In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Portland and Multnomah County’s joint shelter system is trying a litany of responses: opening new shelters to provide enough space for social distancing, sending people to hotels when they show symptoms, and preparing places for people to recover if diagnosed with the virus.
Once all of that is up and running, it will cost the Joint Office of Homeless Services an estimated $3.5 million a month.
“Costs include staffing and operations costs, including meals, laundry and supplies,” says Denis Theriault, a spokesman for the joint office. “The social distancing sites are/will be in public buildings where we aren’t paying for use of the space. Motel/recuperative settings include fees to use the space.”
Existing shelters could hold about 1,400 people. None of these changes adds more beds for people who may be on the street.
Here’s the breakdown from the joint office:
Social distancing shelter sites (not new capacity; spreading current beds)
Charles Jordan (120 beds)
Oregon Convention Center (120 beds)
East Portland Community Center (75 beds)
4th site (to be announced soon) (60 beds)
Medically vulnerable motel shelters plus recuperative care site for people who test positive but won’t be able to stay at a hospital to recover
Jupiter Hotel (81 rooms)
Site to be announced soon (40 rooms)
Recuperative site (to be announced) (120 rooms) Cost: $1.45 million/month
Outreach (supplies for social distancing, survival, and education/information intended to prevent/mitigate the spread of disease): $140,000/month
System support (Direct allocations to providers for supplies and staffing related to emergency response, as well as funding to help providers facilitate the emergency shelter expansion): $220,000/month
TOTAL: $3.533 million/month