Public gets first look inside Hansen Building homeless shelter - KPTV - FOX 12

Public gets first look inside Hansen Building homeless shelter

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A week after opening its doors, the Hansen Building is already providing beds for 186 homeless people in Portland. (KPTV) A week after opening its doors, the Hansen Building is already providing beds for 186 homeless people in Portland. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Friday marked one week since the Hansen Building started accepting residents from other shelters.

It is already the home for 34 men, 80 single females, and 38 couples.

The accommodations may not be luxurious, but they are in demand. When asked about the number of calls the facility has received asking about beds, Manager Dana Greenwald said the answer was “too many to count.”

The facility is the only Portland shelter that's open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Some of the space at the Hansen Building is reserved for those camped on the Springwater Trail, while many who have already moved in are from the Peace Shelter downtown, which closed last week.

However, only about 20 of the roughly 100 men who lived at Peace Shelter made the cut, something that was upsetting to some residents.

"As a two-time veteran of Vietnam, we were always told that you don't leave anybody behind,” Rick Boyd, who made the cut and is living in the Hansen Building, said. “We left guys behind."   

The Hansen Building gave priority to women, children, older men and veterans, but many others were shut out.

“Some of those men I've spoken with have lost all of their personal possessions now that they're out on the street,” Boyd said. “They've given up hope.”

While the shelter will eventually provide services to help residents find permanent housing, people living here now say the cycle of uncertainty is almost impossible to escape.

“If you go on a list you're number 400, if you go on a housing list, it's a three to five-year wait,” Boyd explained. “And then, can you even find something affordable, can you find a landlord that's willing to accept a voucher?”

The staff at the Hansen Building admits it's a work in progress, but they're asking everyone, including concerned neighbors, to be patient.

“We're going to do what we can to dispel any myth, and just be as supportive as we can to the community so we can help support our guests here.

Many people living in the surrounding neighborhood are furious the shelter was even opened, citing concerns about safety with schools nearby.

The staff said residents must follow strict rules, though, and the neighbors’ concerns are being addressed.

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