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Questions from the community: Has the City considered alternative shelters for people experiencing homelessness?

Blog post

Get answers to your questions about Portland's Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program.

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Updated

Any given night, some 2,000 people sleep unsheltered in Portland – posing health and safety risks for those experiencing homelessness and the surrounding community. 

While the City of Portland and Multnomah County work on long-term solutions, the Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Program helps manage the challenges associated with encampments. The program assesses campsites reported by community members, offers resources to camp residents, helps them clean up their campsites, and removes the highest-risk sites when necessary. 

Understandably, community members have a lot of questions about the Impact Reduction Program. Coordinator Jonny Lewis provides answers through the “Questions from the community” blog.  

Question: Has the City considered any forms of alternative shelter for people experiencing homelessness? If so, what actions has it taken? 

Yes, Portland has a few models of alternative shelters. We also opened three new temporary outdoor emergency shelters in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on for a list of current alternative shelter options and information about how the City is working to expand those options for people outside. 

If you are actively seeking shelter or looking for information on behalf of a community member, please call 2-1-1. This community service line has the most up-to-date information about available shelter beds. 

Dignity Village: Tiny house community located on City property in North Portland off NE Sunderland Ave. and NE 33rd Dr., providing year-round shelter for up to 60 people every night.

Right to Dream Too: Self-managed “Rest Area” on City property for people experiencing homelessness. Members live in tiny houses and provide services to guests/non-members. Non-members are allowed to stay for up to 12 hours to rest. 

Kenton Women’s Village: Tiny house village consisting of 14 sleeping pods on City property in North Portland near N Columbia Blvd and N Argyle St. This village is managed in partnership with Catholic Charities. 

Hazelnut Grove: This village is in the process of moving to the St. John’s neighborhood to become St. John’s Village. It will be managed by Do Good Multnomah. 

Outdoor emergency shelters: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Portland created three temporary outdoor emergency shelters to provide a safe and stable space for people experiencing homelessness to shelter in place. Two are located within the Central Eastside Industrial District, and the third is located in Northwest Portland. Each shelter provides a tent and pallet with access to food and water and can host up to 72 people at each location.

Safe parking allowances: The City of Portland recognizes the allowances for religious institutions to host up to three vehicles for car camping on their property every night. Our program developed a code guide to explain this allowance. 

Shelter to Housing Continuum Project: The City of Portland has convened the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the Bureau of Development Services, the Portland Housing Bureau, the City/County Joint Office of Homeless Services and many other City bureaus to review and update City regulations to better address the homelessness crisis. Part of this review includes creating allowances for temporary outdoor emergency shelters and alternative shelters, increasing allowances for institutions to provide shelter and services, and adjusting the siting regulations for temporary housing and shelters.  

Contact

Jonny Lewis

Homelessness and Urban Camping Impact Reduction Coordinator