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Pandemic adds to the challenge of sheltering the houseless in Yamhill County as the temperatures plummet.

PMG FILE PHOTO - YCAP is playing a key role in keeping houseless individuals and families safe and warm during the frigid season.

Winter is here and Yamhill County Action Partnership (YCAP) is playing a key role in keeping houseless individuals and families safe and warm during the frigid season.

According to a Nov. 9 press release, YCAP is on the forefront of efforts to create a countywide winter shelter plan.

"YCAP is supporting a variety of sheltering initiatives this winter to expand the number of bed nights available in the county and help ensure that anyone seeking shelter can find it," the release said. "Through sub-granting of SHAP (State Health Access Funds), YCAP is helping two partner congregant shelters increase their number of bed nights this winter. These shelters will be available during inclement weather and will follow all CDC shelter guidelines.

"YCAP is continuing our police partnership program this winter which allows local police officers and sheriffs to issue immediate motel vouchers for one to three nights of shelter to persons they encounter after hours and on the weekends who are at risk of cold exposure or otherwise at risk of harm.

"Officers follow up with client information to YCAP for coordinated entry screening and ongoing shelter connection."

Outreach workers for the program will also visit locations such as hot meal sites and drop-in centers to provide assessments and shelter placements to houseless individuals in need. This is part of a larger coordination with hospitals, emergency rooms, care organizations and culture-specific organizations, all in an effort to shelter the houseless.

"Fortunately, due to generous support from federal, state, city, county and the Yamhill Coordinated Care Organization, YCAP is able to continue our successful Motel Shelter Program through March 2021," the release said. "YCAP also secured funding through Oregon Health Authority for additional winter motel shelter beds specifically for Black, indigenous and persons of color experiencing homelessness who are at greater risk from COVID-19.

"YCAP's Motel Shelter Program provides a shelter option to unsheltered, medically fragile persons who are at high risk of serious complications if exposed to COVID-19. The program is able to serve those who are wheelchair-bound or who have serious mobility issues as well as individuals who have mental health and trauma histories that can be barriers to placement in a mass shelter environment … Currently, the motel program has a 68% success rate for exiting individuals and families into safe, permanent housing — not only providing an immediate, safe shelter option, but an end to homelessness for the majority of participants, many of whom have experienced chronic homelessness for years."

YCAP's Point-In-Time homeless count in January identified 520 people who were either living in a shelter or on the streets. There are only 326 beds available for shelter in Yamhill County, according to YCAP, adding to the necessity for additional shelter space for houseless individuals.

This winter, thanks to YCAP and this program, that number is up to 400.

"This number does not include potential night-by-night placements that may be made by police and sheriff officers as needed throughout the winter," the release said. "By working together, we are making progress in closing the gap between the need in the community and the resources available to meet that need. We will continue to push toward our goal of increasing winter shelter capacity to ensure a bed is available for any person experiencing homelessness that seeks shelter from the cold."

People experiencing homelessness in Yamhill County can go online to YCAP's coordinated entry system at anydooryamhill.org, its Facebook page at facebook.com/YamhillCAP, or reach the organization by phone at 503-687-1494 for information or referral to a local shelter.


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