Washington County partners with City of Hillsboro and Comfort Inn & Suites to establish respite shelter

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Sponsored by: Health and Human Services Department

Washington County is partnering with the City of Hillsboro and Comfort Inn & Suites in Hillsboro to open a non-congregate respite shelter. The 114-room hotel will temporarily house individuals experiencing homelessness as well as group home residents who have either tested positive for COVID-19 or are symptomatic and need to be isolated from others. These individuals were hospitalized and are being discharged or never required hospitalization. 
“We know this virus has the potential to hit our unhoused communities and other vulnerable populations especially hard,” said Kathryn Harrington, Washington County board chair. “We are grateful to Comfort Inn & Suites and the City of Hillsboro for partnering with us on what we hope will address a significant need for those experiencing houselessness.” 
“All of us are in this crisis together,” said Bakulesh ‘Buggsi’ Patel, CEO of BHG Hotels. “I’m glad we are able to participate with the county, the cities and the social service agencies to offer a partial solution to the serious issue of people needing housing. If we all stick together and give a little, we will prevail over this dangerous situation.” 
Comfort Inn & Suites on NE Cornell Road is centrally located near the county’s major hospitals. It will serve as a countywide resource for hospitals and public health authorities to safely quarantine individuals in a medical sheltering environment. Individuals with confirmed COVID-19 will be housed on a separate floor from those who are symptomatic but without a positive test result. Each individual will be housed in their own room. 
“Our community members experiencing homelessness are potentially the most vulnerable among us during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hillsboro Mayor Steve Callaway. “We are deeply grateful for Washington County’s leadership and Comfort Inn & Suites’ help in addressing this pressing need to provide safe shelter with coordinated care.” 
The respite shelter will be staffed 24 hours a day by community partners such as Medical Reserve Corps, staff who operate the County’s winter shelter network, and contracted agencies. The shelter will provide wellness checks, food provided by Meals On Wheels, and supports to help individuals transition from homelessness to permanent housing. 
The contract runs today through May 31, 2020, with an option of extending it if necessary. 

Media Contact:

Wendy Gordon, Lead Public Information Officer