The Salem City Council approved the placement of 20 pallet homes at a city-owned property on Portland Road Northeast to be used as unsheltered residents.

“This investment is an important step in achieving one of our top council priorities,” said Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett in a press release. “As we work together to solve Salem’s homelessness issues, we must also be open to innovative solutions like the pallet shelters that have proved to be a successful and affordable solution in other cities.”

The pallet shelters, which will cost Salem $5,000 each, are designed to accommodate single individuals and couples with electricity, warmth, and added security.

Current plans for the pallet shelter program include Church at the Park serving around the clock as the on-site shelter manager. Additional vehicle camping will also be permitted in combination with the pallet homes.

With COVID-19 precautions in place, shelter capacity in the region is limited. Navigation centers, designed for 90-day transition for unsheltered people into housing programs, are under consideration at the Oregon Legislature. Salem is on a shortlist of communities that may receive operational support to open this kind of low-barrier housing shelter.

“Solving homelessness in our region is not something the City of Salem can do alone,” said Bennett. “We need the support of our community and state to increase shelter spaces, provide easier access to mental and health care services for unsheltered populations and work to reduce barriers that lead to local homelessness.”

For more information about the current projects, the City of Salem is working on for unsheltered populations including homeless rental assistance vouchers, financial support of area non-profits and tax incentives for developers focused on low-income housing developments, visit www.cityofsalem.net/housing or email [email protected]