Multnomah County has boosted spending in poverty and housing services as the federal government has divested in public housing. But county staff who serve low-income families say they still can’t keep up with demand. While Portland’s bullish economy paints a rosy picture of the region, pockets of Multnomah County are poorer than they were 10 or 20 years ago. 

Multnomah County has raced to address the housing crisis that has pummeled West Coast communities. Last year, the City of Portland and Multnomah County nearly doubled their spending on homelessness services. But local investments come as the county braces for major cuts in federal and state funding for anti-poverty and homeless services, and while 1-in-3 county residents can’t afford to meet their basic needs. These are stories of how that plays out for families, and what communities and agencies are doing in response.