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Hillsboro's home for the homeless aimed to help families in need in Washington County.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Kemp Shuey, from Community Action, introduces members of the Home Builders Association to the recently remodeled Hillsboro Family Shelter on Friday, June 7. Individual families can stay at the Hillsboro Family Shelter for up to six weeks while they receive assistance from Community Action staff.After the completion of a three-phase remodeling project to expand and improve facilities at its 210 S.E. 12th Ave. location, the Hillsboro Family Shelter is more than just a place to stay — it's a home.

"On a greater scale, these changes will further enhance and help with visitors' sense of belonging," said Kemp Shuey, Director of Resource Development.

The shelter, operated by Community Action out of a 113-year-old house, has reopened this month after a temporary closure due to construction.

Major alterations completed by the Home Builders Foundation-HomeAid Portland include a full kitchen remodel, the addition of a basement bathroom and a new adjacent building to expand the emergency food pantry.

"At any one time we have about five families staying with us, so before [the remodel] it could get a little tight," Shuey said. "The families staying here right now have been able to cook and have their own set of cabinets to store food — it's much more warm and inviting."

Home Builders Foundation-HomeAid Portland chooses a partner agency to support renovation or construction of a local homeless shelter as a part of the annual NW Natural Street of Dreams. Community Action was selected in connection to the 2018 site, Vendage at the Reserve located in south Hillsboro, making the shelter renovations possible.

Builders awarded Community Action their leading gift for the project, along with more than $35,000 in donated materials and labor. Building captain Joe Robertson, owner of Hillsboro-based Shelter Solutions LLC, also donated his time as contractor while overseeing the project.

"PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - The shelter currently operates Washington Countys only food box program open during evenings and weekends. On Friday, members of the Home Builders Association toured a kitchen remodel at the Hillsboro Family Shelter.We were thrilled to partner with Shelter Solutions LLC to renovate the Hillsboro Family Shelter," said Brenda Ketah, Executive Director of Home Builders Foundation-HomeAid Portland. "Home Builders Foundation is thankful for the generosity of almost 30 trade partners who came together to complete this renovation."

Beyond basic repairs to the older home, improvements were also accomplished with shelter clients in mind. Instead of sharing one stove and limited counter space, guests can now use a larger island in additional to two designated cooking spaces.

"This project is transforming how we serve residents staying at the shelter, and clients who rely on us for other services like the food pantry," said Shelter Coordinator Corie Jensen.

An entirely new building was also built adjacent to the shelter to serve as a food pantry. Formerly housed in the basement, the new pantry was designed with more storage capacity and improved accessibility.

"Last year we provided 605 food boxes from our emergency food box program," Shuey said. "It's hard to project how much that will increase with our new capacity, but we're hoping to increase the quality and amount of food we can provide individual families as well."

Wrapping up construction was the addition of a new basement bathroom, which will serve the Children's Program and allow kids to use the restroom without having to travel up and down two flights of stairs like they did before.

Now the shelter, and the 40-plus families it serves each year, can function in a more streamlined, comfortable fashion.

"During their six-week stay, families can now feel seen and their humanity can be recognized to an even greater extent because of all these positive changes," Shuey said.

According to a Community Action news release, additional support for the project came from the Baker Family/Baker Rock Resources Fund of the Hillsboro Community Foundation and the Richard B. Siegel Foundation.



By Shelby Cokeley
Reporter, Hillsboro Tribune and Forest Grove News-Times
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