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Posted on: October 24, 2017

City to Soon Operate Temporary Day Shelter Services at Oxford Street Shelter

oxford street shelter

The City of Portland will soon operate day shelter services at the Oxford Street Shelter on a temporary basis until the planning for a new one-story shelter with on-site services is approved and the new shelter is operational. This means that the shelter will now remain open 24/7 so that clients do not have to leave during the day. The City will purchase lockers for clients and add additional portable bathrooms next to the shelter in order to operate a day shelter program.

“The staff at the Oxford Street Shelter go above and beyond in providing emergency shelter services. We’re changing our operations to address a critical need in our city. For too long, clients have had to leave each morning,” said City Manager Jon Jennings. “Our goal is to provide our most vulnerable citizens with the option to remain in a safe place during the day with their belongings, which will improve their quality of life as well as the downtown area and surrounding community.”

“I’m extremely grateful to the City Manager and his staff for their hard work on this as we knew we couldn’t wait for the new facility to be constructed to begin providing shelter guests respite during daytime hours,” said Councilor Belinda Ray, Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee. “We know this isn’t a perfect solution, but it will go a long way toward improving the quality of life for our shelter guests and the surrounding community.”

Operating a day shelter at Oxford Street will not replace the need for a new shelter. The current facility on Oxford Street is leased, poorly configured, and expensive to staff given its layout. A new one-story shelter would allow the City to reduce staffing costs and provide meals on-site as well as a wide range of mental and health services to assist clients in getting back on a path to self-sufficiency. The City Council’s Health & Human Services Committee is in the process of evaluating the plans and location for a new shelter and shelter services. The Committee next meets on Tuesday, October 24 where it will discuss an update on the shelter planning process.

Operating the day shelter for the remainder of the fiscal year will cost the City roughly $340,000 in staffing and operating expenditures. The City is able to undertake the operation of a day shelter at this time because of salary savings over the last year. Future funding will be incorporated into the City Manager’s recommended FY19 budget and reviewed by the Council for approval.

Included in the staffing costs of a day shelter program is the funding for an additional outreach worker to be hired to assist clients with housing resources and to encourage vulnerable and hard-to-reach people to utilize shelter services. 

Health & Human Services
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