Temporary homeless shelter at former Motel 6 closes


Some rosier news followed Tuesday.

The county, city of Vancouver and the Vancouver Housing authority announced in a news release that they are working on opening a shelter for those who are unhoused in late February or early March.

All three entities will contribute funds, along with federal and state sources. County Community Services will oversee a contract with a nonprofit service provider that has yet to be determined, and the housing authority is working on acquiring a site.

The shelter will be open at all hours of every day, and admittance will be based on referrals.

It will be noncongregate, meaning households will have their own rooms and restrooms. Also, the shelter will connect residents with physical and mental services.

“Emergency shelter plays an important role in the homeless crisis response system by breaking the cycle of homelessness,” Community Services Director Vanessa Gaston said. “It can be a transformational component to a system that tries to meet people’s basic needs while quickly moving them toward long-term stability.”

The housing authority plans to convert the facility into affordable housing once funds are expended, likely in two to three years.

Torres said that the announcement was not directly related to the closure of the expanded shelter, but it would help take dozens of people at a time off the streets in the coming years.

“We do know there is a need for more shelter capacity in this community,” Torres said. “We have been and continue to seek information for that.”

—Jack Heffernan


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