MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OR (KPTV) - Severe weather shelters are opening across Portland Monday night as temperatures start to drop.
That means 300 extra shelter beds will be available for anyone who needs a warm and dry place to sleep.
Transition Projects will be opening the additional shelter space in three locations across Portland and Gresham. The locations include Bud Clark Commons (650 NW Irving, Portland), Imago Dei (1302 SE Ankeny, Portland) and Sunrise Center (18901 E. Burnside, Gresham). The locations are expected to open around 8:00 or 8:30 p.m. Monday evening.
“It’s a lot of work during the day [to get ready]," Stacy Borke, senior director of programs for Transition Projects, said. "We’re really prepared, but that day-of activation – we are getting staffed up. We’re moving supplies, making sure we have blankets, making sure we have cold weather gear.”
Borke says extra staff members are coming in to take shifts at the shelters to ensure safety and that the needs of people are being met.
In addition, outreach workers will be going out into the cold to try and reach as many people as possible.
“They’re making sure they’re covering as much of the county as they can, getting people cold weather gear, making sure people have coats and blankets, [that they] know where the shelters are and know how to get inside,” Borke said.
According to the Joint Office of Homeless Services, the 300 additional beds bring the total number of publicly-funded shelter beds for the evening to nearly 2,000 across Multnomah County.
Several local outreach providers still need things like thick socks and waterproof gear.
If you’d like to help, you can find donation wish lists for specific organizations here: www.211info.org/donations.
“It’s so important because once it starts raining, it’s really hard to get anything dry, and putting on wet socks and wet shoes just exacerbates every health concern that someone has,” Borke said.
A message about the severe-weather shelters has also been sent out to the entire Portland Police Bureau. Officers will be working in partnership with 2-1-1 to offer courtesy rides to people in need.
If you need a ride to a shelter or know someone who does, call 2-1-1 to coordinate.
“We don’t want anyone to have to sleep outside, so if transportation’s a barrier to someone getting inside, for the most part we’re going to figure out how to get them inside,” Borke said.
2-1-1 is also a great tool for neighbors and community members. If you see someone sleeping outside who may need services, you can call on their behalf.
For now, the severe weather shelters will only be open Monday night. The decision about whether to keep them open overnight throughout the week will be made on a day-by-day basis depending on weather conditions.
To learn more, visit the Multnomah County website.
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