Sears Building temp fix for homeless Portland women

'Alarming number of single women on the streets now'

The Jerome F. Sears Building on Southwest Multnomah in Portland, Nov. 9, 2015 (KOIN)
The Jerome F. Sears Building on Southwest Multnomah in Portland, Nov. 9, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a few weeks, the old Jerome F. Sears Army Reserve Center on Southwest Multnomah could house up to 120 homeless women.

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales decided the building could be a viable spot to temporarily house homeless women during the winter months. The old building, used in many ways over the years, has amenities built in — showers, bathrooms, some kitchenettes.

On any given night, 1800 people sleep outside in Portland. A resident near the Sears Building, who has lived there for 55 years, knows there’s a homeless crisis but isn’t sure this is the solution.

Hales’ Chief of Staff Josh Alpert said the building will eventually be an emergency management center, but before that happens retro-fitting will need to be done.

“The building itself is going to need quite a bit of work,” Alpert said.

The mayor’s office said there has been recent success in reducing the number of homeless veterans on the street. Now their focus is on single women.

New data showed “an alarming number of single women who are on the streets right now,” Alpert said.

And the Sears Building could be a temporary fix to the city’s homeless emergency.

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