- Multnomah County
- Marc Jolin
Marc Jolin, one of Portland's most visible advocates for the homeless, will leave his current position as director of the organization JOIN to take a job with Multnomah County next month.
The brand new position, as the director of a new county-wide board focused on ending homelessness, will take Jolin away from the street-level fight that JOIN is known for. The organization helps people find permanent housing, and is often a first point of contact for homeless people in the County seeking out the limited services available.
Despite that relative remove, Jolin says his role at the helm of the county's new A Home for Everyone initiative, presents an unprecedented chance to turn the tide.
"I will move to spending all my work time on public policy," Jolin tells the Mercury. "We’ve got so many people on our streets. When we have an opportunity like this where we’re all able to come together, I think we’ve gotta take it."
Recent figures suggest roughly 1,800 people in Multnomah County are homeless.
First announced in 2013, A Home for Everyone involves a wide swath of officials from Multnomah County, the City of Portland, the City of Gresham, business leaders, social services and others collaborating on finding new resources and strategies to stymie homelessness. It's a similar concept to the Local Public Safety Coordinating Councils—boards of justice officials from a variety of departments and disciplines—that come together around the state to address public safety challenges. And Jolin says it's the first time all those voices have been around the same table regarding the houseless.
The board's been meeting since late June, and has landed on a number of issues it wants to focus on. Among them: finding more resources for homeless veterans and homeless children, creating new emergency shelters, and steering assistance from the Affordable Care Act to the county's transient population.
As JOIN's executive director, Jolin has co-chaired the Home for Everyone executive board. Starting January 12, he'll start part-time as its director, moving to full time in February. JOIN has yet to select its next director.
"We have a whole new governance structure," Jolin says. "Part of my task will be to help with transitioning and figure out whether we need to go further."
For that work, Jolin will earn $87,000 a year—a salary to be split by the city and county. That's roughly $10,000 more than he made in his job at JOIN, according to the organization's most recent tax filings (those records include benefits in that figure). The position, as currently envisioned, will only last a year, though that could change.
Jolin is a Portland native and a long-time advocate for the homeless here. He's helmed JOIN since 2006, and before that worked on homelessness issues as an attorney—working with both the Oregon Law Center and the firm Perkins Coie.