FY 2019-20 Adult Homeless Services Procurement | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The Joint Office of Homeless Services (JOHS) is procuring qualified Suppliers to provide component services to adult households, including but not limited to adult singles, couples, or any other arrangements without dependent children (under age 18), and who are experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County. The procurement period will extend five (5) years, beginning in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019-20 and lasting through FY 2023-24. The procurement will involve a two-stage process.

  1. Stage I will establish a qualified pool of Suppliers eligible to provide services through the JOHS. Stage I does not qualify Suppliers to provide specific services, but gathers documentation to establish Suppliers’ organizational qualifications, capabilities, experience and organizational values. Only Suppliers qualified in Stage I are eligible to respond to Stage II.
     
  2. Stage II will then invite Suppliers who qualified through Stage I to submit proposals to be considered for a contract award through the JOHS. Only Suppliers who are qualified in Stage I will be eligible to receive a contract award from the JOHS through Stage II.

Any agency, organization, service provider or other entity interested in providing contracted services with Multnomah County for adults experiencing homelessness from FY 2019-20 through FY 2023-24 MUST qualify under Stage I of this procurement process.

Suppliers interested in providing any level of contracted services must apply even if they aren’t interested in pursuing a Stage II application at this time. Any entity both currently or not currently contracted with the JOHS are strongly encouraged to attend an informational session.

Q: What is a Supplier?

A: A Supplier is any agency, organization, service provider, or other entity qualified by Multnomah County to provide contracted component services to adult households experiencing homelessness.

Q: What is a procurement?

A: The process of soliciting Suppliers to apply to become qualified providers of contracted services.

Q: What service categories are included in this procurement?

A: Supportive housing, emergency shelter services, outreach and engagement, diversion, Coordinated Access, housing placement and retention, and employment programs. For additional information, please refer to A Home for Everyone’s Community Program Guidelines.

Q: When will the application period for this procurement open, and what is the deadline for Stage I?

A: The application period for Stage I will open in mid-August and will be open for approximately thirty (30) days. All Stage I applications must be received mid-September 2018. The Stage II application period will open mid-October 2018.

Q: How and where do I submit my application for Stage I?

A: To apply for Stage I, applicants must be registered on Multco Marketplace. Multnomah County’s Department of County Management maintains a web page and video meant to assist with registration. Suppliers must complete the entire application to be considered. Electronic submission is required.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of suppliers that can qualify under Stage I?

A: No. There is no limit to the number of Suppliers that may qualify.

Q: What criteria will you use to evaluate applicants in Stage I?

A: Stage I will evaluate applicants on a series of organizational qualifying questions by an evaluation panel.

Q: What is the process for Suppliers interested in advancing from Stage I through Stage II?

A: Any entity wishing to provide contracted services through the JOHS through this procurement process must apply through Stage I. Once, and if, qualified under Stage I, qualified Suppliers must then submit service proposal(s) under Stage II to be considered for a contract award through the JOHS. Selected proposals from the pool of qualified Suppliers may be awarded a service contract.

Q: Once Suppliers are qualified, how long is the procurement period for?

A: This procurement period is for five (5) years, beginning in FY 2019-20 and lasting through FY 2023-24. If you are interested in providing any contracted services through the JOHS within this time period, you MUST at least become a qualified Supplier under Stage I.

Q: If I qualify under Stage I, why do I need to apply under Stage II?

A: Stage I qualifies Suppliers to become eligible to move forward or submit a service proposal in Stage II. Stage I may also identify Suppliers eligible to serve as sub-contractors or sub-recipients of agencies qualified under Stage II. To be considered for a contract award(s), you must participate in Stage II.

Q: If I don’t apply or qualify under Stage I, can I still be contracted as a Supplier in the near future?

A: At this point, no. If an entity wishes to provide adult homeless services in Multnomah County through a contract with the JOHS during FY 2019-20 through FY 2023-24, that entity must apply under Stage I.

Though it is possible, an additional procurement process may open during this five-year period, as needs arise, that is not guaranteed. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that any entity interested in contracting with the JOHS in any form in FY 2019-20 through FY 2023-24 apply under Stage I.

Q: How can suppliers learn more about the application process and ask questions?

