Mission: JOIN exists to support the efforts of homeless individuals and families to transition off the streets and into permanent housing. We envision a community where homelessness, if it exists at all, is a short-term circumstance rather than a long-term or chronic condition.
Results: Since hiring our first Outreach Worker in 1998, JOIN has helped over 5,000 men, women, and children transition out of homelessness and into the safety of permanent housing.
Target demographics: JOIN works with individuals and families sleeping on the streets in the City of Portland without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, age, age, gender, family status, sexual orientation, disability, or diagnosis.
Direct beneficiaries per year: JOIN houses an average of 500 individuals each year from 250 households.
Programs: JOIN's Outreach Services Program is designed to address the systemic need for greater service accessibility and to re-engage homeless people in positive processes of change. It is founded upon the efforts of 6 outreach workers who visit campsites, meal sites, and other places that homeless people gather out on the street. They develop personal relationships, provide ongoing support, and engage homeless people in processes of positive personal change that lead to successful and sustainable transitions off the street. Basic services such as showers, laundry, and personal storage are provided at JOIN's facility within the context of a barter exchange system. This system promotes individual dignity by allowing participants to earn and select the service they need. Additional services include personal hygiene items, sleeping bags and blankets, contact address and telephone number, mail, bus tickets, and Oregon ID. Outreach services emphasize transitions out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Specifically this means helping to secure benefits or employment that will enable the payment of rent and supporting housing searches with funding for application fees and move-in deposits. We stay involved with people for at least 12 months and will provide limited funds for housing retention services for those people with whom we have been working.
I don't have a lot of money, but I like to share what I have with JOIN because I feel like they make a real difference in the lives of homeless families, WHILE the same time working on the root causes of homelessness. I know their director Mark Jolin for two decades has been a key player in Portland's efforts to make ending homeless a priority. When I've gone to JOIN, I've seen homeless parents and children and other individuals being treated with respect, trading barter work for locker use and showers and laundry, playing with their little ones in the lovely children's area, and getting referrals, resources and other support. Also I like supporting JOIN because they have a very unique model of sending outreach workers into homeless camps to build relationships with the marginalized folks there, and then works directly with landlords to get folks into housing. The combo of direct service and systemic change is hard to find, and JOIN does it really well.