PORTLAND, Ore. -- Inside a packed family shelter and next to a table scattered with crayons and coloring books, Oregon Governor Kate Brown put out a call for $5 million in state funding, to keep homeless families out of extreme cold, heat and other inclement weather.
“We will be asking for those resources during the February session,” she said, standing next to Multnomah County chair Deborah Kafoury at the Human Solutions shelter in Southeast Portland. “The focus is to make sure our children have a warm dry place to call home at least during winter months.”
Currently officials said the vast majority of Portland's emergency shelter facilities cater to the homeless population in general.
As a result, when extreme conditions hit, homeless families often turn to permanent family shelters to escape the cold, but those facilities are already full.
In fact, they're overflowing.
In the fall of 2017, Human Solutions' headcount reached a record 500 people.
It held an average of 220 in the Spring of 2016.
Shelter directors this fall had to start placing families on a waitlist.
Now, when severe weather strikes, they scramble, turning to other nonprofits to help put families up in motels.
“Resources are stretched very thin by the need that's out there,” said Governor Brown.