Multnomah County and Portland leaders said Oct. 30 they do not have enough emergency winter shelter space due to physical distancing requirements during the pandemic.
Officials are asking community members for ideas about large spaces that can be used as cold and severe weather shelters for people experiencing homelessness.
"As it stands right now, because of COVID-19, we cannot guarantee that everyone who needs it can have shelter on the worst nights of the year," Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury said Oct. 30 in a news conference, "but that can change."
Marc Jolin, director of the Joint Office of Homeless Services, said the county has been able to sustain all of its year-round shelter capacity, about 1,400 beds, through new physically distanced shelter spaces and motel shelters. The office also is in the process of opening up 275 shelter beds that will be open 24 hours a day during the winter.
There is still a need for specific additional shelter beds during severe weather events.
Kafoury said the county is looking to secure at least 300 additional shelter beds as the weather gets colder.
Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their full story can be found here.
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