Bybee Lakes Hope Shelter expands, doubles capacity

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 7:35 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Formally a jail that never opened, the Bybee Lakes Hope Center on Wednesday unveiled its renovations and expansion project to open more shelter beds and programming for people experiencing homelessness.

“Today we now have 318 beds open for this community,” said founder and CEO Alan Evans before leading a tour of the renovations.

“People said it was impossible when we first came to this community,” Evans said.

“We overcame all the obstacles,” he added.

Built decades ago, the building in north Portland’s industrial area spent most of its life completely empty. The failed jail that never opened until a year-and-a-half ago when the lights finally came on with a new purpose: providing shelter beds for homeless people along with programs to get them back on their feet and on to independence in society.

The new dorm wings have more than doubled the center’s capacity. The facility now has a kitchen, dining room, laundry rooms and more services are expected to soon open.

“Can you imagine being able to come in, get a meal, get a shower, get a haircut, come over and get a full medical evaluation?” Evans asked. “That’s something that’s been missing for a long time.”

The center serves as both a short-term emergency shelter and as a life-skills training and reintegration program for qualified residents.

“A majority of the people who have been through our re-entry program have moved into stable housing in the community,” Evans said.

The remodel wouldn’t have been possible without a $1.2 million grant from United Way of the Columbia Willamette (UWCW).

It was pretty impressive to see the rigor in their programs, and how they were approaching this work and it was a space where we felt there was a gap,” said UWCW President and CEO, Cindy Adams.

So far, the homeless center has been privately funded entirely, without a dime from the city, county or state.

It’s something Evans said he hopes will change. The Bybee Lakes Hope Center has applied for some funding and is waiting on a response.

“At the end of the day, this cannot work without public and private partnership, it just can’t,” Evans said.

For more information on other new projects and programs in store for the center, click here.