In Salem, more shelter beds are available this warming season than ever before. We actively participate in regional efforts to address gaps in shelter beds, allocating $8.1 million of American Rescue Plan Act funds to add new shelter bed and safe park spaces.
The new, expanded Union Gospel Mission site opened July 2021 and more sheltering spaces will be available from Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency hotel properties in December 2021. A temporary managed micro-shelter community opened September 2021 with capacity to serve 72; and in October an expansion of the City of Salem-owned Portland Road site served 25 additional individuals. As a result, from July to December, another 389 shelter beds and 8 safe park spaces will be available.
Warming Center Network. The Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency leads the warming center initiative in Salem. Warming centers open between November 1 and March 31, when the temperature reaches 32 degrees or below. Shelters can also be activated when area waterways reach flood stages. Open between 7 p.m. and 6:45 a.m., the low-barrier shelter spaces are co-ed. Service animals and pets are allowed. Free transportation is available from Cherriots for guests and volunteers. Learn more about volunteering with the Salem Warming Network.
More Transitional Housing. With the housing market tight already and fewer evictions occurring last year, finding housing for someone with a Section 8 voucher is challenging. Vouchers can be used at several Salem Housing Authority sites as well as privately owned properties. In the 2021 Legislative Session, the City received funds to help 170 households and keep 66 families in transitional housing for the next year, until systems relied on can recuperate from effects of the COVID Pandemic.
Extending Homeless Rental Assistance Program. The Homeless Rental Assistance Program housed more than 350 with a combination of rental assistance and intensive case management for housing stability. Pre-COVID, we were able to move people from the HRAP into Section 8 housing. All in-person services required to get identification and records needed for this transition have been closed or severely limited due to COVID. With help from the 2021 Legislature, we can extend HRAP participation by 12 months to give participants housing stability while these vital systems have a chance to recover and move through the backlog of need.
Seeking New Sites. The City of Salem is actively seeking locations to expand alternative shelter options. Finding appropriate sites for the next micro-shelter community remains challenging. Ideally, properties suitable for this kind of sheltering are at least ¾ acre in size, near services, accessible by transit, and not exclusively residentially zoned. Suggestions for sites should be directed to [email protected]
Keep up to date on City progress here.