Multnomah County gets 3rd Project Turnkey transitional housing project
The Joint Office of Homeless Services received $3.45 million on Thursday to purchase and convert a local motel into transitional housing for individuals experiencing homelessness or on the verge of it.
The shelter will serve people of color, people who have high-risk health conditions, seniors and veterans. The shelter, which will be in the eastern part of the county, will provide housing services and other supportive resources including employment assistance, medical care and mental health care. The shelter will also provide guests with clothes, meals and showers.
“Using motels to provide specialized shelter for our neighbors most vulnerable to COVID-19 unquestionably saved lives during the pandemic,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “The support services and stability we can provide in motel-based shelters will be just as important as the pandemic eases.
Do Good Multnomah, a homeless services provider, will be operating the site through a contract with the joint office, which is a partnership between the county and the City of Portland. The joint office is already using the 43-room hotel, located at 18323 Southeast Stark Street in Gresham, as a high-risk COVID-19 shelter. Instead of shutting down the shelter as the pandemic winds down, this funding will allow it to continue operating.
The grant, combined with $1.5 million local funds, will allow the city-county office to purchase the hotel.
This is the third Project Turnkey site to receive funding in Multnomah County. Central City Concern received funding to purchase a 70-unit motel in east Portland for substance abuse recovery housing. And Rockwood CDC received funding for a 75-room motel in Gresham.
The three hotel housing projects in Multnomah County together provide 188 additional individual shelter or transitional housing units, providing relief to a slim portion of Multnomah County’s homeless population. The county has more than 4,000 people experiencing homelessness, according to the 2019 count of homeless individuals. Area experts say that number is likely much higher now, though an official count was not conducted in the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Overall, the state funded nearly 900 new beds in 19 properties across 13 counties in Oregon. Two of the properties are located in neighboring Washington County.
The city of Bend also received nearly $3 million on Thursday for the same purpose. Both the Bend and the Multnomah County grants were supported from additional Project Turnkey funding approved by the Oregon Legislature and signed by Gov. Kate Brown on June 25.
Nicole Hayden reports on homelessness for The Oregonian|OregonLive. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Nicole_A_Hayden.