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Homeless Family Winter Shelter full

On any night this winter, dozens of homeless families spend the night at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in east Portland. Dozens of kids fill the hallways including, from left, nine-year-old Marley McFallo, five-year-old Daniel and his seven-year-old brother Elisha Smith, six-year-old Jeremiah Moreno and eight-year-old Dante McFallo. Mid-county Memo photos/Tim Curran
The Homeless Family Winter Shelter accepts any family, in any state. Rebecca and Jeremy Knievel are expecting their baby to be born in January.
Denise Martin and her seven-year-old son Ezekial Gibson have been coming to the shelter every night since it opened in November. There is a need for on-call volunteer overnight hosts. To help, call shelter director Michael Lodge at 503-256-2280.
Every night, since the second week in November 13-year-old Jenny Nicol and her mom Ruby have been coming to the Homeless Winter Family Shelter. Jenny, who used to go to school in Beaverton, has not attended classes since then.
To meet the emergency needs of homeless families in the community this winter, 60 shelter beds were opened for homeless families with children in November by the Family Shelter-to-Housing Partnership, a group of faith-based and non-profit agencies. However, before November was over, the Homeless Family Winter Shelter exceeded its 60-person capacity.

Eastminster Presbyterian Church, 12505 N.E. Halsey St., houses the shelter and quickly made additional space in its Fellowship Hall available so no family would be turned away. Capacity has reached 83 on some nights.

Human Solutions, the agency that oversees the shelter, had to act quickly to accommodate the increased need.

Mid-county Memo readers' help is needed to supplement already tight resources. The current greatest need is for on-call volunteer overnight hosts.

One paid overnight staff will be on site during hours of operation. The staff member on duty stays awake all night and can serve up to 65 homeless parents and children without a volunteer. However, because numbers have been extremely high, additional help is needed.

An on-call volunteer host with the Family Winter Shelter will meet the following guidelines:
o Hosts will successfully pass a criminal background check.
o Hosts can be available with 24 hours notice between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.
o The overnight host will be able to sleep during the night, but must be available in case of an emergency.
o Hosts will be friendly and welcoming but also assist staff in enforcing shelter rules.
o Hosts will bring their own bedding and pillow. Sleeping mats will be provided.
o Hosts will refrain from use of alcohol or drugs during shift and will not report to shift under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Families are welcome to volunteer together as a family.

Please contact Michael Lodge, shelter director, at or 503-256-2280. Lodge can also talk to you about other volunteer opportunities and needs of the shelter.
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