A: The JOHS has scheduled two open house meetings with potentially interested suppliers to answer questions and present information on the application process. Additionally, a pre-proposal conference will be held at a date TBD after the RFPQ opens in mid-August. For updates, visit ahomeforeveryone.net.

Tuesday, July 24
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The Rosewood Initiative
16126 SE Stark St
Portland, OR 97233

Monday, July 23
3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Multnomah Building Board Room
501 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214

For additional information, or to obtain a copy of this FAQ in an alternate language, please contact April Rohman at april.rohman@multco.us.

For questions related to Multco Marketplace, please contact tsmmarketplacesupport@multco.us.

Up-to-date information on the Adult Homeless Services procurement can be found at the County’s Bids and Proposal site at https://multco.us/purchasing/bids-proposal-opportunities.

2018 Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County Continuum of Care Solicitation

Apply for New or Expanded Permanent Housing and Services Projects

A Home for Everyone is seeking applications for two or more new or expanded projects to provide permanent housing and services for people experiencing homelessness in Multnomah County. Our community is eligible to apply for new renewable federal funding estimated at $1.3 million for general projects and $600,000 for projects specifically serving survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

General Projects

Priority will be given to projects that will most effectively address the housing and service needs within one or more of three populations: Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, women, and LGBTQ individuals. The primary priority will be for projects that address racial disparities in homelessness among Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, though multiple projects serving different and/or overlapping populations may be selected. Selected projects will be invited to apply for renewable federal funding estimated to total $1.3 million annually.

Domestic Violence Projects

Projects must serve survivors of domestic violence. If selected, project grantees must be state-certified victim services providers by date of award. Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate a strong commitment and capacity to achieving racially equitable outcomes and providing culturally-responsive and/or culturally-specific services, along with projects that leverage existing resources and advance system alignment. Selected projects will be invited to apply for renewable federal funding estimated to total $600,000. 


INFORMATION SESSION
(OPTIONAL)

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, we highly encourage attending.

Thursday, July 12, 2018
9:00am to 11:00am
Worksystems, Inc.
Columbia Conference Room
1618 SW 1st Ave, Suite 450
Portland, OR 97201

Visit the Continuum of Care (CoC) Resources page for more details about the 2018 CoC Competition.


2018 Portland/Gresham/Multnomah County Continuum of Care Solicitation

Apply for New or Expanded Permanent Housing and Services Projects

Release Date: July 03, 2018
Closing Date: July 30, 2018 at 5:00pm
Contact: Erin Pidot, (503) 988-2524, erin.pidot@multco.us

Please review the General Project and Domestic Violence Project solicitation documents for important details about the pre-applications for new or expanding permanent housing and services projects.

Pre-applications are due to erin.pidot@multco.us by Monday, July 30, 2018 at 5:00 PM.

Coordinating Board members honored during Multnomah County's 2018 Volunteer Awards ceremony

Six volunteer members of our Coordinating Board were honored during this week's ceremony for Multnomah County, Oregon's 2018 Volunteer Awards!

Sally Erickson and Rhea Graves from the Joint Office of Homeless Services presented the honors Tuesday, June 26. Here are there comments:

Alexandra Appleton: "It has been an honor to work with you on the Equity Committee. Your fearlessness and tireless dedication to social justice inspires me and everyone that knows you. You’re a powerful speaker and willing to lend your voice to represent those who are marginalized in our community. Our Coordinating Board and A Home for Everyone would not be the same without you. Thank you."

Kevin Fitts: "Thank you for your courageous compassion. You bring a wealth of experience on mental health and addictions, as well as health and social policy at the state and federal level. You remind us all of the importance of effective health policy and challenge us all to be bold... and ask for mental health supports that the most vulnerable people in our community truly need. Thank you.”

Maurice Evans: "I am eternally grateful for your mentorship and your limitless commitment to the A Home for Everyone Equity Committee and Coordinating Board. Your passionate advocacy, your never-ending compassion, and your overall realness is a breath of fresh air. I appreciate you. Thank you for sticking with us."

Susan Madar: “For years we have known you as a calm but forceful advocate for seniors and people with disabilities. You have sat through countless meetings, listening, questioning, and recommending change. You’ve brought that same steadfast commitment to representing the most vulnerable people in our community to the Coordinating Board, and we could not be more grateful for your contributions to this work.”

