Housing Transitions

Housing Transitions

Homeless, non-parenting women 21 years of age and older are an underserved population with relatively few services available to them. Often, homeless women with children in their care generally receive housing priority. While the overall number of homeless individuals in Multnomah County dropped by 15% in the past two years, the number of single women on the streets has increased.

Housing Transitions opened in 2006 with the primary goal of finding and securing permanent housing for our clients and then providing the support services they need to remain housed. In partnership with other programs in the area, our services include street outreach, drop-in services, housing placement, resident services, housing retention, and help finding employment.

The program provides services to about 900 women every year. Should you or someone you know need assistance, please call. 971-222-1880.

Street Outreach

Our team reaches out to women who are staying outside or in their cars and at emergency shelters, primarily in SE Portland and in the Hollywood District in NE Portland. We bring coffee early in the morning and socks, hats, and gloves during the cold months. It sometimes takes several visits to build trust and to encourage women to visit our drop-in center and start the process of ending their homelessness.

Drop-In Services

Housing Transitions is a warm, welcoming place for women who are experiencing homelessness and offers community-building for those who have achieved housing.

Drop-in is open Monday through Friday between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Women may access drop-in services without an intake.

Drop-in services include the following:

  • A safe, comfortable place for women only (well-mannered pets welcome)
  • Information, referrals, and advocacy
  • Access to a phone and computers
  • Shower
  • Washer and dryer (for women who are staying outside)
  • Coffee
  • Lunch on Wednesdays between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm
  • Mailing address for women who are not housed
  • Support groups
  • A monthly calendar of social and craft activities

We are located at Catholic Charities on 2740 SE Powell Boulevard, Suite 6, on the #9 bus line. The entrance is in the back of the building on the lower level of Clark Family Center.

Housing Placement

Housing Transitions operates on the highly successful Housing First model that prioritizes providing permanent house as quickly as possible and then offering supportive services as needed. This approach is based on the premise that individuals are better able to address other issues in their lives after they first have a place to call home, which leads to better housing retention — the ability to keep their housing. The ultimate goal of the program is for women to recover from homelessness and become fully participating members of their communities.

To this end, landlord relationships are an important part of our work. When a landlord is willing to take a chance and accept a client who has barriers to housing, Housing Transitions offers ongoing support to those landlords and encourages them to contact us for assistance in resolving any issues.

Housing Services include:

  • Information and referrals
  • Advocacy
  • Assistance in applying for subsidized housing
  • Move-in costs for women who have stable income (when funds are available)
  • Help with reducing barriers to housing
  • Assistance with landlord appeals
  • Permanent housing placement for chronically homeless women (when housing programs have capacity)
  • Assistance with the physical move and household items (only available to women Housing Transitions places in housing)
  • Ongoing case management for housing clients


While there are a variety of circumstances affecting the ability of individuals to keep their housing, the primary factors are having the income to be able to pay the rent, understanding and abiding by the terms of the lease, and being able to live in peace with neighbors. We place women in housing they can afford on their own after we help them move in, and case managers work with their clients to explain the importance of following reasonable expectations by property management, being good neighbors, and complaining constructively if there is an issue that needs to be resolved.


While some clients are disabled and living on Social Security Disability, many others are able to return to the workforce and financial independence. Our employment specialist at Housing Transitions provides one-on-one, individualized assistance in creating or updating resumes, learning or updating computer skills, applying for jobs online, and preparing for interviews.

In order to give every job seeker undivided attention, employment services are offered by appointment.

We offer the following during scheduled appointments:

  • General employment and pre-employment services
  • Resume preparation
  • Job search and job bank

To schedule an appointment with employment services, please call 503-688-2672.

Margi Dechenne | Manager, Housing Transitions

Margi Dechenne began working for Catholic Charities in February 2003 after  twenty years of working with homeless youth in Portland.   She worked as a Case Manager at the Elizabeth House maternity home and since 2006, has been the Program Manager of Catholic Charities Housing Transitions, a program which provides permanent housing and ongoing case management to homeless, non-parenting  women.  In addition to Housing Transitions, Margi also supervises Martha and Mary Home, a shared living house for formerly homeless women over sixty, and our newest project, the Kenton Women’s Village.

Give to Housing Transitions

Without the generosity of donors, Catholic Charities would not be able to support the life-changing services offered by Housing Transitions. The support of our community is instrumental in the success of all of our clients. Thank you for investing in this important work!

To make a gift to Housing Transitions by mail, send your check or money order to the following address:

Catholic Charities
Attention: Development
2740 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, Oregon 97202

Click below to make an online gift.