(TargetLiberty.org) – On Monday, hundreds of asylum seekers in Portland were allowed into a basketball arena, as the city is trying to deal with the influx of immigrants at a time when there is limited housing on the market. This is the second time that Portland has had to use the Portland Exposition Building, a century-old red-brick gym that usually houses a minor league basketball team, as a migrant center.
The floor of the arena has been lined with cots that families can use to store their bags of clothes, food, and personal possessions. Across the nation, many communities are trying to find ways to deal with the increase in the number of asylum seekers, as the pending change in rules and regulations is expected to lead to another influx. A COVID-19 pandemic rule has halted the right of many immigrants to seek asylum until it expires in May.
Converting the basketball arena to a temporary shelter in Portland was a massive undertaking but the situation was not as frantic as it had been in 2019 when as Kristen Dow, Portland’s director of health and human services, the arena had to be prepared in 24 hours.
In 2023, there were more than 1,000 asylum seekers who arrived in Portland. Per night the city has had to shelter around 1,200 people. A new emergency shelter with 208 beds and the Exposition Building were both filled to capacity when they opened last month. As Dow disclosed the city does not have any more large spaces that it can use for housingt.
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