By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,242)
The Portland City Council voted unanimously last night to create a task force to conduct a feasibility study regarding shelter services in the city. The feasibility study will consider the consolidation of the Oxford Street Shelter, (“OSS), with the services provided at Preble Street Resource Center. The property on which the OSS is located does not belong to the city.
The Oxford Street Shelter is poorly laid out and over-crowded. So, it’s often necessary o use two over-flow locations according to a city document. Staffing costs are high due to the layout and multiple locations and clients must travel through-out the neighborhoods to the various sites causing problems for neighbors, businesses and traffic.
OSS is the only municipal shelter existing in the state. Across the country there are few publicly run shelters. It is in keeping with the Council’s fiduciary responsibility to the tax-payers of Portland to determine if the shelter can be run more efficiently by a private provider under contract with the city.
The public will be represented in the process through multiple seats on a stakeholder group charged with determining criteria for site selection and will have access to information provided throughout the process at the public PSHHS committee meetings.