Our Story

For over 55 years, Transition Projects has provided life-saving and life-changing services for people experiencing homelessness in Portland, Oregon.

Transition Projects, a leader in transitioning people from homelessness and living on the streets into housing in Portland, Oregon, operates and manages ten 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 caseworkers, healthcare, mentorship, and housing. 

Our Mission

Helping people transition from homelessness to housing

Our Vision

A just community in which everyone has access to a safe, affordable home

Our Values

We seek to: welcome all, as they are; balance patience and persistence; improve continually; collaborate willingly; act transparently; adapt creatively and problem-solve; and work relentlessly to counter inequities.

Our Core Beliefs

We believe that: housing is a human right; everyone should have access to shelter, food, and safety; people are experts in their own lives and best able to determine their needs; homelessness and the systems driving homelessness create deep personal and collective trauma; and to end homelessness, the community will need to address its drivers, including economic inequality, institutional racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of discrimination.

Our History

Since 1969, Transition Projects has been a place where people with nowhere to go can find support. With five decades of experience providing shelter, housing and supportive services for very low-income people, we are recognized across the region for our work with veterans, women, people with disabilities, and other highly vulnerable groups. In 2018 alone, more than 1,100 formerly homeless people found safe, affordable housing in the four-county area with our agency’s support. We’ve come a long way in 55 years!


Transition Projects story began on November 1, 1969, when a young priest, Reverend Gilbert N. Lulay, leased a hotel on the corner of NW 2nd and Couch in Portland’s Old Town to house homeless men.

In March of 1970, Rev. Lulay worked with a consortium of 13 churches to incorporate Burnside Projects. In 1974, Burnside Projects hired its first paid staff. Over the next decade, the agency operated an adult shelter and a youth shelter, an alcohol & drug outpatient program, a day shelter, an employment program, and a hygiene center, among other services.

In March of 1987, Burnside Projects opened a new headquarters at 435 NW Glisan. The site included a men’s shelter, administrative offices, and a multiservice center that centralized programs people previously sought throughout the city. 1990 marked the separation of men’s and women’s services – first by a curtain, next by a wall.


Though helping someone end their homelessness isn’t easy, we see success every day.