On the corner of Southeast Washington Street and Fifth Avenue in Hillsboro stands an old house with a brand new makeover. 100 years old actually and until recently was known as Wehrung. But its dramatic makeover called for a new name Garrett Lee Smith Safe Haven House, after Republican Sen. Gordon Smith's son, who committed suicide in 2003 from depression.
Washington County isn't the farming community it once was. We are urban now and have to deal with urban issues, namely homelessness. Every night, 10 men and women with mental illnesses and a history of homelessness bed down at Safe Haven. The facility, run by Luke-Dorf Inc., a Tigard-based organization with treatment centers throughout Washington County, is the county's first facility geared toward chronically homeless individuals.
This facility is not meeting the current demand. Next door to the Garrett Lee Smith Safe Haven House they are building a 15-bed facility called The Hillsboro Graduated Independent Living Program. This one will be geared toward homeless people with mental illnesses and drug and alcohol addictions and is scheduled to open Oct. 31. This is a positive trend that includes A Safe Place for Youth which is a shelter for homeless teens, opened in April, at 454 S.E. Washington St. It's a good thing to offer services outside of downtown Portland where it can be more dangerous.
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