About Transition Projects

Transition Projects helps people transition from homelessness to housing in the Portland metro area. Each year, we assist more than 10,000 people through a broad array of services, resources, and tools.

On any given day, we help meet the basic needs of more than 500 people experiencing homelessness through our Resource Center.

On any given night, we provide a safe place to sleep for more than 800 people with nowhere else to turn.

In any given year, we help place more than 1,000 people into affordable housing - and then support them in retaining that housing.

Founded in 1969, Transition Projects is a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that today employs a staff team of more than 275 people working across a network of 9 program sites around Portland.

Transition Projects Equity Statement

We are committed to creating an equitable organization that is inclusive and representative of the communities we serve. We value the diverse voices, perspectives, and practices offered by participants, staff, volunteers, community partners, and our board of directors, and we rely on this diversity to craft innovative approaches to providing critical services and to creating positive, systemic change. We recognize that our diversity is our strength and it is critical to advancing our mission and enhancing the well-being of participants, staff, volunteers, and the community.

We seek in principle and in practice to promote justice, equity, and inclusion through:

  • Interrupting oppressive policies, behaviors, and language;
  • Using person-first language; respectfully placing the person before the circumstance (i.e., people experiencing homelessness, not homeless people);
  • Fostering a culture of compassion, acceptance, alliance, and mutual respect;
  • Creating and maintaining opportunities for engagement, education, and discourse around justice, equity, and inclusion;
  • Ensuring that identity—such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, ability, sexual orientation, or any other identity—has no detrimental effect on access to resources, on opportunities, or on outcomes for participants, board, staff, volunteers, and community partners;
  • Recognizing all forms of knowledge, whether acquired through education or through lived experience, as essential to our collective wisdom;
  • Encouraging engagement and participation of underrepresented groups at all levels of our organization and making space for the most marginalized voices to be heard; and
  • Promoting access to available resources and services and awareness of issues around housing and homelessness through outreach, education, and advocacy.

We pledge to hold ourselves accountable to these goals by ensuring our workplace and the services we offer reflect this commitment. Through the work of our Equity Committee, we will review progress toward these goals annually.


HELPING THE Transition from
homelessness into housing


Transition Projects, a leader in transitioning people from homelessness and living on the streets into housing in Portland, Oregon, operates and manages nine unique locations as well as facilitates hundreds of apartment placements each year, throughout the Portland Metropolitan area. The agency offers programs, resources and tools to individuals through access to social services including case workers, healthcare, mentorship and housing. 

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  • 1969

    Transition Projects began in 1969 in Portland, Oregon when Reverend Gilbert N. Lulay leased a hotel on the corner of NW 2nd and NW Couch Streets in Old Town/Chinatown. Offering room for 20 homeless men, men with nowhere to go would knock on the door and find a safe place to sleep. Lulay began calling his work Burnside Projects.

  • 1970

    Rev. Lulay contacted 13 churches concerned about the inner-city. The group was called HUB-CAP and included Lake Oswego Methodist, St. Mary's Cathedral and Downtown Chapel. The pastors were invited to spend a night at Burnside Projects and following that HUB-CAP helped incorporate Burnside Projects. The founding board members were: Rev. Lulay, Rev. Louis H. Weis, Fred Abojian, Rev. Richard Hughes and Jean Vollum. The Founding Mission was: "To provide lodging, food and other assistance for poor and homeless men." The agency also distinguished itself by not requiring people to pray before they received assistance. Realizing that homeless women were also in great need the agency began serving them in 1974 and hired its first paid staff. In time, the agency operated adult shelter, youth shelter, an alcohol and drug outpatient program, day shelter, an employment program, a clean-up center, and many other programs.

  • 1986

    Mayor Bud Clark's 12-Point Plan on homelessness increased Portland's efforts to end homelessness, and Burnside Projects joined with the City and other providers to find solutions to homelessness.

  • 1991

    Burnside Projects changed its name to Transition Projects reflecting the agency’s work of helping people transition off the streets and out of homelessness. Transition Projects participated in Portland's shelter reconfiguration plan that resulted in the closing of one shelter run by the county, and the opening of two other shelters run by Transition Projects.

  • 1997

    Jean's Place, a 55-bed (currently 60-bed) short-term residential program for women opened. It was, and remains, a model program for transitioning women out of homelessness.

  • 1998

    The Clark Center, a 90-bed short-term residential program for men opened.

  • 2004

    Transition Projects joined with other community providers and the City of Portland to offer a response to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's mandate to create 10-year plans to end homelessness.

  • 2007

    The Clark Center Annex, 22 units of permanent supportive housing for men opened.

  • 2009

    Transition Projects commemorated 40 years of service to the community.

  • 2011

    Joining with partners - the City of Portland and Home Forward (formerly the Housing Authority of Portland) – the agency opened the landmark Bud Clark Commons, an innovative project that set new standards for providing shelter, day services and housing. The LEED Platinum building houses Transition Projects Day Center, Doreen’s Place, a 90-bed short-term residential program for men, the Transition Projects administrative offices plus Home Forward’s five floors of studio apartments which they managed and staff.

  • 2015

    With support from the City of Portland, Transition Projects opens the Sears Shelter in SW Portland. Formerly an armory, the building shelters up to 167 individuals comprised of women and couples. It is the first publicly-funded shelter in Portland accessible to couples. Transition Projects takes over managing the City’s Severe Weather Shelter program in partnership with the Imago Dei Community in SE Portland.

    The Day Center hits a daily record on a sunny day in November with 824 unique participants coming in for services. When originally opened in 2011, the Day Center was designed to support up to 400 individuals daily.

    As 2015 comes to a close, Transition Projects and its partner agencies celebrate housing 695 veterans during the year – 5 more than the community’s ambitious goal set at the start of 2015.

  • 2016

    With support from the City of Portland, Transition Projects opens the Peace Shelter in Downtown Portland to serve 100 men.

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