Multnomah County Launches Common Application Program To Increase Accessibility To Community Services

By The Portland Medium

Multnomah County has partnered with FORWARD, a trusted program administration partner for local governments, to launch the Common Application Program, aimed at improving access to community programs for residents. This initiative allows residents to apply for up to 20 different programs through a single, convenient application process.

Originally known as the East Multnomah Common Application Pilot Program, this initiative began in January 2023. The pilot allowed residents to apply for up to six programs with one application and stemmed from a grassroots movement led by community groups and Commissioner Lori Stegmann’s office to build climate resilience in East Multnomah County.

Today, the expanded Multnomah County Common Application Program offers residents across the county the ability to apply for up to 20 programs through one application. Designed with accessibility as a priority, the program includes call center support and applications in multiple languages.

“We’ve all seen people in need, and it’s difficult to know how to best serve them. I think one of the best things we can do is provide people access to the resources that already exist,” said Commissioner Stegmann. “Whether it’s preventing hunger, keeping warm in the winter, accessing medical care, or keeping the lights on, there is help available. But you shouldn’t have to have a secret code to access these resources. Our goal for the Common Application was to remove barriers and give everyone the opportunity to have their basic needs met in a trauma-informed way.”

Eligible programs through the common application serve immigrant communities, young families, and low-income seniors. They include:

• Healthy Families-Parenting Support

• Women, Infant, Child (WIC)

• Healthy Birth Initiative

• Nurse Family Partnership

• Big Brother Big Sister

• Easterseals Connecting Communities

• Services with Children with I/DD

• Meals on Wheels

• Store to Door

• Veterans’ Services

• Wraparound

• Eviction Defense Project

• Reach CDC

• Multnomah County Weatherization Program

• Wood Stove Replacement Program

• NW Natural Bill Discount Program

• PGE Income-Qualified Bill Discount Program

• Portland Water Bureau Bill Assistance

• Pacific Power Low Income Discount Program

Multnomah County has approved FORWARD as the program administrator to assist with community outreach, application support, and eligibility screening. This collaboration ensures that residents can access and learn about services in a streamlined manner. Applicants can expect to:

• Apply for programs through FORWARD’s online application, available in 68 languages.

• Access application support in multiple languages via phone, text, and email.

• Present proof of residency in Multnomah County.

• Submit proof of income, if needed.

• Submit proof of utility bills, if needed.

• Present a copy of photo ID.

“At FORWARD, we are driven by the mission of empowering communities through innovative solutions,” said Adnan Mahmud, CEO of FORWARD Platform. “The Common Application Program exemplifies this commitment by revolutionizing access to vital resources. By collaborating with Multnomah County, we’ve been able to create an application process that simplifies the bureaucracy of applying to multiple community programs, while also fostering a sense of belonging and dignity for every resident.”

For additional community programs not currently included in the Multnomah County Common Application, please visit or call 211.