Center for Hope and Safety plans to open doors to motel shelter later this month

Later this month, the Center for Hope and Safety hopes to open the doors on a project that will more than double its current capacity to shelter survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

A northeast Salem motel will now serve as transitional housing for survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

The center purchased a motel in May for $4.7 million with Legislative funding administered by the Oregon Community Foundation.

The Oregon Legislature allocated $65 million for a program called Project Turnkey used to acquire distressed motels or hotels for use as shelter for people experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.

The Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action agency was also awarded funding through the program. 

Jayne Downing, executive director, said the motel provides shelter and stabilization for people who don’t need to be in a confidential location. She said the center doesn’t want to disclose the exact location of the motel until it opens.

“We have some folks who are ready to go into permanent housing and they are waiting until that place comes available,” she said.

She said they’ll be able to serve 30 additional families through the motel, but don’t plan to increase capacity all at once. There are 52 rooms, but some will be combined so families will fit.

Downing said she hoped to have the motel open in October, but the nonprofit is facing the same construction delays and supply chain issues that have plagued many projects during the pandemic.

The new space will allow families to have their own bathroom and kitchenette, offering more privacy for those recovering from trauma.

Two years ago, Downing said there were a lot of victims walking to the center’s office.

But the pandemic changed that, causing more people to call the center’s hotline for help even though the number of contacts remaining relatively the same

From July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021 the center had 33,000 contacts.

Its existing domestic violence shelter serves about 20 people.

Downing said when the motel opportunity came up it was scary.

“The further we got along in the process, the more excited we were about what we were going to be able to do with it,” she said.

The nonprofit hired three additional shelter advocates for the site.

Downing said the most exciting piece is being able to serve more families.

They’re hoping to turn the motel pool, which has been drained, into an indoor play space for children.

“This gives up opportunities to do things in a really different way that we hope is going to help families,” she said.

Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected].

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