Salem, Ore. After opening February 1, 2021, the temporary homeless shelter located at the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center is at capacity. This includes 100 guests sleeping in socially distanced tents on the Pavilion floor and people sheltering in their vehicles as part of the safe parking program for vehicle camping.
“We reached capacity within 24 hours of opening,” said Josh Erickson, a Church @ the Park assistant pastor who is serving as the operational director for the temporary shelter.
“Filling up this fast really speaks to the need for more shelter beds and housing options in Salem,” Erickson said. “We are really grateful to local leaders for making this happen and to the community for their recent donations, including tents, food, and supplies for our shelter guests.”
Shelter organizers including the City of Salem, Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center, Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, Church at the Park, and other local homeless advocates will continue to work with health and human service providers and non-profit organizations to ensure shelter guests have access to self-support services, daily meals, and hygiene supplies.
Special recognition should go to the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center for allowing the temporary shelter to activate.
“The Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center is proud to partner with the City of Salem, Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action and Church at the Park to provide a temporary dry and safe place for those in need,” said interim CEO of the Oregon State Fair and Exposition Center Kim Grewe-Powell. “Our fairgrounds have been used by Oregonians for a multitude of uses over the 156 years. During this unprecedented closure, we are happy to allow the use of the Pavilion for this important need.”
Ongoing donations are needed for shelter guests including socks, blankets, towels, winter gear, adult-sized unused underwear, African American hair care products, pet food and pet supplies, backpacks, totes, and reusable bags. All donations should be delivered to the Church at the Park Donation Center 3104 Turner Rd SE Salem, Oregon. Donation drop off hours are from 12 p.m.- 6 p.m. daily.
Local food vendors and restaurants who would like to get involved in meal preparation or donations can complete a contact form on the Church @ the Park website. For more information, including how community members can get involved in expanding affordable housing programs in Salem or volunteer in support of homelessness, visit the City of Salem website or email [email protected]
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