PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Salem continues to make progress on addressing its homeless and shelter crisis, this time made possible by private citizens and local builders.

Salem added 20 more tiny shelters to one of their sites on Portland Road, which gives 40 more people a safe place to stay.

At 61-years-old, Michelle Meredith has worked in construction her whole life.

“I had a stroke last year and it took me out of the ball field,” Meredith said.

Without work, she found herself without a home decades before she was ready to retire. She’s grateful for the small space to keep her safe.

Salem is also home for Cristina Young, who says she lost her way and hit rock bottom.

“I came from a camp at Wallace Park and had been there for a couple of weeks. It’s been hard, but then coming here, it’s a change. Very relaxing, actually,” Young explained.

Young is moving into one of the 20 new tiny shelters in Salem made possible from donations by a few hundred residents.

“We have people who sponsored five shelters. We have a gentleman who sponsored eight,” said Emil Graziani, a volunteer. “These are all private citizens.”

Volunteers collected $700,000 from the community, which is enough to build 150 more sturdy and mobile tiny shelters all built in Salem by a local tiny home company, Edomo.

“They came to us and they said, we want to do homeless shelters. So, we had a few meetings with them. We went over the specifics several times until we got the perfect plan and we came up with these compact livables,” Edomo CEO Sonya Wheeler said.

The nonprofit, Church at the Park, is now busy moving 40 more people in this week. Church at the Park Chief of Operations Josh Erickson said these shelters are proving to be a steppingstone to success.

“Our outreach team met this woman out in the parks, and within a month she moved into our shelter and now has her own place,” Erickson said.

Graziani added that “this is by no means the end here. This is the first step of moving further into the community and being productive and a contributing member of the community.”

Looking to the future, Young described what she’s hopeful for.

“To get back on the straight and narrow path that I was on beforehand. Instead of running amuck,” Young explained. “Getting a job, going to school, putting money in my pocket, and not spending it on drugs.”

In the last year, this model in Salem has moved 140 people off the streets and into permanent housing.

The city is working on developing three more similar sites.

According to the City of Salem, three sites have been approved by Council for the use of micro-sheltering – Center, Front and Turner.

The city also noted Marion County Court issued a stay on progress for the Center Street site. Per the city’s request, the order was amended for the city to support Church at the Park.

However, the city said because the site is under court review, “placement of guests and provision of services at the location are not permitted,” and is using its Portland Road site, available through August 31, 2022, in the meantime.

The city also noted for other possible shelter sites, more funding will be needed for the Front Street or Turner Road shelter locations.