Fundraising campaign launched to convert jail into homeless shelter

Chain link fence

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — A major fundraising effort has been launched to convert the never-used Wapato Jail into a shelter for homeless people.

Helping Hands Reentry Outreach Centers hosted an event to kickoff its “I Believe” campaign Saturday.

The Seaside-based nonprofit currently operates 11 shelters in Oregon, and is now looking to turn the Wapato Jail in north Portland into an emergency shelter and program-based transitional housing facility.

Developer Jordan Schnitzer owns Wapato Jail. He’s holding off on a previously planned demolition of the building to all allow Helping Hands to raise the necessary funds to utilize it as a shelter.

Schnitzer is also donating $1 million to the project.

“If this facility can help 500 more people get off the street, then that’s something all of us in this community should step forward and try to achieve,” Schnitzer said.

If Helping Hands can raise the needed funds, organizers hope to have the shelter up and running by next summer.