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It's expected to reopen in August, providing a more permanent form of affordable housing for the homeless.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The former Aloha Quality Inn has been operating as a temporary-stay shelter for homeless people since last spring. It's closing in April for renovations and will reopen in the summer as a provider of more permanent affordable housing. The Aloha Bridge Shelter, which has operated as a temporary-stay homeless shelter since last spring, is under renovation to become a type of permanent housing geared toward helping residents transition out of poverty and homelessness.

Washington County purchased the former Aloha Quality Inn, 3333 S.W. 198th Ave., back in January 2021 for $5.65 million. While it was initially purchased for use as permanent supportive housing, it's mainly operated as a temporary bridge shelter — a low-barrier place for people without a home to stay for a few months while they receive supportive services for permanent housing.

Just like the Hillsboro Bridge Shelter in the former Econo Lodge on 10th Avenue, the Aloha Bridge Shelter is managed by local nonprofit Greater Good Northwest. Once the site finishes transitioning, services there will be staffed by Community Partners for Affordable Housing, Sequoia Mental Health Services, and Bienestar.

Renovations on half of the hotel began back in December, but the whole shelter is closing on April 4 while renovations are completed on the rest of the site. It's expected to reopen later in the summer, changing instead to a provider of permanent supportive housing rather than temporary shelter stays.

"This apartment building will be the first to provide permanent supportive housing in the region with housing bond funding with 54 total apartments," said Emily Roots, spokesperson for Washington County Housing Services.

The new affordable apartments will also provide voluntary services that assist with housing relocation, employment, and other services. The county estimates the cost of renovations at $2.5 million, with another $850,000 in due diligence and development costs.

The bulk of the project funding relies on nearly $8.5 million in Metro housing bond funds, with the remainder coming from a combination of housing-dedicated county funding and state energy rebates offered to certain multifamily housing projects.

The Hillsboro shelter, also set up last year by the Washington County government, will eventually end its shelter operations and changing to permanent housing, as well. Instead, other kinds of shelters are being eyed all over the county, part of Washington County's efforts to address the homeless crisis.

Shelters can be low-barrier temporary stay shelters like the bridge shelters in Aloha and Hillsboro, or they can be tent or RV camping pods that provide on-site services, as well as congregate and non-congregate living shelters that offer specialized services to vulnerable populations — like those with mental health issues or a history of substance abuse. PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - The former Quality Inn in Aloha is now owned by the county and has been operating as a homeless shelter since last spring. It's split into two wings, one of which has had ongoing renovations since December. Now, the other wing is due for renovations and the site will close starting in early April.

In general, officials say that the temporary, seasonal shelters that account for the bulk of Washington County's options are not cutting it. Unhoused people need year-round support and permanently funded services.

"Shelters act as a landing point for participants to start their journey, especially for those currently living in encampments by creeks or other places that aren't really meant for human habitation," said Jeremy Toevs, executive director of Open Door HousingWorks in western Washington County, who spoke during a community meeting last week on where new shelters should be erected. "We can start engaging them and talking to them on their path to independence.

In addition to the 2018 Metro housing bond that voters approved to raise millions for building more affordable housing units, the regional supportive housing services measure that Metro voters backed in 2020 dedicated money toward new shelters and the on-site services they will offer.

It's a combination of these two funding sources that will pay for the bulk of Washington County's new affordable housing units and homeless shelters.

County officials expect that the Aloha shelter will reopen as permanent supportive housing in August.

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