PORTLAND, Ore. (PORTLAND TRIBUNE) — Another 75 children and parents will have somewhere warm to sleep this winter after a Portland developer donated a storefront for use as a seasonal family shelter.
The building, located at 1150 NW 17th Ave., will open its doors Monday, Dec. 3 through April 30, with nighttime accommodations available daily between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.
The shelter will be funded by the Multnomah County Joint Office of Homeless Services and operated by Portland Homeless Family Solutions. Last year, this shelter was hosted a few blocks away at Congregation Beth Israel, who will remain a lead volunteer partner.
Project^ developer Tom Cody donated the building.
“I am optimistic that by working together, the business community and the public sector can continue to make meaningful progress in addressing homelessness,” said Cody, who has opened winter shelters in his projects before. “With many contributing, outcomes can be immediate and impactful. I hope we can continue to build on these kinds of partnerships.”
County officials say the only way to access the shelter service is by calling 2-1-1 and scheduling an intake interview. Staff will serve guests a hot dinner and breakfast each day, and will also provide play spaces, activities for children and an “awake room” for night owls. Guests who are accepted into the shelter can store belongings there and keep service animals.
“It is our collective responsibility to take care of our most vulnerable neighbors. This should happen all year, but particularly when it’s cold outside,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “No one seeking a warm, safe place to sleep should be turned away.”
Portland Homeless Family Solutions will also operate a day center at Southwest 13th Avenue and Salmon Street with help from First Unitarian Church. That location will offer hot showers, laundry and space to socialize. Families will be connected with social services like rental assistance.
Officials say no one will be lining up outside the shelter or having to cart around their belongings.
The opening — which complements another shelter on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard — comes just as forecasts are predicting chilly overnight temperatures.
And while the county has pledged to open hundreds of overnight beds this winter, there are already 100 families stuck on a waitlist for shelter services. Most are currently sleeping on the streets or in cars.
“These are kids who don’t have anywhere to do their homework, brush their teeth, or read bedtime stories,” said Brandi Tuck, executive director of Portland Homeless Family Solutions.
“When you’re a parent, you do everything you can to keep your children safe and warm. That’s no different for the families whose only place to care for their kids is a car,” added Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury.
Ready to help?
Portland Homeless Family Solutions hopes more volunteers will help staff the shelter or give donations.
“The items most needed are twin sheet sets, blankets, pillows, towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste, coats, diapers, and baby wipes,” according to a news release.
Local providers are also looking for more winter clothing, including shoes, thick socks, gloves and mittens, winter coats, sleeping bags, blankets, knit hats, tarps, hand warmers and rain ponchos. Water resistant or waterproof options are preferred. Visit this website for more information.