartment in Portland is $1,572. That’s more than double the affordable level for someone making minimum wage. Portland’s unaffordable housing market makes it difficult, if not impossible, for people living on the street to get into safe permanent housing.
Portland's Affordability Gap. A pie chart. 30% or less. Housing costs should be 30% or less of household income to be affordable. A bag of money. $30,000, rough annual income for a minimum wage ($24 per hour) job in Portland. A small house. $750 or less, the monthly cost of affordable housing based on Portland's minimum wage. A large house. $1,572, average monthly cost of a 1-bedroom apartment in Portland.
The homelessness crisis touches all of our lives. People experiencing homelessness are part of our neighborhoods and communities as much as anyone else. The City of Portland's Street Services Coordination Center (SSCC) is a collaboration between the City and Multnomah County that provides services to our homeless neighbors. The SSCC engages in outreach to people experiencing homelessness and has put together this list of resources for both housed and unhoused Portlanders: Neighborhood associations, business districts, and other dedicated community organizations have played a huge role in making Safe Rest Villages and other efforts successful. They work with City government to make sure these efforts meet the many complex needs of our communities because increasing the health and safety of our communities means doing so for everyone. It means both keeping our streets clear of hazardous waste and providing shelter and personal hygiene resources. And it means remembering our shared humanity and helping each other when we can.
Water pours from a faucet into a clear glass.
Water Bill Assistance Programs
The City of Portland Water Bureau serves water to nearly a quarter of all Oregonians. In addition to managing our drinking water, the Water Bureau maintains Portland’s sewer and stormwater systems.
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the Water Bureau expanded the qualifications for its financial assistance programs. We know that times are tough for everyone; we're here to help. Assistance is available in the form of bill discounts for sewer and water charges, crisis vouchers, payment arrangements, and fixture repair services. These resources are available in Russian, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese.
Bills stacking up? Use the website below to find out if you qualify for financial assistance. Contact us for more information, and set up a payment plan to avoid future late fees or service disconnections. Find out about all out financial assistance options: 503-823-7770,,
Two figures in elaborate head dresses with a swirling orange background. Another figure, all in black, holds up a hand to point toward a a scene showing rural life.
New Morpheus Youth Project Mural
There is a new mural at the New Market Theater building on SW Ash Street - one of the last projects to be completed by the Community Healing through Art initiative. The Morpheus Youth Project worked with Chicano artists Jesus Torralba and Manuel Villagran to paint a modern take on ancient Mesoamerican artistry. This mural will run at least through the summer. We hope you enjoy it.
Morpheus Youth Project (MYP) has just closed their doors after ten years of impactful service in our community. MYP painted dozens of murals throughout Portland, hosted hundreds of performances in dance and spoken word, and facilitated thousands of arts and cultural workshops for youth, including with young people at the Multnomah County Juvenile Justice Center. You can see their farewell video message here.
A portrait of a man with short black hair and brown eyes.
Meet our new Partnerships & Equity Manager
After an extensive, multi-month recruitment search, Civic Life is proud to introduce Mourad Ratbi as the bureau’s new Partnerships & Equity Manager.
During his career, Mourad worked in international finance, foreign development, corporate strategy, and technology sectors in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Most recently, Mourad was the Trade Commissioner of Science, Technology, and Innovation for the Canadian government across the southwest region of the U.S. His results-driven experience, background in finance, and personal passion for innovation that centers equity will come in handy as he works to administer programs, partnerships, and equity work within Civic Life.
As a trade commissioner, Mourad helped create Canada’s first Black Tech Accelerator program in the U.S. and the first Canadian Space Payload Acceleration Academy, focusing on Lunar Surface Exploration. His programs provide entrepreneurs from under-represented groups access to institutional funding and commercial opportunities to develop groundbreaking technologies on an international scale. These equity forward program experiences and skills will be vital for our work to strengthen our programs for today and the next generation of Portlanders.
Outside of work, Mourad enjoys spending quality time with his family, playing soccer, and exploring new places and cuisines. As an advocate for growth and development programs, Mourad strongly believes in the empowerment of the community and its citizens to actively engage in shaping the future. He is a native Arabic and French speaker and is eager to serve the diverse communities of Portland.

Join an Advisory Body!

Joining an advisory body is a way for Portlanders to lend their expertise and personal or professional experience to the City of Portland. As an advisory body member, you will work closely with community members and City of Portland liaisons to impact policies and programs.

Cannabis Policy Oversight Team (CPOT) - Closes Sunday, May 22

CPOT provides the Office of Community & Civic Life with diverse stakeholder perspectives on cannabis-related public policies. CPOT’s objective is to discuss and develop policies that support equitable access and outcomes for the cannabis industry, cannabis consumers, and all City of Portland residents. Learn more about member responsibilities and apply here!

Portland Clean Energy Community Benefit Fund (PCEF) Committee - Closes Wednesday, June 1

The PCEF invests in carbon reduction projects prioritizing racial and social justice. Nonprofit organizations can apply for community-led projects related to clean energy, regenerative agriculture, green infrastructure, and workforce development. PCEF prioritizes benefits to communities on the frontlines of climate change, like low-income people and people of color. Learn more about member responsibilities and apply here!

Urban Forestry Commission - Closes Monday, August 1

The Urban Forestry Commission advises the City Forester, Parks Director, Commissioner in Charge of Parks, and City Council on matters related to trees in the city, including regulation, budget, policy, and plans. It also acts as an appeals board for certain tree permits, nominates new and approves removal of Heritage Trees, and plays a significant role in updates to the City’s Urban Forest Management Plan. Learn more about member responsibilities and apply here!

Noise Review Board (NRB) Acoustic Representative - Closes Saturday, August 20

The NRB works to improve neighborhood livability by striking a balance between sound generating activities and the desire for quiet communities. The acoustic representative is essential for the board’s decision making, establishing reasonable mitigation measures, and providing technical recommendations for sound policy and code decisions. Learn more about member responsibilities and apply here!
Office of Community & Civic Life
1221 SW 4th Avenue, Suite 110
Portland, Oregon 97204
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