PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The city of Hillsboro reported that about 60% of Oregonians who are unhoused are also living unsheltered — one of the highest rates across the United States.
To mitigate this issue in the midst of the Portland metro area’s burgeoning housing crisis, new Safe Rest Pods in Hillsboro were recently opened.
According to a release from Washington County, the pods located on the corner of Southwest 17th Avenue and Tualatin Valley Highway recently opened on Friday, Oct. 21. The new space will serve between 30 and 40 people facing homelessness.
Nonprofit agency Open Door HousingWorks, previously known as the Housing Services of Oregon, is managing the temporary shelter. In addition to a personal living space, the Conestoga-Hut-style pods equip guests with showers, internet connection and pet-relief stations.
“Our organization has taken a boots-on-the-ground approach to support our most vulnerable community members with outreach workers, housing case managers, an active day center, winter shelter operations and now operations for the Safe Rest Pods,” Open Door HousingWorks Director Jeremy Toevs said. “We see the need every day and know that this is going to make a huge difference in the lives of many of the people we support.”
Furthermore, the agency will provide guests with mental health counseling, employment assistance and community resources to find permanent housing. Staff members who are experienced in trauma-informed care will also be on the premises 24/7.
The Safe Rest Pods are a temporary option while the city of Hillsboro develops a year-round shelter to meet the needs of the local houseless community. The year-round shelter, funded by the Washington County allocation of the Supportive Housing Services, is projected to be open by the winter of 2023.
“For just over 30 people these pods open at a critical time, providing shelter from the elements before winter, and an opportunity to move towards permanent housing — the solution to homelessness,” Washington County Chair Kathryn Harrington said.
Harrington added that the county has already stood up over 100 year-round shelter beds, with additional temporary and winter options coming online soon.
“The next step is giving these community members every opportunity to connect to permanent housing,” she said.
The Safe Rest Pods are now open and will be until March 2023.