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COVID-19 Risk Level for Multnomah County: High Risk

City of Portland and Multnomah County open 365 COVID-safe winter shelter beds, exceeding Mayor's goal of 300

Press release

Goal exceeded with the opening of Greyhound shelter and installation of 100 Pallet shelter sleeping pods

Published

As of this week, the City of Portland and Multnomah County have successfully opened 365 new shelter beds to meet the growing homelessness crisis. This exceeds a key goal of adding 300 new shelter beds for the winter season, in keeping with the directive Mayor Wheeler delivered to Joint Office of Homeless Service and the Portland Housing Bureau in August.

Exceeding the City’s shelter capacity goals was made possible in part by the recent opening of the Downtown Winter Shelter at the former Greyhound station in Old Town and the addition of 100 new heated shelter pods at the City’s three emergency outdoor shelters. The City of Portland and Multnomah County worked collaboratively to create the new shelter spaces.

“I am glad to know that we are ahead of Mayor Wheeler’s commitment to provide 300 beds to those who need it. It’s no secret that we face a homelessness crisis that has been made far worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding economic hardships,” said Commissioner Dan Ryan.  “We still have a lot of work to do to help those who are suffering on our streets, but exceeding this goal shows that we are making real progress.”

The Joint Office of Homeless Services has worked diligently to quickly open and staff three temporary winter shelters to serve as safe, warm, 24-hour spaces this winter. These shelters are managed by nonprofit partners Do Good Multnomah and Transition Projects. Street outreach teams, including the Navigation Team, have worked to identify and refer individuals living in several of the City’s most heavily impacted encampments to the newly available beds at the Charles Jordan Community Center, Mt. Scott Community Center, and former Greyhound Station.

“Thank you to the Joint Office, Multnomah County, the Portland Housing Bureau and our nonprofit partners for coming together to find creative solutions to keep people safe, warm and sheltered this winter and spring,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said. “The 365 additional shelter spaces we’re offering provide compassionate services and safe shelter to residents who are experiencing homelessness.”

The newly installed Pallet sleeping pods have replaced tents at the City’s emergency outdoor shelters, providing heated, insulated spaces for residents to shelter. The 100 64-square-foot Pallet shelters acquired by the Joint Office of Homeless Services this year can be assembled and disassembled in less than an hour and have an expected life span of 5-10 years. Right 2 Dream Too and Do Good Multnomah are among the organizations that manage the emergency outdoor shelters.

In addition to the 365 additional shelter spaces, Severe Weather Shelters will open when there is ice and/or snow accumulation or when the temperature hits 25 degrees or lower. These shelters rely on community volunteers. To volunteer, you can attend a virtual orientation held by Transition Projects. Learn more and sign up at https://www.tprojects.org/how-help-volunteer/cold-weather-support.

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