PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Another micro-shelter village for the homeless is in the works in Salem — this one focusing on helping young adults in need.

This week, Salem City Council voted to use $750,000 in state sheltering grant money to fund a new microshelter village in south Salem, joining one already under construction near the downtown area.

“Like many other communities, Salem has a number of challenges and areas of need for our community,” said Gretchen Bennett, with the City of Salem.

One of those needs they’re focusing on is transitional housing for the homeless, including “microshelter villages.” This comes after a 2021 pilot program at the Oregon State Fairgrounds through non-profit Church at the Park where in the first two months, they saw two-thirds of households move into more permanent housing and more than half of adults finding income.

“You’re able to sleep there, have help with laundry, food, case management, connections to resources and services,” said Bennett.

Back in January, Salem City Council approved plans for three villages to be built and this week, they allocated $750,000 in state money to fund one along Southeast Turner Road near the airport. This specific village will serve young adults ages 18-24. Construction on another village is already underway on Northeast Center Street near downtown Salem.

“Electric services, for example, were added on Monday and additional electrical services will be added at that location,” said Bennett. 

The Center Street village will be made up of 40 micro shelters for up to 80 people, while Turner Road’s village will accommodate 40 people. The city says they have one of the highest rates of people who are chronically homeless and transitional housing is crucial.

“That’s so necessary to be able to come from a park or a sidewalk and into a next step, whatever that might look like for them,” said Bennett. 

In the last few years, the city has also acquired two hotels to be repurposed into unsheltered housing, partner organizations have expanded the men’s mission and women’s shelter, and now, they’re launching a livability services team for outreach to those on the streets — all investments they’re calling a success. As for future microshelter villages, that will be contingent on operating funds and finding the right locations.

The first micro-shelter village located along Center Street near downtown Salem is expected to be finished in a few weeks, while officially opening for services in mid to late September. An official timeline for the Turner Road location is not yet available.