Art Rios Sr.: "You have long been an outspoken advocate for people experiencing homelessness. Back in 2008, you were one of the leaders of the Homeless Liberation Front, a group of homeless people who camped outside of City Hall for weeks, asking the Mayor and City Council to suspend the city’s sit-lie and camping ordinances until homeless people could find housing. You have advocated for change, while also trying to work within systems working on homelessness and poverty. Our office is grateful for your active participation on the Coordinating Board as well as several ongoing and ad-hoc work groups."

Michael Thurman: “Every month you build a critical bridge for the Coordinating Board to the experiences of low-income people living with HIV/AIDS. You were a founding member of the Ryan White Council, and your knowledge and experience is invaluable, as is your tireless advocacy for housing stability for very low-income people living with chronic illnesses. Thank you for bringing your commitment to a more just and equitable community to the Coordinating Board.”

Year-round shelter capacity in Portland, Multnomah County to increase again; dozens of new beds hosted in two County buildings

PORTLAND -- Even as several winter-only shelter beds wind down as planned this spring, the number of year-round shelter beds managed by the Joint Office of Homeless Services will increase this year.

One winter shelter set to close last month, in Multnomah County’s Mead Building, has remained open instead -- providing space for 75 neighbors downtown.

In addition, the County will open space for 125 men in the Department of Community Justice (DCJ) East Campus at 1415 SE 122nd Ave. Both sites will be operated by Transition Projects.

Those beds will maintain year-round shelter capacity after the 200-bed Hansen Shelter closes as planned this June after two years. But they will also join 50 additional new ongoing beds: 35 winter beds at Old Town’s Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter will remain open year-round; 15 winter beds have also been converted at the Do Good veterans shelter in Hollywood.

Together, the new beds at the four sites add to a total of 250, more than the 200 at Hansen currently.

King County report holds lessons for Multnomah County: Solving homelessness demands affordable housing

A consultant studying Seattle and King County's response to homelessness says high, rising rents are strongly correlated with that community's rise in homelessness -- suggesting that affordable housing, more than any other intervention, is the most important solution for helping people off the streets.

The report by McKinsey & Company was done done pro bono for King County's chamber of commerce. It says the private sector would be better served by investing in housing rather than strategies like shelter alone.

The report also found rent hikes, a measure of economic instability, were almost three times more likely to correlate with homelessness as opioid deaths. That's despite the common but mistaken assumption, often driven by visibility, that non-economic factors are more responsible for homelessness.

‘Structural racism impacts homelessness’: Community discussion kicks off year of work tackling disparities

‘Structural racism impacts homelessness’: Community discussion kicks off year of work tackling disparities

“For a community like this one that is very white, we suspect of a lot conversations about racism happen in a room of only white people," said Marc Dones of the Center for Social Innovations' SPARC initiative. "I love you. But you don’t know what you’re talking about. You need to have folks of color in those conversations. And not just one.”

Looking ahead for local rent vouchers: Gift from Meyer Memorial Trust may one day help pilot program for seniors grow

Looking ahead for local rent vouchers: Gift from Meyer Memorial Trust may one day help pilot program for seniors grow

This winter, Sharon Newell was one of the first seniors to receive a new locally funded, long-term rent voucher --through a pilot program supported by Multnomah County, Northwest Pilot Project, Meyer Memorial Trust and Home Forward. The voucher ensures Newell, along with 40 other households with a senior, can bridge the gap between their rising rents and their fixed incomes.

And thanks to fresh funding from Meyer Memorial Trust, that voucher program may one day get a chance to save hundreds more lives. The nonprofit has matched the County’s $350,000 investment with $150,000 of its own.

Meyer’s contribution will help with administrative costs and pay for a study of the pilot program by the Center for Outcomes Research and Education. That analysis will guide any improvements, and compare outcomes for voucher recipients against seniors overall. The review also will help answer how the program can grow to help potentially hundreds more people pay their rent as part of a larger plan to address chronic homelessness.

Volunteers across Multnomah County help hundreds of people find warm, dry places to sleep during winter storms

Volunteers across Multnomah County help hundreds of people find warm, dry places to sleep during winter storms

Severe weather shelters opened for five days, from Sunday night, Feb. 18, through Thursday night, Feb. 22 -- nearly doubling the amount of days this season in which the shelters were active.

