PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Bybee Lakes Hope Center will get an emergency infusion of $1.5 million to continue operating 175 shelter beds following a unanimous vote from Multnomah County commissioners.

The grant will keep the center operating through the end of the year.

In a press release right after the vote, the commissioners this funding provides “a stopgap that immediately preserves” the beds and “lays the groundwork for a potential longer-term partnership.”

The money comes from the county’s contigency funding and will help fund Bybee Lakes operator, Helping Hands Re-entry Outreach Centers, through the 2023 calendar year.

In a statement, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson said she was “grateful” the commission was able to move this funding forward.

“I have always believed there is a place for a diversity of shelter resources. From here, I look forward to working with the Bybee Lakes Hope Center leadership to assess the organization’s financial and operational situation with the hope that together we can continue supporting those living unsheltered in our community,” Pederson said.

Helping Hands CEO Mike Davis said they were “thankful that the Chair and commissioners were able to come together and take action with a plan for immediate funding to keep the doors of Bybee Lakes Hope Center open. We look forward to this being the beginning of a long-term partnership.”

As part of the deal, Multnomah County officials said Helping Hands will maintain at least 175 beds with high occupancy and make no other “population, programmatic or operational changes.” They must also provide data to Multnomah County.

The North Portland shelter — formerly the unused Wapato Jail — opened in 2020.

Up until now, it’s been funded by private donors but donations have dried up. Donors don’t want to keep paying for the shelter when there are millions of taxpayer dollars available from a metro area tax.

Bybee Lakes officials asked for $5 million. Multnomah County initially offered just under $1 million. County commissioners voted Thursday on where to spend the millions of dollars collected from the Metro Supportive Housing Tax.

COURTESY KNOT DESIGN – A rendering of the planned redesign of the entrance of the former Multnomah County Wapato jail

The shelter could have closed by this weekend if commissioners did not approve funding.

KOIN 6 News will have more information later in the day.