Portland Housing Bureau Director Traci Manning and PHB staff helped welcome the Salvation Army Female Emergency Shelter (SAFES) into its new home yesterday. SAFES staff held a celebration for its return to a beautifully renovated Harbor Light Center. The space provides shelter for more than 50 women each night.
The Portland Housing Bureau is proud to partner with SAFES, which is a critical part of the Safety Net. SAFES operates roughly one third of our city’s emergency shelter for women experiencing homelessness.
Mayor Charlie Hales and the Portland City Council demonstrated their commitment to SAFES. In the face of very difficult City budgeting choices, Mayor Hales has proposed a budget that provides ongoing funding for this and other crucial safety net services.
On any given night, more than 780 women are homeless in Multnomah County and these women are subject to unique risks. Thirty-five percent of homeless women surveyed in our one-night count of homelessness reported being affected by domestic violence. We believe that is a significant undercount. National studies indicate that a significant percentage of homeless women have experienced domestic or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Up to half of homeless women say that domestic or sexual violence was an immediate cause of their homelessness. Women of color are particularly vulnerable. They are over represented on the street.
SAFES is sheltering and providing support services for some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens. Their work, in partnership with the City of Portland, has helped to move SAFES from solely providing shelter—in itself, an important goal—to also preventing and ending homelessness with rapid rehousing.
Living in a home is the foundation to safety and stability for all vulnerable Portlanders. We welcome SAFES into a new home and know it will lead to new homes for the women it serves.