City’s Homeless Services Center Opens to Occupants of Decommissioned Oxford Street Shelter


The Spacious Entrance to the New Homeless Shelter, 654 Riverside Street, Portland, There is Group Seating in the Forefront.

An Outdoor Seating Area for Use During Good Weather.

Sinks Just off the Mens' Sleeping Section Appear Useable.

Sinks That Are Near the Mens’ Section of the New Center.

About 100 homeless people were transported from the Oxford Street Shelter to the new 654 Riverside Street Homeless Services Center earlier today according to Mia Gonzalez, who was one of those transported today by shuttle to the new facility that opened for occupants today.

The new Center replaces the Oxford Street Shelter, formerly a home and rented by the city, that long ago became obsolete and  needed to be replaced.

Last week was the grand opening of the new Shelter with speeches and ribbon cutting, although it wasn’t ready for occupation until today.  It can accommodate 208 guests.

Mia said it took numerous shuttles to get everyone relocated this morning.  Each shuttle holds fewer than ten riders.. She arrived about noon and was gettng settled in to her new home.  She had been assigned a bed and a locker.  Each occupant is permitted to have two bags; one contained her clothing and the other personal items.

No food is allowed inside the Center, although there is a Hannaford grocery store within walking distance of the Center.  Mia had just finished eatng her bag lunch, a tuna fish sandwich, when this blogger met her on the Center property early this afternoon.  She ate her sandwich with others in the large day room which serves as a dining room and activity room as well.  Mia said there are four large television screens mounted on the walls of the room.  It’s a day room that occupants can use rather than vacating the premises for the day as happened at the Oxford Street Shelter.  There is a curfew at 4:00 pm., although Mia said she didn’t know why.  “I’ll be learning more about that soon,” she said.

She was initially concerned that isolation from downtown Portland would be a problem for her.  She loves to read especially about politics.  Mia frequents the Portland Public Library and was concerned she would lose access to this favorite spot of hers.  But she said she was assured there would be a shuttle on an hourly basis to downtown Portland that assuaged her concern over isolation.  Mia had a copy of “The Federalist Papers” by Hamilton in her hand. “I have to get back to my reading,” she said happy at her new situation.

For more background information on the new Shelter in Riverton, please visit post herein dated March 22, 2023.