Opening Celebration of Shelter for Native American Families

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NAYA's new shelter will address a regional gap in services for Native families

EVENT DETAILS: 10 a.m., Tues., June 25 at 2400 SE Willard St., Milwaukie, OR 97222

MILWAUKIE, Ore. - Local officials from Metro and Clackamas County will join other partners on Tuesday in Milwaukie for the opening celebration of Khwat Yaka Haws, which is Chinook for “Auntie’s Place.” This unique shelter program of the nonprofit Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) will offer eight spaces for families experiencing homelessness, and it aims to serve at least 56 families with children each year. It is the first program of its kind in the tri-county region.

Clackamas County provided $1.96 million in funding for Khwat Yaka Haws through the Metro supportive housing services (SHS) program. This shelter is an important piece of the regional network of housing services that is meaningfully addressing homelessness.

Khwat Yaka Haws will host Native American cultural activities to foster a sense of community, healing and belonging among residents. The shelter features murals of Native American cultural significance painted by local artists.

Clackamas County isn’t just managing homelessness, we are ending homelessness by supporting the whole person,” Clackamas County Vice Chair Ben West said. “I’m happy to partner with NAYA in our common mission to support our local youth and families. This is the best use of SHS funds.”

"We recognize the critical need for culturally affirming spaces that honor the traditions and values of the Native community," NAYA’s Director of Housing and Stabilization Services Erika Silver said. "Our family shelter represents a significant step towards providing a supportive environment where Native families can reclaim self-sovereignty."

We know that in addition to experiencing higher rates of homelessness than the general population, many people of color also experience discrimination within the very system they turn to for help,” Metro Councilor Christine Lewis said. “That’s why providers like NAYA, that can offer culturally responsive care and services, are critical in our efforts to address our region’s housing crisis.”

The Metro supportive housing services fund has placed about 7,800 people in housing, supported nearly 22,000 eviction preventions and created or sustained 1,425 shelter beds regionwide since voters approved it in 2020.

A primary goal of Khwat Yaka Haws is to support families in moving into safe, stable and permanent housing. All families will receive services to support a successful transition to housing, which can include help finding employment, gathering documents and applying for apartments; mental and physical health services; rental assistance; and more.

See coverage of the celebration of the opening.

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