Thursday, Sept. 17: Joint Office of Homeless Services offers eighth day of additional shelter as escape from smoke

September 17, 2020

PORTLAND (Sept. 17, 2020) — With toxic, smoky air still lingering this week, the Joint Office of Homeless Services is working with partners to support additional shelter capacity and respite space for an eighth day.

The Joint Office also remains grateful for the nearly 30 contracted partner agencies, volunteer groups and mutual-aid groups who have rallied over this time to help refer people into shelter and distribute the office’s supply of KN95 masks, water and other gear to people living outside.

And it extends deep gratitude to neighbors and community members who’ve reached out asking how they can help and coming through with donations of gear and supplies that will ensure staff and volunteers can help people through this crisis and also through the many months our COVID-19 crisis is expected to continue.

Shelter options: Charles Jordan Community Center for day and overnight needs

Just like during cold and severe weather, anyone seeking shelter should call 211 first to see where space is available and to arrange transportation. You can call 211 on behalf of someone seeking shelter if they’re not able to call on their own, to arrange a ride.

Shelter includes amenities such as meals. All sites will comply with COVID-19 protocols, including distancing. No identification is required. This capacity is emergency capacity open in addition to the roughly 1,400 beds available year-round in Portland and Multnomah County.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, shelter will continue to be offered at the Charles Jordan Community Center. If someone needs a place to escape the smoke even for a few hours, without staying overnight, they can also do that at Charles Jordan and call 211 to arrange transportation. Shelter is also available at the Oregon Convention Center.

Additional shelter was first offered Thursday, Sept. 10, at the Convention Center, as part of a Wildfire Smoke Advisory. Charles Jordan opened starting Friday, Sept. 11.

A third site also opened that night but was shifted to standby status based on available capacity at the other two sites.

Thank you for support from outreach partners, community volunteers and donors

At the same time, the Joint Office has been with outreach providers and volunteer groups to distribute KN95 masks specifically for people who are unsheltered. 

Anticipating the high chance for smoke and unhealthy air, the Joint Office obtained an additional 40,000 masks, adding to a stockpile in hand because of COVID-19.

The Joint Office received an overwhelming amount of support last week and over the weekend with help sharing not only thousands of masks, but also water, sanitizer, and gear such as sleeping bags and blankets. A total of 27 outreach providers, volunteer groups and mutual aid groups came together to help share masks and water.

Community members also stepped up with a wave of donations that will be used as part of the Joint Office’s COVID-19 outreach response and also once cold and wintry weather arrives later this year. That generosity is also very much appreciated.

For the latest updates on the ongoing wildfire emergency and Multnomah County’s response, go to