PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Since the River District Navigation Center opened under the Broadway Bridge in Northwest Portland nearly 2 years ago, about 500 homeless people have been housed there.
Typically, the navigation center can house about 100 people. But during the pandemic, the capacity was limited to 50. And while they have helped many people get the support they need to get into housing, there is still work to do.
With COVID capacity limits removed, more people will again be able to take shelter at the River District Navigation Center. On Thursday, Transition Projects leaders gave community members an update on its progress after 2 years.
Among the statistics they provided:
- 1 in 3 people accessing the program is 55-and-over
- 75% have a disabling condition
- 52% are chronically homeless
- 68% came from camps, sidewalks and cars
- 7% came from medical discharge
- 24% came from emergency shelters
- 10% came from an unstable housing situation
There are still challenges that remain, including helping the 2-out-of-3 people who don’t get into housing.
Some of those people go back to the streets, said Stacy Borke with Transition Projects. “And some people just disappear, they don’t come back.”
“Even before COVID came, we still have challenges with people putting out tents outside the navigation center, whether they came from there or know someone inside or not,” she said.
Duncan Anderson keeps an eye on tents that pop up outside the center and said the staff is always working on one of the other concerns from the neighborhood: If someone is asked to leave, where would they go?
“I would say as an organization, and RDNC is included here, is we’ve been working really hard as an organization to be much more intentional with those exits, right? So, unless someone is a major safety threat, we are trying to ask people exit in the morning so that we can help connect them to services that are actually open,” Borke said. “And if someone is a major safety threat or if they are a danger to themselves or others, we are calling for assistance and whether that’s project respond, non- emergency or 911.”