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Burnside Shelter

Freezing Temperatures Threaten Portland Homeless


As temperatures dip into the teens at night in the Portland area, homeless men, women, and children without shelter are at a much-increased risk of hypothermia, frost bite, even death.

It’s terrible. You’re freezing. One night I just about froze my feet off. Fortunately someone told me about a warming center that had just opened up. I got lucky. ~George

To combat the cold weather this week, we are doing everything we can to keep these people safe. We’ve added additional severe weather beds at our Burnside Shelter to bring our nightly shelter count to 174. We are already the largest year-round provider of overnight shelter for the city’s homeless population.


We are also opening a warming center downtown that will be available Wednesday through Friday this week to anyone in need of refuge from the frigid cold weather. Homeless friends will be able to come in and stay warm while we engage in conversation with them, play movies, and offer snacks. All services are provided free of charge, supported entirely by friends like you.

Sleeping when it’s freezing outside hurts. It’s just so…cold. You don’t sleep. You get scared not knowing if you’re going to get stabbed or kicked or have your stuff stolen. ~Vinson



“During the winter months, shelter is essential to the survival of homeless people. The demand for emergency shelter beds in Portland continues to grow, but there are not enough beds for the people who need them,” says Executive Director Eric Bauer. “We continue to do everything possible with our limited space to meet this growing need.”

I was homeless last year. I would drink just because it helped me tolerate being freezing cold. You can’t sleep at all. One time the Mission ran out of blankets and couldn’t give me one. It’s terrible to not even have a blanket. ~Patrick

In addition to providing shelter and a warming center this week for people to get inside during the day, we also offer warm clothing and hot meals every single day of the year. We supply thousands of cold weather items to homeless people throughout the winter, and as temperatures plummet, so does our supply of blankets, socks, underwear, gloves, and jeans. Your generous donations of blankets, socks, gloves, jeans, jackets, and other warm apparel help our donation bins stocked for people who desperately need to stay warm.

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The best place I found for warmth, clothing, food and information was right here at Portland Rescue Mission. I felt comfortable and safe. I could warm up and get out of the rain. ~Larry

You can help by donating new or gently used items to our Burnside Shelter (111 W. Burnside St) or to Shepherd’s Door (13207 NE Halsey St). Thank you for partnering with us during this extremely cold week – and all year round – to help give hope to our hurting, homeless friends on the streets of Portland.