Winter shelter for families now open in NE Portland

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by Jacqueline Sit

kgw.com

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 5:43 PM

PORTLAND -- Temperatures will drop this month and hundreds, if not thousands of homeless people are going to need a place to stay warm.

The family winter shelter just opened its doors and already has beds filled.

Last year, a record number of 181 homeless families used the shelter. An organizer said once people find out it's open again, it won't take very long to fill up.

Tiffany Wright is a single mother of three, including 6-week-old Niyelli. She said she's struggled to find work and never thought she and her children would end up homeless.

“It hurts them and they feel the hurt too that I would feel, it kind of puts a toll on them too,” Wright said.

Multnomah County and Human Solutions are working hand in hand to open the family warming shelter.

The Parkrose Community United Church of Christ in Northeast Portland opened its doors to the 80-bed emergency shelter November 1st. Nearly 20 people stayed overnight to stay warm.

Pastor Don Frueh said many people at the shelter are families and single parents from all walks of life.

“Very often, there are mothers with two kids, last night at dinner there was a woman who had a teenage son and a woman with 2-year-old and another with middle school age kids,” Frueh said.

The shelter is expected to fill up fast. They're even working on a backup shelter at Highland United Church of Christ, just in case.

“On one end, it's heartbreaking' on the other' it's warming and rewarding to know we can do something,” Senior pastor Dr. W.G. Hardy, Jr. of Highland United Church of Christ said.

Good news: Wright just got housing and new apartment to call home.

“I’m still working on the job part, so hopefully soon, that works for me too. God is blessing me so hopefully a little bit more blessing will work,” Wright said.

The shelter relies on donations of blankets, pillows and food. They hope to give homeless families dinner at night when they come in and breakfast in the morning before they leave.

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