brg_admin | Jun 1, 2021 | 0
Building a Better Beaverton: Safe Parking | Bridges to Change | Beaverton Shelter
Safe Parking Program Celebrates its Second Anniversary!
The Safe Parking Program has just celebrated its two-year mark in April! The program’s goal is to provide a safe, legal place to park and case management for people experiencing homelessness and living out of their vehicles. This program continues to be recognized for the support that it creates for families and individuals experiencing homelessness to stabilize their lives, gain access to resources, and address barriers to housing. During the second year of operation, the program served 22 vehicles (32 individuals), 11 transitioned into housing, and 7 were exited due to other reasons such as death of family, move closer to family support, or not showing progress in case management plan. One of the primary reasons for people experiencing homelessness that was reported during this year is between income and rent, with COVID-19 being a major component. The program has served a total of 39 vehicles (69 individuals) since the launch in April 2019.
Safe Parking guest story: “Two of our guests found the Safe Parking program after being referred to us due to reports that they didn’t fit the guidelines for a family shelter. After being accepted into the Safe Parking program, both guests remained compliant throughout their time in the program. They met with their case manager weekly to discuss their concerns, barriers, and updates. In addition to meeting with the case manager weekly, both guests advocated for themselves and got accepted into the Good Neighbor Center. After being accepted into the Good Neighbor Center, they reported to their case manager that they were ready to find housing. The guests, case manager, and a case worker from New Narrative partnered together to assist both guests with obtaining both a community connect assessment and to start the process of the guests qualifying for rental assistance. After about two months in the Safe Parking program, both guests transitioned into an apartment.”
The program is continuing partnership with Just Compassion of East Washington County and four host sites that are coordinated throughout the Beaverton community. Host site partners continue to provide space for up to three vehicles to park, a portable restroom, and a storage unit.
For enrollment, contact Just Compassion at 503-624-4666. For more information about the program, visit www.BeavertonOregon.gov/safeparking.
Bridges to Change Supports Beaverton Residents
Bridges to Change works to strengthen individuals and families affected by addictions, mental health, poverty and homelessness. They provide peer mentors, housing, and treatment to their clients. In partnership with the City of Beaverton, Bridges has served the city in the following ways during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Provided 50 clients struggling with unemployment, low wages and health issues with rental assistance through a Social Service Funding grant, which allowed clients to focus on their recovery first and foremost.
Offered a resource van twice a week at city locations, including the Beaverton Municipal Court and Beaverton City Library, to connect community members with immediate food and clothing needs, in addition to helping them get connected with various organizations in the community.
Partnered with the Beaverton Severe Weather Shelter to connect guests with peer mentors and housing opportunities. Several guests were able to transition into housing through this connection.
For more information, visit www.bridgestochange.com.
Beaverton Shelter Program Looks Forward
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Beaverton Severe Weather Shelter (BSWS) has expanded operations and increased services for people experiencing homelessness while marking its fifth season of being open in the winter in Beaverton. As the city looks at what the next five years will hold, plans for permanent and ongoing shelter for people experiencing homelessness is a priority, ensuring not only that no one dies from exposure to the elements due to lack of housing in Beaverton during the winter, but also that they can get connected to resources and housing at the same time.
The BSWS opened in January 2017 after staff identified it as an immediate response to a rise in homelessness in Beaverton. The city contracted with Just Compassion of East Washington County to provide the operations of the shelter at the Beaverton Community Center. It was part of a network of six other shelters in Washington County, and open one day a week in addition to weekends when temperatures dropped below freezing from November through March each year. The shelter was first come, first served for 30 people, and supported by one paid staff member and a host of incredible volunteers
With public facilities closed during COVID-19 and governor’s orders to shelter in place, the shelter expanded to provide 24/7 service to guests from March through May 2020. During this time, the shelter switched to a fully paid staff and enrollment-based services; and added additional services such as housing navigation, showers, and pandemic precautions including masks, social distancing, and hand sanitizing. This new model was more trauma-informed, allowing greater stability for guests, and increased the capacity for case management with deeper and more meaningful relationships that can result in housing. Building off the learnings of spring 2020, this new 24/7 enhanced service model was continued when the shelter reopened for the current season last November
A planned development at the Beaverton Community Center will result in relocating the shelter moving forward. The new location will need to be Americans with Disabilities Act accessible; include space for at least 30 guests for sleeping, dining and storage; have some kitchen facilities; be accessible to transit and local services; include parking for guests/staff; and have the ability to provide showers. While the shelter is just one response to the issue of homelessness in Beaverton, it is an essential service that the community has called for repeatedly in the Community Vision and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan—one that requires robust continued support on a year-round basis.
For ongoing updates about the BSWS, visit www.BeavertonOregon.gov/shelter.
For more city Information, visit www.BeavertonOregon.gov.