Multnomah County and City leaders announce new winter shelter

October 28, 2016

Developer Tom Cody describes the agreement for reporters.

Multnomah County and the city of Portland have reached an agreement with Project development to use the Bushong & Co Building for six months as a temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

Mayor Chair Kafrouy announced the new winter shelter Friday at a press event outside the building at SW 333 Park near O'Bryant Square.

"I am thrilled to announce another public-private partnership that will lead to more people sleeping inside, out of the cold, this winter,'' Chair Kafoury said. 

The arrangement was made possible after developer Thomas Cody stepped forward, saying that he had realized that while people were sleeping outside, there were thousands of square feet of unused -- but usable space. Cody said the Bushong is being renovated for the temporary shelter before being completed as office and retail space. 

​ Mayor Charlie Hales likened it to the public private partnership that led the successful operations of the temporary Sears Shelter and the Peace Shelter downtown. 

Operating costs will be covered by A Home For Everyone, while the shelter will be operated by Transition Projects, said executive director George Devendorf.

A Home For Everyone is a community-wide effort to house people experiencing homelessness through sound investments in housing, income, health, and emergency services.

Shelter is part of a three-pronged strategy to reduce homelessness by 1) keeping people from losing their existing housing; 2) moving people back into permanent housing ; and 3) providing emergency shelter to keep people safe while they search for permanent housing.

"Over the past year, we have opened more than 500 new shelter beds as part of A Home For Everyone, our comprehensive plan to address homelessness in our community. By the end of this year, we will have doubled the number of publically funded shelters in Multnomah County,'' Chair Kafoury said. "Doubled!''

Organizers plan to meet with neighboring businesses next week for further conversations around housing about 100 adults on a reservation-system.