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Tent City: How homeless campers can find help

Resources for homeless people to find shelter, food, medical treatment and other services

Editor's note: This story was published on October 1, 2017

Tent City, USA is a KGW investigative project that explores who Portland’s homeless tent campers are and what led to the proliferation of tent camps across the city. Tent City, USA was reported and produced by KGW's investigative team: Kyle Iboshi, Maggie Vespa, John Tierney, Sara Roth and Gene Cotton. Infographics and multimedia design by Jeff Patterson.

For hundreds of people who sleep in tents in Portland, finding help for medical issues, housing, food and other immediate needs isn’t always easy. There are resources in the Portland area, thanks to the work of several nonprofits and city agencies.

Street Roots also offers a pocket guide with an extensive list of services. The guides are distributed by hundreds of organizations in the Portland area, including the Portland Police Bureau.

Anyone can call 211 to get help with food, health, and housing services.

Find a shelter:

There are more than a dozen shelters in the Portland area. For a map, click here

If you’re younger than 25, call the Access Center at 503-432-3986

To find out more about a shelter, or for winter shelter information, call 211info by dialing 2-1-1

Note: Shelters with a (*) allow pets.

For men: Portland Rescue Mission, 111 W Burnside St., 503-906-7690

Doreen’s Place, 610 NW Broadway, 503-280-4700

Do Good Multnomah* (male veterans), 5930 NE Alameda St., call 211 for referral

Women: Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter, 30 SW 2nd Ave., 503-227-0810

Safely off the Streets Shelter, 435 NW Glisan St., 503-280-4700

Gresham Women’s Shelter*, 16141 East Burnside St., call 211 for waitlist

Couples: Willamette Center*, 5120 SE Milwaukie Ave., 503-448-7750

Columbia Shelter*, 509 SE Grand Ave., 503-919-6586

Hansen Shelter* (priority for women, veterans, people with disabilities, 55+), 650 NW Irving St., 503-280-4700

Families: Goose Hollow Shelter, 1838 SW Jefferson St., 503-915-8306

Human Solutions Family Shelter*, 16015 SE Stark St., 503-548-0200 (note: This shelter will not turn away families even if full)

Community of Hope Shelter (for single parents with kids), 8911 N Leonard St., 503-852-1070

Under 25: Street Light Youth Shelter, 1635 SW Alder St., 503-224-5988

Find food:

The Portland Rescue Mission serves hot meals daily at 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. Lunch is also served on weekends at 12:30 p.m.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal Clay Street Table provides meals at varying times Tuesday – Sunday and a food pantry open on the fourth Thursday of every month from 2-6 p.m. at 1432 SW 13th Ave., 503-223-6424

The Union Gospel Mission has a food pantry from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Saturday, 3 NW 3rd Ave., 503-274-4483

Mainspring PDX offers a food pantry for children, families and seniors from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 3500 NE 82nd Ave., 503-233-5533

Get medical help:

If you’re experiencing domestic violence, call 911 or contact Call to Safety at 503-235-5333 (24-hour hotline)

Central City Concern has an Acute Care Clinic open weekday mornings and from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at the Bud Clark Clinic, 650 NW Irving St.

Outside In provides medical visits at a health center and through traveling medical outreach vans, 1132 SW 13th Ave., 503-535-3800

Drug treatment:

Salvation Army Portland Adult Rehabilitation Center, 6855 NE 82nd Ave., 971-230-5300

Multnomah County contracts with several treatment providers and insurance is not required. To connect, call 503-988-4888

Help for pets:

The Pongo Fund provides pet food and non-emergency veterinary care at 3632 SE 20th Ave., 503-939-7555

The Portland Animal Welfare (PAW) Team offers free veterinary care for people experiencing homelessness or extreme poverty, 1718 NE 82nd Ave., 503-206-6033

Other resources:

Restrooms are available 24/7 for men, women and children at the Portland Rescue Mission

Restrooms, laundry, clothing, lockers, mail and other services are available at the Transition Projects Day Center at Bud Clark Commons, 650 NW Irving St.

JOIN’s Day Center offers restrooms, showers, laundry, clothing, hygiene items and mailing services at 1435 NE 81st Ave., 503-232-7052

Belongings may be taken during sweeps of homeless camps. The city is required to move belongings to a facility in Southwest Portland and keep them there for a month. The city of Portland said it does not publicly post the location of the facility for security reasons. People who have had their belongings confiscated can call Pacific Patrol Services at 503-595-3440 between 10 a.m. – noon and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

How others can help

People who want to help those experiencing homelessness can volunteer at or donate to several nonprofits. The city of Portland recommends the following organizations, although there are many others that offer specialized support for the homeless.

Transition Projects – offers shelter and care for homeless

JOIN – helps homeless transition from homelessness to housing (503) 232-2031

Central City Concern – provides housing, healthcare and other goods to homeless

Do you know of additional resources? Email investigators@kgw.com

View full Tent City, USA project

Read more:

Tent City, USA

Willow's story

How we got here

A closer look at the numbers

How homeless campers can find help

Where tent camps are and how to report them

What Portlanders think about homelessness

Share your story: How does homeless camping affect you?

Published Oct. 9, 2017

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