Portland Women's Center will be a reality

A center for homeless women in Portland will be built despite neighbors' complaints, Avesta Housing and Preble Street announced today. When the project was first proposed, developers hoped it would be finished by the end of this year. Now that a judge has approved the conditional rezoning that would allow the project to move forward, developers say it will be ready to house residents in the fall of 2009.

The Florence House will provide 25 furnished apartments, 15 safe-haven units, and 10 emergency beds, according to a press release sent out this morning. Preble Street will staff the center; Avesta will own and manage it. 

Last year, West Enders whose homes would be near the Florence House sued Avesta and the City of Portland to stop the construction, citing problems at a similar center -- Logan Place, on Frederic Street. Two particularly outspoken opponents were quoted in a July 2007 Portland Press Herald as claiming that "the four-story building would dwarf nearby homes, hurt property values and destroy what's left of one of the city's oldest neighborhoods, which has a high proportion of rental properties," the article reads. 

The ruling is a victory for homeless advocates in the city.

“For women who are homeless sleeping on mats on the floor at night and wandering the streets every day has been the norm for far too long,” according to Mark Swann, Preble Street Executive Director.  Florence House was conceived in response to the overflow at the Portland city shelter and the shortage of housing options. The need became an acute crisis when the YWCA closed and 60 additional housing units for women were lost.

Here's where the shelter will be: 


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