09-19-2019  12:17 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
homeless sleeping bag
Multnomah County
Published: 08 February 2019

Forecasts showing significant snow accumulation, as well as sub-freezing temperatures, mean severe weather shelters will again reopen in Multnomah County on Friday night, Feb. 8. Severe weather shelters do not require identification or any other documentation. No one seeking shelter during severe weather will be turned away — and more sites will open as needed.

Urgently, service providers and the Joint Office are continuing their call for community donations of life-saving winter gear — particularly before this evening, when snow is expected to begin accumulating.

Because this season was so mild up to this point, service providers say they haven’t been receiving their usual amount of donated supplies, which help outreach workers keep people warm and dry night after night.

Please visit 211info.org/donations to see a specific list of winter gear and where it can be dropped off. Providers also have an online shopping list to make donating more convenient, which means anyone can donate over the weekend, even if snow and ice have made roads difficult to traverse. Items ordered online can be delivered directly to JOIN, 1435 NE 81st Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR, 97213. JOIN is also taking donations in person at that address. And Transition Projects, at 665 NW Hoyt in downtown Portland, is also accepting in-person donations 24/7 and will bundle and share those items with other providers as needed.

Transition Projects will open severe weather shelters tonight at Bud Clark Commons (650 NW Irving, in Portland), Imago Dei (1302 SE Ankeny, in Portland and Sunrise Center (18901 E Burnside, in Gresham.

Bud Clark Commons and Imago Dei will be open to adults, couples and families and their pets from 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Sunrise Center will be open from 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Private community partners will open additional shelter beds.

Families in Portland seeking shelter are encouraged to call 211, or they can present at any severe weather shelter to be referred to an appropriate family shelter option. No family will be turned away.

Go to 211info.org or call 211 for the latest information on which shelters are open, and when, and to coordinate transport for anyone who needs shelter but does not have a way to get there. Families with children in particular should contact 211 directly to access and arrange transport as needed to severe weather shelter.

The Joint Office will continue to monitor forecasts and escalate the response to weather conditions as needed. Severe weather shelters opened for the first time this season on Feb. 3, and were in service four nights in a row. On Wednesday, Feb. 6, nearly 250 people slept in severe weather shelter opened by Transition Projects and funded by the Joint Office, more than double the number who slept in severe weather shelter on Sunday.

Overall, the Joint Office funds 1,365 year-round shelter beds and an additional 255 seasonal beds. In addition to those more than 1,600 beds, the Joint Office and Transition Projects stand ready to open at least 325 severe weather beds on any given night as forecasts dictate. The Joint Office will also work with Portland and Multnomah County to open as many additional beds as needed if that initial severe weather capacity is filled.

Please donate winter gear

Lingering cold weather is increasingly taxing outreach workers' supply of community donations of life-saving winter gear. Even before this cold snap, because this season had been so mild, service providers hadn't been receiving their usual amount of donated supplies. Those supplies help outreach workers keep people warm and dry night after night.

The following items are needed:

  • ● Thick socks
  • ● Waterproof/resistant gloves or mittens (preferably dark colors/black)
  • ● Waterproof/resistant winter coats (men’s and women’s sizes)
  • ● Sleeping bags and warm blankets
  • Waterproof/resistant hats (preferably dark colors/black)
  • Knit hats (preferably dark colors/black)
  • Tarps (preferably brown, dark colors)
  • Hand warmers
  • Rain ponchos

Please keep in mind that some items, like home-cooked food, present health challenges around illnesses, allergies and germs — even from the most well-meaning donors — and can’t be accepted. In addition, volunteers and others working at shelter sites won’t have the capacity to track, clean and return food containers, flatware and other items left at shelter sites.

How to help neighbors in distress

If you see someone outside unsheltered whose life appears to be in danger or is in an apparent medical crisis, call 911. Otherwise, if you see someone about whom you are concerned, such as not being dressed for the weather conditions, call police non-emergency (503) 823-3333 and request a welfare check for that person.

To help someone find shelter and arrange transportation to shelter, please call 211.

Multnomah County offers mental health crisis resources, at any hour, for anyone experiencing a crisis. Mental health clinicians can provide direct phone assistance to individuals experiencing a mental-health crisis including: escalated symptoms of agitation, anxiety, depression, psychosis, dangerous to self or others, substance use, etc. Call (503) 988-4888 or visit the Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Intervention website for more information.

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