With three nights of possible snow and dismal weather looming, the Joint Office of Homeless Services is opening at least three no-turn-away shelters in Portland tonight.
The Joint Office says its contractor, Transition Projects will make around 2,000 total beds available tonight, including 1,400 that are already open throughout the year. The beds are publicly funded.
The extra shelters tonight are dispersed throughout the Portland metro area:
· Bud Clark Commons (650 NW Irving)
· Imago Dei (1302 SE Ankeny)
· Sunrise Center (18901 E Burnside)
Denis Theriault, a spokesman for the Joint Office, said this is the second weather event this season that has prompted the need for extra shelter space, the first being around the Thanksgiving holiday. He said if for some reason all of the above sites get filled, more community centers are on standby.
Theriault said the elements can pose a big threat to the city's houseless population each winter season.
"The reality is people can die of exposure even when it's not freezing outside, even when it's 50 degrees out and someone's damp or not well for other reasons," Theriault said. "That's why we don't turn anyone away from the shelters."
According to a Multnomah County Domicile Unknown report, 92 houseless people died in 2018. This is the highest figure the county has seen since they started producing the report.
If someone is inquiring about a shelter or needs help with transportation, they can call 211. To learn more about how to donate, citizens can visit 211info.org/donations.