On Feb. 22, the busiest night of that stretch, 361 people took refuge across four warming centers operated by the Joint Office and its contracted nonprofit partner, Transition Projects. Those sites offered more than 400 beds combined. And community-led shelter sites offered spots for several dozen more people.

Overall, nearly 50 County employees stepped up to help out, joining dozens of community volunteers, including several volunteers from the City of Portland and Metro. Those volunteers worked alongside staffers from the Joint Office, Multnomah County Emergency Management, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, the Department of County Human Services, and the County’s finance and facilities teams.

Planned homeless shelter at 6144 SE Foster Road: Frequently asked questions

On Dec. 18, 2017, officials from Multnomah County, the City of Portland, the Joint Office of Homeless Services and Transition Projects held a community meeting to talk about their plans for a planned shelter for homeless adults at 6144 SE Foster Road.

Officials convened that meeting to proactively hear concerns -- and begin working with neighbors to address them -- months before the shelter will open, likely in fall 2018.

As discussions and meetings with neighbors on the shelter plan continue, this site is meant to offer answers to some of those questions while also providing information about the next steps in the public conversation.

 A sleeping area inside the Hansen Shelter operated by Transition Projects, shown in July 2017.

A sleeping area inside the Hansen Shelter operated by Transition Projects, shown in July 2017.


How do we choose sites for our shelters?

We look at unmet need in our community, then find suitable sites near amenities.

This is perhaps the most common question. The process of identifying sites for a shelter is difficult. We consider multiple factors, and none determines a given site’s viability all on its own.  We begin with the need we are trying to fill, e.g. 100 to 120 beds for adults. We then look at the parts of the County where there is an unmet need for shelter. Then, within those areas, we look for zones that allow by right mass shelters of the size we are looking to create (typically commercial zones).

Within those broad search parameters, we look for properties that offer the best combination of building size, layout, and condition for use as a shelter. During this process we also look for nearby features such as proximity to regular public transit, community amenities, educational resources, recreational opportunities, and social services.

This exhaustive and thorough process yields very few viable sites. But among those, we then start talking with property owners to determine whether the property is actually available for a shelter use, for how long, and on what financial terms. We have to determine, given those terms, whether the amount of investment required to occupy and convert the space into shelter is warranted.

Questions have been raised about whether sites are evaluated for how close they are to schools, homes, businesses, child care centers, and other uses. In an urban environment, it is not feasible to exclude prospective shelter sites just because they are close on the basis of proximity to these types of uses.

Some community members have pointed out that the proposed shelter site is within a mile of schools and child care centers. While this is true, it has also been true of many of the homeless shelters and homeless services in our community for years. Parole and probation officers, as they do throughout our community, enforce supervision terms that forbid someone from living within a certain distance from schools and child care centers.

While we cannot foreclose having homeless services near these uses, we can and do work to make sure those services are a good neighbor to all adjacent neighbors and uses.

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What about access to services?

Many services will be provided onsite; others are close by

Some residents have asked whether there are adequate services nearby to support the shelter. Many of the concerns appear to assume that the shelter will provide overnight sleeping accommodations only. That is not the case. This site is large enough to allow space both for night-time sleeping space and daytime activities and services.

Shelter residents will have 24-hour access to the facility. And they will have access to a range of services on site, including food, hygiene, storage, computers, and a variety of social services. The space will also be designed with an outdoor courtyard so that people can gather outdoors, socialize, smoke, etc. without having to leave the building.  

But the building is also close to several very important services. Within a short walk or bus ride there is the Worksource center, a community center, Portland Community College, a library, and a wide range of retail services on 82nd Avenue. There is not a concentration of facility-based social services. But because the site is close to frequent public transportation service, individuals needing to reach clinics and other site based services will be able to do so.

Some community members have suggested we open the shelter in the vacant Aaron’s on 82nd or in the Fred Meyer building that is soon to be vacant. We have looked at both. The Aaron’s building would be too small to meet the need. The Fred Meyer, on the other hand, is too large and too expensive.

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What about impacts on adjacent businesses and residents?

