Severe weather shelters will open in Multnomah County on Sunday night, Feb. 24 — on account of forecasts that predict snow at low elevations, with a risk, if conditions shift even marginally, that snow accumulations could be significant. Severe weather shelters do not require identification or any other documentation. Anyone who needs a bed and/or a ride to shelter should call 211. No one seeking shelter during severe weather will be turned away; more sites will continue to open as needed. Overall, close to 2,000 publicly funded beds will be available, including 325 severe weather beds opening tonight, 255 beds that are open all winter and 1,365 beds that are open year-round. Beyond those publicly funded beds, private community partners also will host dozens more people. Tonight, Transition Projects will open Bud Clark Commons (650 NW Irving, in Portland(link is external)), Imago Dei (1302 SE Ankeny, in Portland(link is external)) and Sunrise Center (18901 E Burnside, in Gresham(link is external)). Bud Clark Commons and Imago Dei will be open to adults, couples and their pets from 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, to 6:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25. Sunrise Center will be open 9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, to 6:30 a.m. Monday, Feb. 25. Go to 211info.org(link is external) or call 211info for the latest information on which shelters are open, and when, and to coordinate transport for anyone who needs shelter but does not have a way to get there. Families with children in particular should contact 211 directly to access and arrange transport as needed to severe weather shelter. Service providers and the Joint Office are continuing their call for community donations of life-saving winter gear. Many people stepped up with donations this month as conditions took a turn, but more is always needed. Night after night, outreach workers have been handing out gear to keep people warm and safe as soon as it’s come in. Please visit 211info.org/donations(link is external) to see a specific list of winter gear and where it can be dropped off. Providers also have an online shopping list(link is external) to make donating more convenient, which means anyone can donate over the weekend, even if snow and ice have made roads difficult to traverse. Items ordered online can be delivered directly to JOIN,1435 NE 81st Ave.(link is external), Suite 100, Portland, OR, 97213. JOIN is also taking donations in person at that address. And Transition Projects, at 665 NW Hoyt(link is external) in downtown Portland, is also accepting in-person donations 24/7 and will bundle and share those items with other providers as needed. Overall, the Joint Office funds 1,365 year-round shelter beds and an additional 255 seasonal beds(link is external). In addition to those more than 1,600 beds, the Joint Office and Transition Projects stand ready to open at least 325 severe weather beds on any given night as forecasts dictate. The Joint Office will also work with Portland and Multnomah County to open as many additional beds as needed if that initial severe weather capacity is filled. The Joint Office will continue to monitor forecasts and escalate the response to weather conditions as needed. Please donate winter gear Service providers and the Joint Office are continuing their call for community donations of life-saving winter gear. Donations had been lower than usual this season, thanks to what had been a long run of mild conditions. Many people have since stepped up with donations as conditions took a turn, but more is always needed. Night after night, outreach workers have been handing out gear to keep people warm and safe as soon as it’s come in. Items especially important to donate items including waterproof hats, gloves, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags and coats. Please visit 211info.org/donations(link is external) to see a specific list of winter gear and where it can be dropped off. Providers also have an online shopping list(link is external) to make donating more convenient, which means anyone can donate over the weekend, even if snow and ice have made roads difficult to traverse. Items ordered online can be delivered directly to JOIN,1435 NE 81st Ave.(link is external), Suite 100, Portland, OR, 97213. JOIN is also taking donations in person at that address. And Transition Projects, at 665 NW Hoyt(link is external) in downtown Portland, is also accepting in-person donations 24/7 and will bundle and share those items with other providers as needed. The following items are needed: ● Thick socks ● Waterproof/resistant gloves or mittens (preferably dark colors/black) ● Waterproof/resistant winter coats (men’s and women’s sizes) ● Sleeping bags and warm blankets ● Waterproof/resistant hats (preferably dark colors/black) ● Knit hats (preferably dark colors/black) ● Tarps (preferably brown, dark colors) ● Hand warmers ● Rain ponchos We appreciate everyone’s willingness to help, however they can. But please keep in mind: Some items, like home-cooked food, present health