New homeless shelter opens at Mead Building downtown
Multnomah County has opened a new seasonal shelter for homeless men at downtown's Mead Building, 421 S.W. Fifth Ave., in the basement.
It will be operated by Transition Projects Inc., the county's largest homeless shelter provider, and have space to sleep up to 75 men, with priority to veterans, people over 55 years old and those with disabilities.
Planned to close in April, it operates daily from 7 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. and people have to make a reservation in order to stay, by calling ahead at 503-280-4700 or in person at Bud Clark Commons, 650 N.W. Irving St.
The county's Department of Community of Justice will use the site for its Breakfast Club program after the shelter closes in the mornings.
The city and county will also soon offer space for 35 people through March at the Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter, 30 S.W. 2nd Ave.
The Columbia Shelter at the former Shleifer Furniture building was scheduled to close this fall but will continue to operate until the spring. The building was offered up by Beam Development and Urban Development + Partners before they begin redevelopment. That site has space for 100 people. Officials said to prepare for winter, heaters and mobile restrooms with showers were added.
"Right now, on any given day, we have more shelter options in our community than ever before," said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury in a news release. "But we know we have to do even more when winter comes. Having these winter spaces ready, before severe weather hits, helps us keep our promise of never having to refuse someone in need when it does."
The county has added 650 year-round beds since 2015, in an effort to add more shelter to reduce the numbers of people sleeping on the streets.
The most recent Point-in-Time count of homeless people showed 4,177 people who met the official definition of homeless, with 1,668 people unsheltered or directly on the street. "It's our commitment to provide alternatives to sleeping on our streets, in our parks and under our bridges," Mayor Ted Wheeler said. "The 5th Avenue Shelter will provide a warm, dry place this winter for those who would otherwise be outside."
The city, county, city of Gresham and Home Forward initiative, called A Home for Everyone, reports that last year, 8,532 people accessed at least one night of emergency shelter, which is more than double the number of people who accessed shelter three years ago.