Prior to 2021, funding for emergency shelter in Washington County was extremely limited. Shelter was only available in Washington County for adults experiencing homelessness at rotating locations during the harsh winter months, with no year-round options available for individuals (and few options for families).
Thanks to increased funding from the voter-approved Supportive Housing Services measure and Governor Kotek's state of emergency related to unsheltered homelessness through Executive Order (EO) 23-02 new resources have come online to increase services for people experiencing homelessness.
Service expansion for unhoused people is rapidly growing as the County threads together existing resources with a significant increase in funding provided by the regional voter-approved Supportive Housing Services measure. With these new and existing resources, Washington County offers 426 shelter beds/units and is in the process of funding seven permanent shelter buildings to preserve and expand this capacity.
Washington County funded shelters provide a low barrier steppingstone that can offer that initial stabilization, as our shelter guests move towards long-term housing solutions. In 2022 alone, Washington County supported almost 1,300 individuals moving from homelessness into stable housing. Some of these individuals accessed shelter during that journey and others were able to transition directly into long-term housing.
Pod Village Overview
Washington county is expanding our emergency shelter program by increasing "alternative shelter" which can consist of pods, micro huts or pallet homes. Pod villages are individual structures, designed to serve couples or individuals experiencing homelessness. Like all Washington County shelters, pod villages work with a shelter operator to ensure 24/7 on-site staff trained in trauma informed care, safety and crisis de-escalation, housing navigation and employment support. Shelter staff provide a proactive, supportive presence in the neighborhood and on-site, including a dedicated phone number for neighbors to contact if they have questions or concerns about site operations.
Site amenities include:
- Guest & staff parking
- Trash disposal
- Restrooms, showers, and handwashing stations
- Gathering tent for guests to convene and have meetings
- Installation of fencing and gates for security/privacy as needed
Before programming begins at any of our shelter locations, including pod villages, a robust community engagement process is completed including:
- Distributing flyers throughout the neighborhood
- Sending informational postcards to nearby businesses and residences
- Conducting in-person and virtual meetings for neighbors and interested community members to ask questions, share concerns, and develop a good neighbor agreement for the site
- And canvassing nearby neighbors and businesses with shelter staff to ensure impacted nearby residences have face-to-face contact and conversation as needed.
Have questions about our pod village shelter program? Contact [email protected]