Homeless families moved from SE Portland shelter after leaky roof causes safety concerns

Human Solutions Family Center - File KATU photo

PORTLAND, Ore. – Homeless families staying at Multnomah County’s largest shelter are relocating after a leaking and damaged roof caused concerns over the building’s safety.

The non-profit group Human Solutions started moving the 110 children and parents from its family center on SE Stark Street after finding ceiling damage and some collapsed sheetrock on Wednesday.

The families initially moved about a block away to a space next door to the Freedom Foursquare Church that is often used as a severe weather shelter. Multnomah County’s emergency department provided extra sleeping mats and blankets through the move.

On Thursday, County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Commissioner Lori Stegmann will be talking about ways to help Human Solutions find long-term housing for the families.

The county said they want the families to move into permanent housing placements wherever possible, but they also want to find motel rooms. Their main goal is to keep the kids in school through the transition, and let the parents stay connected with services until they can move into homes of their own.

Human Solutions is looking at what repairs the center will need to keep it in safe working order.

The county invested nearly $700,000 to help Human Solutions buy the building back in 2015 and turn it into the county’s first year-round family shelter. It opened in February 2016 and was expected to operate as a shelter for 6 years before making way for affordable housing.

READ MORE: Family homeless shelter opens inside former vegan strip club

Kafoury said she wants a review of all family system shelter facilities that are managed by the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

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