PORTLAND — A local rescue mission has acted to address the growing incidence of homelessness among women in the Rose City.
Portland has experienced an increase in women living on the streets and in need of shelter in recent years, with a reported 15 percent jump in the number of women experiencing homelessness the past two years alone.
To address this emerging need, Portland Rescue Mission repurposed an upper floor of its well-known Burnside Shelter to make available 10 referral beds for people in need of a safe place to stay while awaiting medical attention or for available housing.
The newly remodeled space is on the same floor as the Portland Rescue Mission’s recently-launched Women’s Connect program, where 16 women live in community for up to three months as they transition to housing and employment. Meanwhile, a Men‘s Connect program is on the third floor.
The mission is best known for providing more than 330,000 hot, nutritious meals annually along with shelter, restrooms, showers, blankets, clothing and guest services at its iconic Burnside Shelter in Old Town Portland. It also provides a range of life-restoring services that include two 12-month recovery facilities in east Portland to help people through life crises such as addictions. Creation of The Harbor, the men’s recovery facility, in the Parkrose area, freed up space at Burnside Shelter to add the referral beds and Connect program.
“The Connect Program is meeting a unique set of needs for women in the community, and yet there was an unmet need for women transitioning into housing,” said Deanne Gillock, Connect women’s program manager. “The referral beds allow women a place to be safe at night while they get help and support from case managers.”
The $282,000 expansion was funded by grants from Home Builders Foundation and Boeing Employee Community Fund, in addition to thousands of individual donors. M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust contributed $188,000 for staffing resources.