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More homeless beds for women and couples to open Friday

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Mayor Charlie Hales announced late Tuesday that 180 beds will be added to an existing downtown homeless shelter to accomodate the women and couples that will be displaced when the Multnomah Village shelter closes at the end of the month.

Hale had considered extending the 165-bed shelter in Southwest Portland an additional three months, but decided to stick with the scheduled May 31 closure after nearby residents complained about him breaking his promise.

The additional beds will he added to the existing Peace Shelter at 444 S.W. Washington St. They will be available beginning Friday night for women and couples. Transition Projects, Inc. is contracted to operate the Peace Shelter, which is open overnight from 6:30 p.m. to 8 a.m.

The Peace Shelter is a temporary location provided by Menashe Properties. Before the expansion, it provided 80 beds for homeless men. It will now provide 260 overnight spaces for homeless men and women, and is scheduled to close in July.

The Menashe family originally offered the space in an empty downtown building they own after the City Council declared a housing state of emergency in October, answering the call for a community-wide response to a housing crisis that has priced people out of their homes.

“The Menashe family is the embodiment of the spirit that makes Portland special,” says Hales. “I thank them for their commitment to the community, and to helping those in need. Their generosity is incredible.”

The mayor’s office is continuing to identify properties for shelters and city-sanctioned campsites. In the first six months of the state of emergency, 575 new beds were opened, and two new camping areas were formed. Safe Sleep Guidelines allow for people to sleep on unused city property during the night, and the Day Storage Pilot Program provides space for people to store their belongings during the day. Portable toilets, dumpsters, needle disposal containers, and campsite cleanups are also being provided.

Hales’ goal is to have 800 more shelter beds open by the end of the year.

For an earlier story on the closure of the Multnomah shelter, visit www.pamplinmedia.com/pt/9-news/308312-186436-hales-keeps-promise-to-close-multnomah-homeless-shelter.