Washington County Expands Emergency Winter Shelter Capacity for Harsh Weather Months

For Immediate Release: Monday, November 15, 2021

Sponsored by: Housing Services Department

Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey, Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, Open Door Director Jeremy Toevs, and Lead Shelter Coordinator Miguel González put together the final bunkbed at the Cloverleaf Winter Shelter

Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey, Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González, Open Door Director Jeremy Toevs, and Lead Shelter Coordinator Miguel González put together the final bunkbed at the Cloverleaf Winter Shelter

 

Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey and Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey and Metro Councilor Juan Carlos González

The Washington County Emergency Winter Shelter program is a life-saving program that provides shelter for the most vulnerable members of our community during the harsh winter months from November 15, 2021, to March 15, 2022. This year, the program was expanded to provide 187 beds for families, medically fragile individuals, and adults experiencing homelessness through a combination of congregate, shared space shelter settings and hotel vouchers.

 

The Washington County Supportive Housing Services program collaborates closely with service providers including Open Door HousingWorks, operating the Hillsboro winter shelter location, Just Compassion, operating the Beaverton and Tigard winter shelter locations, Family Promise of Washington County and Tualatin Valley administering hotel vouchers for families, Project Homeless Connect administering hotel vouchers, and Boys and Girls Aid providing shelter for youth.

 

Guests of the emergency winter shelter program will be connected to available housing resources including housing case managers and rent assistance to move people through shelters to stable housing as quickly as possible.

Washington County Commissioner Jerry Willey shares, “I am proud of the hard work and dedication happening behind the scenes to bring our Emergency Winter Shelter program to life. Be it building bunkbeds, providing outreach, or serving meals we must all roll up our sleeves to support our fellow community members. We all have the ability to make a difference.”

 

Metro District 4 Councilor Juan Carlos González shares, “When faced with a regional crisis of homelessness, our community came together to approve the regional Supportive Housing Services measure. I am appreciative of the continued partnership between Metro and Washington County to offer these life-saving programs, but Winter shelter is just one piece of Supportive Housing Services. By embracing a ‘housing first’ model that includes rent assistance, housing case managers, and permanent supportive housing we can move towards stable housing solutions for our most vulnerable community members.”

 

Jeremy Toevs, executive director of Open Door, the operator of the Hillsboro Winter Shelter location says, “Open Door has been dedicated to the work of helping our houseless friends for over thirty years, but there has always been a deficit of resources. With winter at our doorstep the need to move quickly to help people transition into housing is more apparent than ever. Thanks to the new Supportive Housing Services program we hired additional housing case managers to work with folks individually to help them transition into permanent housing with ‘wrap around’ support and long-term rent assistance.”

 

The Winter Shelter program is part of a county-wide strategy to address the regional housing crisis and is funded by the Supportive Housing Services measure. Hundreds of Washington County households experience homelessness every year, and thousands more are at risk of losing stable housing, according to a recent report from Washington County’s Supportive Housing Services Program. County residents with disabling conditions and extremely low incomes are most severely impacted by the housing crisis. The experience of homelessness and housing instability also disproportionately impacts Black, Indigenous, Latina/o/x, Asian, Pacific Islanders, and other communities of color. 

The voter-approved Supportive Housing Services measure was created to address the regional homelessness crisis. In its first quarter, the Washington County SHS Program launched several programs to expand permanent housing and supportive services that ‘wrap around’ people to provide stability and promote health, including:

Housing Case Management Services

Washington County has contracts with 17 organizations to provide housing placement and retention services to people who have experienced or are at risk of prolonged homelessness and who have disabling conditions or are age 55 and older. The new program is scaled to serve up to 800 households per year.

 

Emergency one-month rent assistance for culturally-specific organizations and long-term rent assistance for people experiencing homelessness and disabling conditions

These two rent assistance programs are tailored to meet the needs of each household to prevent and end homelessness.

 

Bridge Shelter program
Three bridge shelter locations are now in operation, for a total of 101 new shelter beds in Washington County. Bridge shelters provide temporary shelter and services for people who have experienced prolonged homelessness, families, and people recovering from COVID.

 

For more information about Washington County Supportive Housing Services programs visit https://www.co.washington.or.us/Housing/SupportiveHousingServices/index.cfm. Washington County residents in need of assistance can contact 503-640-3263 or email communityconnect@caowash.org.  

Media Contact:

Emily Roots, Public Affairs Administrator
503-846-3790
Emily_Roots@co.washington.or.us