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New homeless shelter in Southeast Portland to open Wednesday
UPDATE: On Nov. 16, A Home For Everyone and the Joint Office of Homeless Services will open a homeless facility in the Sellwood neighborhood for women and couples.
The only homeless shelter in Southeast Portlands Sellwood-Moreland neighborhood will open this week.
Called The Willamette Center, its located at 5120 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. The nearest shelter is a mens shelter, the Clark Center at 1431 S.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., two miles north.
The shelter will open tomorrow (Wednesday), though people have already begun to make reservations, according to Julie Sullivan-Springhetti, Multnomah County spokeswoman.
The year-round shelter, operating on a reservation system to avoid lining up outside, is taking reservations now by phone at 503-280-4700 or in person at Transition Projects Day Center, 650 N.W. Irving St.
Transition Projects, a Portland nonprofit that also operates the Hansen Shelter and other housing programs, is operating the facility.
The 120-bed shelter has a target population of women and couples age 18 and older, with priority for people 55 and older, those with disabilities and veterans.
Its funded by A Home For Everyone, a partnership between Portland, Multnomah County, the city of Gresham, Home Forward and other local nonprofits in an effort to end homelessness.
The program is a component of A Home For Everyones goal of adding 650 additional shelter beds by mid 2017.
The Willamette Center, operating 24-7, is one of the only shelters in the county available to couples.
Of the countys 11 non-emergency shelters for adults, five are exclusively for men, four for women with only the Hansen Shelter at 12240 N.E. Glisan St., offering space for men and women 18 and older.
Officials realized the need for a space where lovers can stick together.
Theyre (homeless individuals) not going to leave their spouse to go inside (a shelter), says Sullivan-Springhetti. This is one of the few places you can actually do that.
Sullivan-Springhetti says The Willamette Center will offer different programming from some of the other shelters. Part of the programming in there is to get people into permanent housing, she says.
She says officials discovered upon opening emergency shelters that a portion of those seeking a bed at night werent necessarily jobless many were people who have been priced out of the housing market.
They have jobs, but they cant make that rent and have lost their house temporarily and need some place to go until they can find something they can afford, Sullivan-Springhetti says.
Marc Jolin, director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services and A Home for Everyone, added that a shelter for couples has long been needed in the community.
It will provide critical safety off the streets, and by connecting people to essential services while they are there, we can make sure it is also the beginning of a rapid return to permanent housing and an end to their homelessness, he says.
Willamette Center details
Open to women and couples age 18 and older, with priority for people 55 and older, those with disabilities and veterans
Reservation system; all guests required to have reservation prior to arrival. Once a space is reserved, the guest may continue to use the space until they no longer need it
2 large sleeping rooms
Access to on-site resources
A space for coffee and tea, books, board games
Bathrooms, shower, laundry
Space to leave belongings during the day
Kitchen with light food and beverages
Onsite support services including housing, health and income resources
Staff will provide information, referral, and support
Trained pets allowed
No possession of alcohol, drugs or weapons
Volunteers and donations
Interactive shelter map: multco.us/joint-office-homeless-services/distribution-shelters