Services Departments Government
Transitional shelter communities: Our provide transitional shelter communities for up to 30 homeless veterans on county-owned land.

A Transitional Shelter Community for Veterans

A 2017 study revealed there are nearly 2,300 people who are homeless in our county. Of those people, approximately 100 are veterans.

We’ve set a goal at Clackamas County to end veterans’ homelessness by 2019. As a significant step toward that goal, we’ve contracted with Catholic Charities, and are working with partners at Portland State University and City Repair to design and construct a temporary transitional shelter community.

The purpose of this project is to provide decent, safe and sanitary shelter for our veterans. As a county and community, we must be responsive to the needs of our residents. Helping people live independent, productive lives benefits the community as a whole.

Location and zoning

This pilot community will be located on a 1.5-acre parcel of land near the corner of 115th Ave. and Jennifer Street in Clackamas.

The unused industrial land is owned by the county’s Development Agency. Following a public process, the Board of County Commissioners approved zoning amendments in August 2017 to allow transitional shelter communities as a conditional use on light or general industrial land outside city limits that is owned by the county. The approved code changes expire after two years or the approval of three projects, whichever comes first.

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Health, safety and transportation

Reliable shelter is integral to health, security and safety. People who are homeless suffer higher rates of premature death, illnesses, psychiatric and addictive disorders, and have a higher risk of being sexually or physically assaulted than people who have a home.

Two county departments – Health, Housing & Human Services and Transportation and Development – drafted a Health and Safety Impact Review to identify ways to promote health and safety within the community.

While there is no direct access to public transit from the site, plans are underway to provide a shuttle or other form of transportation to bus stops so community members can access training, counseling, shopping, medical services and other routine needs.

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Sleeping pods and amenities

The site will contain up to 30 innovatively-designed sleeping pods, a community kitchen, showers and restrooms, and a community room.

Pod design

PSU School of Architecture/Portland State University

The sleeping pods, designed by Portland State University architecture students, are constructed from recycled trusses previously used for a stage at the popular Pickathon Music Festival.

Read the OPB story about the sleeping pods.

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Services

The initial focus of the project is to "shelter first". This approach seeks to provide adequate shelter prior to delivering services. Once a community member receives adequate shelter, they can then access services to become increasingly self-supportive. This model supports an individual's need to keep their housing and also makes it less likely they will return to homelessness.

Services/programs under consideration include the following:

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Funding

The county has set aside $300,000 to get the project started. Other county funds may be allocated as needed.

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In the news

10/6 County to host volunteer event for construction of sleeping pods for homeless veterans
10/4 Volunteers sought to help build sleeping pods for homeless veterans
8/3 Clackamas County Commission approves code changes for transitional shelter communities
7/25 Clackamas County Commissioners to hold Aug. 2 public hearing on proposed code changes for transitional shelter communities
7/17 Clackamas County Planning Commission to discuss proposed code changes related to transitional shelter communities July 24
7/10 Clackamas County Planning Commission public hearing on code amendments to allow transitional shelter communities set for tonight, July 10
6/28 Clackamas County selects non-profit to provide temporary transitional shelter for veterans
6/22 Planning Commission to hold work session June 26 to discuss proposed regulations allowing for transitional shelters
6/6 Clackamas County sets public hearings on proposed regulation on transitional shelter communities
5/17 Planning Commission to discuss proposed regulation allowing for transitional shelters at May 22 work session

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For information on other county services for veterans or people who are experiencing homelessness, please contact:

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For more information about the transitional shelter community project, please contact Commission Policy Advisor Emily Klepper at 503-742-5933 or emilykle@clackamas.us.