Largest homeless family shelter closed by leaky roof
Multnomah County and nonprofit Human Solutions are shutting down the largest homeless family shelter in the area because of safety concerns with the building.
It is unclear when or even whether the shelter will reopen.
The shelter is located in a renovated strip club and restaurant at 16015 S.E. Stark St. It opened in February 2016 and was expected to operate for six years and then be replaced by affordable housing.
Instead, a leaky roof caused a partial ceiling collapse Wednesday, prompting the decision to suspend operations there. Human Solution, which operates the shelter, will assess the building to determine its viability.
The decision was announced Thursday morning by Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Lori Stegmann, who represents the district where the selter is located.
The Multnomah County Commission agreed in October 2015 to help Human Solutions purchase and renovate the building as a temporary home for the county's first year-round 24-hour family shelter., through its Department of County Human Services, invested nearly $700,000 in the shelter, including a $300,000 loan toward Human Solutions' down payment and nearly $400,000 for renovations.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown toured the shelter in late December. She held a press conference there to announce she would seek $5 million in additional funding for homeless families from the Oregon Legislature, including $2.5 million for those in Multnomah County.
The 100 children and adults staying in the shelter are being relocated to the Freedom Foursquare Church, which is across the street. It is often used for shelter during severe weather. Multnomah County's emergency management department assisted the move by providing additional mats and blankets.
Kafoury also called for a general review of shelter facilities in the family system managed by the city-county Joint Office of Homeless Services. That review will join ongoing planning around the next steps for the shelter system after two years of record capacity growth.