The head of Multnomah County’s homeless services agency has stepped down.
Marc Jolin, head of the city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services, will be replaced by Shannon Singleton, the former head of homeless services provider JOIN and current candidate for Multnomah County chair, according to a release sent out by the county Tuesday.
The release states Singleton will leave the race to serve as interim director of the joint office. She will start on March 28 while a national search for a permanent director is underway.
In a statement, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury praised Jolin’s leadership of the agency, which he has overseen since the city and county combined efforts in 2016.
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During his tenure, he coordinated an emergency response to COVID-19 that allowed the region to avoid a major outbreak among the homeless population. According to the release, he also oversaw “the largest expansion of publicly funded shelters in history,” increasing the county’s shelter capacity to roughly 2,000 beds.
“Marc is the architect of a massive community alignment around how to approach houselessness that never existed before,” Kafoury said in a statement. “Yet he never asked anyone to do what he was not willing to do himself — from personally delivering cold weather gear at 4 a.m. last Tuesday to having the long conversations it can take to build trust with our neighbors on our streets.”
The leadership shift comes as both the city and county face mounting criticism by many constituents over their handling of the homeless crisis.
During the last official count of the region’s homeless population in 2019, over 4,000 people were experiencing homelessness in the county. While there was no count during the pandemic, anecdotally that number appears to have grown.
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