There will be no tolerance for criminal behavior at or near the shelter; there will be no tolerance for nuisance activity

This question applies to any new business or residential development. The shelter will be designed and run in a way that minimizes the impact on nearby businesses and residences. The shelter will be open 24 hours. That means no queueing in the evening or large releases of people into the neighborhood in the morning. Only people with reserved beds will have access to the shelter and the services provided there. There will be no walk-up traffic and no incentive for people who are not staying at the shelter to sleep outside or remain nearby during the day.

The shelter will have a screened off outdoor space, where shelter residents will be able to gather, keep larger belongings, animals, etc., thus cutting down the need to congregate on the sidewalks. Residents will be able to store their belongings in the shelter. That means they won’t have to carry their things with them when they leave the shelter, and there won’t be any accumulation of possessions on the sidewalks nearby.

Concerns have been raised about the how shelter residents might behave when they are in the neighborhood. Again, the situation is no different than when any other residential or commercial business moves into a neighborhood. The owner must set and enforce expectations of those who are being served. In this case, the shelter operator will have very clear expectations for residents regarding their behaviors both in the shelter and in the neighborhood.

There will be no tolerance for criminal behavior in or around the shelter. There will be no tolerance for nuisance activity that may not rise to the level of a crime. The shelter operator will work closely with immediately adjacent businesses and institutions to develop specific rules regarding whether and how residents of the shelter engage with those businesses and institutions.

The shelter operator will have sufficient staffing resources -- including security, if needed -- to enforce its rules. It will also fully partner with neighborhood and business associations to implement effective public safety strategies. And the operator will actively cooperate with law enforcement to hold any residents who do engage in criminal activity accountable for that activity.

Ultimately this shelter represents an opportunity for people enduring the traumas of homelessness to rebuild their lives. No one will be more invested in the success of the shelter and its positive integration into the community than those residents.

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What does it mean that this is a “low barrier” shelter?

it means Reducing obstacles that keep those who’d otherwise want shelter from actively seeking it

The primary goal of low-barrier shelter is to remove the obstacles that often keep someone who is unsheltered from coming into shelter. That does not, however, mean relaxing rules and expectations around conduct.

Unlike a traditional shelter, a “low-barrier” shelter welcomes people with their partners, their pets, and their possessions. And it accommodates people who have classes, appointments or job schedules that might not fit with prescribed entry and exit times.

Learn more: Read Transition Projects' guidelines and expectations for guests who are caring for pets or service animals. (PDF)

A low-barrier shelter also offers people access to the services they need, but doesn’t mandate participation in a particular program that may or may not work for them. For example, a low-barrier shelter does not require someone to sign up for a particular drug or alcohol treatment program as a condition of coming into shelter. But even though consenting to treatment is not required, residents with addiction disorders are nonetheless proactively encouraged to engage in treatment and receive support to help them do so once they are in the shelter.

The fact that sobriety is not a precondition for shelter also does not mean that residents are allowed to use on-site or near the shelter. Nor does it mean that they won’t be subject to criminal sanction if they engage in illegal activity in connection with their addiction.

Relatedly, some community members have understood “low-barrier” to mean that individuals who come to the shelter are not screened out based on their criminal history, and those community members have suggested that having a low-barrier shelter, in turn, presents a greater risk than having a higher-barrier shelter. In fact, criminal history screening is not part of any of our publicly funded shelters, whether they are low-barrier or not.

If a resident is on parole or probation, parole and probation officers, as they do throughout our community, enforce supervision terms. That includes requirements that they not be engaged in any illegal activity, and, if applicable, that they not reside in certain areas or within a certain distance from schools or child care centers. Anyone who resides in our shelters is expected, just like any other community member, to obey the law. And if they do not, they are subject to arrest and prosecution just like any other community member.  

The reason our community, like communities around the country, have moved toward opening “low-barrier” shelter is to reduce the number of people, especially people with significant disabling conditions, who are living entirely unsheltered and often disconnected from services. This is a better outcome for those individuals, as well as for the larger community that is otherwise affected by increased camping activity.

Last year, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness featured our community’s low-barrier strategy in a report on a national best practices. The federal report said the approach helps “to make emergency shelter work better for people who have historically avoided shelter” and would otherwise be sleeping outside in our neighborhoods, in tents or vehicles.

By creating safe and supported shelter opportunities for people struggling with disabling conditions -- including addiction disorders -- we can increase the likelihood they’ll get the treatment they need, and thereby improve their lives and the overall health of the community.

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Who will have access to this shelter?

