By the end of September, the Hillsboro community will have an important first step in the battle to deal with homelessness in our community. The City of Hillsboro, Washington County, and Open Door Housing Works will join forces to provide between 30 and 40 temporary homes to local Hillsboro citizens suffering from homelessness. These Conestoga-style units will be arranged on the property the City bought at SW 17th and TV Highway. This is a huge first step in addressing the problem we all know is not going away.
The full posting of information is below for your review. Also, more info on this project and on the coming shelter at this same site can be found here. Here are the reasons this makes great sense.
- The City is working with Washington County on this project to address our homeless problems.
- The money from this is coming from the Supportive Housing Services Tax that wealthy individuals and corporations pay Region-wide. The costs are not a burden on most of the people in our community.
- Open Door Housing Works, a local service provider since 1981, is going to manage these temporary homes, and their track record is incredible. No one does a better job nor is more in touch with the protocols and rules to manage a project of this size.
- The shelters are easy to build, super affordable, and can be done quickly. Volunteers can assist in building these units as well. This is a smart and responsible move.
- The homes will be offered to campers and homeless who are in our community now and living in places like Dairy Creek Park. This is important because many of these projects are filled with people from Portland and beyond. Taking care of Hillsboro’s homeless has to be priority #1. This approach does that.
The Herald covers these issues more than any other news outlet. This is a win-win for Hillsboro from all angles. This is what we need- and we wish all of the people involved in this and the agencies working on this all the best of luck!
From the City of Hillsboro Website
With an expected timeline of September 2022 through March 2023, the Safe Rest Pods on SW 17th Avenue will provide safe sleeping spaces and support services for 30 to 40 unhoused individuals or couples. Placement will be determined by direct referral through Community Connect, with the initial priority for people currently camping in the Dairy Creek area. The launch of this project is pending the establishment of an intergovernmental agreement with Washington County.
“We are moving fast to lessen the hardship for persons living outside and respond to community concerns,” said City of Hillsboro Community Services Coordinator Mandy Gawf. “The Safe Rest Pods on SW 17th Avenue will provide a safe sleeping place, meet basic needs, and help people get started on longer-term housing plans.”
“Washington County has a long-term goal of 250 year-round shelter beds across Washington County,” said Washington County Supportive Housing Services Manager Jes Larson. “While we work together to stand up a year-round shelter in Hillsboro, this temporary solution provides life-saving shelter to our most vulnerable community members.”
“Our organization has taken a boots-on-the-ground approach to support our most vulnerable community members with outreach workers, housing case managers, an active day center, winter shelter operations, and now operations for the Safe Rest Pods,” said OpenDoor Housing Works Director Jeremy Toevs. “We see the need every day and know that this is going to make a huge difference in the lives of many of the people we support.”
Operations and Funding
Washington County is funding operations and supplies, purchasing and building of the Safe Rest Pods, and 24/7 operations and wrap-around support services through OpenDoor Housing Works. The County is also supporting coordination and communications.
The City of Hillsboro is supporting coordination and communications, funding site preparation, and providing the property, which is slated to become home to a year-round shelter in the future.
“Working with community partners allows us to pursue holistic, collaborative, and proactive solutions to benefit our community now and in the future,” said Larson.
The partners will provide additional support to the neighborhood surrounding the Safe Rest Pods, including:
- All parking for staff and participants will be onsite.
- OpenDoor staff trained in trauma-informed care and safety will be onsite 24/7. Additional homelessness outreach workers will support the neighborhood and OpenDoor.
- Safe Rest Pods participants will agree to OpenDoor’s Code of Conduct agreement, curfew, and quiet hours.
- Community members can contact OpenDoor through a 24-hour phone line for issues related to the shelter.
- The Hillsboro Parks & Recreation Department and the Hillsboro Police Department have partnered to increased patrols in Dairy Creek Park, and bicycle patrols will operate in the area.
- The City’s Outdoor Cleanup through Supportive Employment Project will remove debris in the neighborhood before and during site operation.
Temporary Safe Rest Pods will be constructed in the form of Conestoga Huts. They feature:
- 60 square feet of living space & 20 square feet of porch space
- Lockable door and window
- Insulated floor, walls, and roof
- Portable design that can be built, taken down, and rebuilt
The temporary site will offer:
- Mental health, housing navigation, and employment support
- Portable restrooms, handwashing & showers
- Drinking water
- Trash disposal
- Mobile office
- Internet access
- Smoking and support animal relief areas
- Gathering tent
The Herald will stay on this story and report to all of you how this project is coming along. This is a very important first step.