Portland charity turning vegan strip club into homeless shelter - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland charity turning vegan strip club into homeless shelter

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The property at 16015 Southeast Stark Street is a unique building for sure. It used to be home to the Woodshed Restaurant, and then the Black Cauldron, a vegan strip club.

But Thursday morning, the Multnomah County commissioners approved a $300,000 loan to help Human Solutions, a charity working with homeless and low-income families, buy the property for a family shelter.

A seven-month search for an emergency family shelter space led Human Solutions to the building that used to house the vegan strip club.

The non-profit's executive director Andy Miller saw the space his second day on the job.

“My impression was that it literally looked they had completed their business activities one night and put a padlock on the next morning,” he explained. “I will say, from a construction perspective, there are some decent bones in there.”

Human Solutions staffers looked past the murals on the walls and the accessories left behind to find a space big enough for a family shelter to serve 130 adults and kids.

The stages and seating will be cleared out of the main room to make room for bunk beds at night and meals in the day.

They're also excited about the ADA compliant bathrooms, the commercial kitchen and an outdoor patio that's perfect for a kids' play area.

“It is a former strip club. There's no bones about it. It is what it was,” Miller said. “What I think we're really excited about is what it will be like inside in five months when we're done with the renovations. It'll be a warm, bright well lit space for kids and families who are experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County.”

Some of the people living nearby said the shelter is a good idea, and will be a change in the area.

“We have a strip club right over there and down the road. Four bars, every corner,” neighbor Donny Lund explained. “This will be good for the neighborhood.”

Miller said the shelter will provide much needed help, as the lack of affordable housing forces families from their homes.

“It's been very well documented that we're in a housing crisis in Multnomah County,” he said. “We believe we've been in that crisis for some time.”

In addition to the loan for the county, a $700,000 Housing Development Community loan will cover the rest of the purchase price and a county grant will pay for the renovations.

Human Solutions is not doing too much work to the building exterior, instead using most of it inside. They hope to complete the project by February.

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