Priority access is for people would otherwise sleep unsheltered in the immediate area

Our community-based shelters offer priority access to people who would otherwise sleep unsheltered in the immediate area. We set aside shelter beds, and prioritize waitlists, for people referred by businesses, residents, and law enforcement officers in the immediately surrounding neighborhoods. The same will be true for this shelter.

While all Multnomah County residents will be able to put themselves on the waitlist for this shelter, priority will be given to individuals referred from the local area. This policy helps ensure that the shelter reduces the current impact of unsheltered homelessness in the area.

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What does the timeline and community engagement process look like going forward?

Meetings with neighborhood, business groups lead to another community meeting

The Multnomah County Board of Commissioners voted to authorize a lease for the property Jan. 25, 2018, during its regular board meeting. On June 14, 2018, the Board voted unanimously to accept bids on a $3 million construction plan for the shelter, which is now expected to open in early 2019.

A group of neighbors, some who were critical of the shelter when it was announced, have been meeting with providers and Joint Office of Homeless Services staff since February, under the leadership of Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson, to discuss shelter operation details and craft a Good Neighbor Agreement.

Based on those conversations, we there have been three co-occurring conversations: (1) how the shelter will be programmed and how the community can be involved in oversight and support of the shelter; (2) overall public safety and health issues, and (3) plans for the continued economic revitalization of the area.

After these conversations, we will hold one or more follow-up large open houses to provide updates for anyone interested in what’s emerged from those conversations. At the same time, we will be having direct discussions with specific neighbors, including the Mt. Scott Learning Center, the 7-Eleven, and others as needed to address their specific concerns and develop any necessary strategies to ensure that the shelter is good neighbor.

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Severe Winter Weather Response is a Community Effort

Multnomah County experienced its first extended period of severe winter weather this season from the night of Saturday, Dec. 23, and the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 27.

During this time, hundreds of homeless people who would otherwise have been unsheltered found refuge in severe weather shelters. These shelters opened on demand with the help of scores of volunteers from the community.

In East Multnomah County, a new shelter site was opened at the Sunrise Center, with capacity for up to 60 people. That site was operated with a combination of staff from Transition Projects, community volunteers and Multnomah County employees.

In East Portland, the all volunteer-led Montavilla Warming Center opened and provided safety out of the cold for 25 people a night.

North Portland’s All One network of faith organizations continued its practice of offering warming shelter at University Park United Methodist Church, 4775 N Lombard St., and offered shelter to as many as 50 people per night.

In Portland’s central city, additional shelters opened. The Union Gospel Mission opened its facility as overnight shelter for upwards of 40 people per night. Portland Rescue Mission expanded its shelter capacity to nightly shelter an additional 50 people.

The Salvation Army’s Female Emergency Shelter (SAFES) opened extra space for the winter, in order to shelter an additional 35 women. And there is shelter space for families this winter at a shelter hosted by Congregation Beth Israel and operated by Portland Homeless Family Solutions.

The City of Portland and Multnomah County, in partnership with Transition Projects and the Imago Dei Community, opened two additional shelters, each with capacity to hold up 120 people per night - one at the Imago Dei Community and one at the Bud Clark Commons.  As with all the shelters, these also relied heavily on volunteers for overnight staffing.

For the first time this year, the warming centers were also staffed with Medical Reserve Corps members who were able to provide basic care to guests coming in from the severe weather and assist with triaging individuals who needed higher levels of care.

While not all the additional shelters were open each of the nights, more than 300 additional beds were available each night and no one was turned away from shelter. Over the course of the four nights, hundreds people received shelter who otherwise would have remained outside.

In addition to offering shelter, non-profit and volunteer outreach teams, partnering with first responders, conducted coordinated outreach during the day and at night throughout the event, contacting vulnerable individuals, offering them information and transportation to the shelters, as well as cold weather gear - blankets, tarps, hats, gloves, etc.

This was just the first of what are predicted to be several severe weather events this season. Our response depends on the entire community pulling together to care for those whose lives are at risk during these events.

Please support the organizations that are stepping up to provide shelter and outreach. You can be trained to volunteer in one of the shelters, you can donate cold weather gear, and you can provide financial support that helps organizations sustain their sheltering efforts.

For more information on how and where you can help, please visit 211info.org.