A piece of city-owned land at the corner of Brighton Avenue and Holm Avenue has been identified as the location for a new two-story homeless service center to replace the inefficient, too small and rented Oxford Street Shelter in downtown Portland according to a press release issued by the city today.
The proposed location fulfills the key attributes identified by city staff in the past. In fact, it appears to be a largely self-contained center providing all manner of services – including health, housing, meals, employment center with an outdoor courtyard to provide dignified outside space. The center will be operational 24/7.
The new modern design will reduce long lines and crowding and the hardship that goes with staffing a 3-level shelter. Additionally, there are funds in place provided by developments in the area to enhance sidewalks, crosswalks and bus shelter conditions along Brighton Avenue.
Advocates for the Homeless held its annual June 21 awareness event on the steps of city hall at noon today. Several people at the event said they had attended a meeting with the city manager yesterday afternoon to learn the details of the proposal before it became public this week. They were sworn to secrecy by the city manager and the two. frustratingly and annonyingly to this blogger, kept their promise to the city manager well ! They didn’t divulge the details.
James DeVine, an advocate for the Homeless, did not attend the meeting yesterday afternoon, and had not heard the details, but he said: “Some of us have been concerned about the distance from peoples’ normal routine to this out of the way place.”
Mayor Ethan Strimling watched the event as it unfolded in front of City Hall today. “I’m totally open to listening to the details of this proposal, but I am concerned about the distance from downtown Portland to Brighton Avenue,” he said.
There will be a public hearing on this topic at the Committee meeting July 10th.