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Multnomah County Chair asks for help staffing temporary shelters

The county opened temporary shelters for social distancing purposes and staff members are needed to run the shelters.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Charles Jordan Community Center in North Portland is a new, temporary home for many of Portland's homeless. If you ask them, they will tell you it is a pretty good set up.

"They wipe everything down," said Katie, who is staying at the shelter. "They're so loving in here."

Multnomah County has opened temporary homeless shelters at the Charles Jordan Community Center and the Convention Center. This was to keep the county's permanent shelters from overcrowding.

"We were concerned about the virus spreading in a situation where people are sleeping head to foot," said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. "Moving people apart, giving them extra space and breathing room keeps everyone safe."

As Kafoury points out though, the new, temporary shelters need additional staff.

"While we've deployed county staff, not working in their current jobs, to assist, we need the community to help as well."

Kafoury is hoping to staff the shelters with people who have a background in social services or behavioral health. They will be asked to do things like basic first aid, conflict management, or counseling.

"These are really unprecedented times and we need unprecedented action," said Kafoury.

One thing is for sure, the unprecedented action will not go unnoticed. The people currently staying at the Charles Jordan Community Center are already so grateful.

"I'd like to tell everyone thank you," said Katie. "I love everyone in the world."

Kafoury says the people who come forward to work at the shelters will get paid, but volunteers are certainly welcome. 

For more information on this opportunity to help the shelter system click here.

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