challenges around illnesses, allergies and germs — even from the most well-meaning donors — and can’t be accepted. In addition, volunteers and others working at shelter sites won’t have the capacity to track, clean and return food containers, flatware and other items left at shelter sites. How to help neighbors in distress If you see someone outside unsheltered whose life appears to be in danger or is in an apparent medical crisis, call 911. Otherwise, if you see someone about whom you are concerned, such as not being dressed for the weather conditions, call police non-emergency (503) 823-3333 and request a welfare check for that person. To help someone find shelter and arrange transportation to shelter, please call 211. Multnomah County offers mental health crisis resources, at any hour, for anyone experiencing a crisis. Mental health clinicians can provide direct phone assistance to individuals experiencing a mental-health crisis including: escalated symptoms of agitation, anxiety, depression, psychosis, dangerous to self or others, substance use, etc. Call (503) 988-4888 or visit theMultnomah County Mental Health Crisis Intervention website for more information. When it’s cold outside If someone outside is unsheltered and you are concerned they could be in danger due to cold weather, call 9-1-1 and request a welfare check. To help someone locate shelter and for transportation to shelter, please call 2-1-1 or go online at 211info.org(link is external) People seeking to get warm on winter days when warming shelters are not open are welcome in government buildings that are open to the public, including, for example, libraries and community centers. Library hours are listed on Multnomah County Library’s website(link is external). City community center information is listed here(link is external). Severe Weather Warming Centers A Home for Everyone(link is external)a collaboration between Multnomah County and the City of Portland. The partners, supported by the Joint Office of Homeless Services, operate shelters year-round for people experiencing homeless and add hundreds of beds open all winter. Beyond those year-round and seasonal beds, partners open additional warming shelters when severe weather hits to keep hundreds of people safe, generally 10 to 20 times each year. Joint Office staff monitor weather conditions and open emergency warming centers as needed. Warming shelters may open when: Temperatures are forecast at 25 degrees or below Forecasters predict an inch or more of snow Overnight temperatures drop below 32 degrees, with an inch of driving rain. Other conditions occur as needed, including severe wind chills or extreme temperature fluctuations Transition Projects(link is external) will open one or more shelters based on need and location. This year those sites are Bud Clark Commons, Imago Dei and the Sunrise Center. These are low-barrier shelters with access for bikes, carts and pets. Additional shelters would open if conditions worsen. 211info(link is external) moves to 24-hour operations and shares information about shelter options and donation needs, and coordinates transportation to shelter during severe weather events. Seasonal Shelters In addition to the severe-weather beds that open only when certain weather thresholds are met, the Joint Office of Homeless Services also opens 250 to 300 beds of seasonal shelter beds every fall, winter and spring. These beds are open night after night, no matter the forecast, from November/December through April. To make this work possible, the Joint Office works closely with business and faith leaders who donate space, as well as experienced shelter operators, including Transition Projects, Portland Homeless Family Solutions(link is external) and Do Good Multnomah(link is external). Just like with year-round shelters, winter shelters are available only through reservations. Anyone interested in accessing shelter should contact 211. In 2018-19, the following winter shelters are open: Walnut Park Shelter, 5329 NE Martin Luther King Blvd.; 80 beds, operated by Transition Projects Winter Family Shelter, 1150 NW 17th Ave; 75 beds, operated by Portland Homeless Family Solutions North Portland Emergency Warming Center(link is external), 4775 N Lombard St.; 50 beds, operated by Portsmouth Union Church and Do Good Multnomah Rose City Park United Methodist Winter Shelter, 5830 NE Alameda; 40 beds (30 for non-veterans), operated by Do Good Multnomah, alongside their year-round shelter at the church. Additional beds are also available in the youth homeless shelter system. Cold Weather Alerts Even when severe weather thresholds aren’t met — but when temperatures are forecast at 32 degrees or below — the Joint Office will issue a “cold weather alert.” No severe weather beds will open during a cold weather alert. But providers will conduct additional and focused outreach and have the ability to quickly obtain and distribute cold weather gear. And 2-1-1 Info(link is external) will move into 24-operations, sharing information on resources and helping people connect to available shelter.