Introducing Lilac Meadows

We are thrilled to share the news with you that our emergency shelter program for families has found a new permanent home! In partnership with the Joint Office of Homeless Services (a combined City or Portland and Multnomah County effort), Our Just Future will be moving our program that supports families through homelessness into a wonderful new shelter called Lilac Meadows in SE Portland, where the need is so great.

“The new location for Our Just Future’s family shelter program is exactly right. Families will have the privacy they need to be safe and the support our experienced team offers to get back on their feet and attain the housing and economic stability they are striving for. We are really looking forward to moving into our new space!”

— Marci Cartagena, Emergency Services Director, Human Solutions

Our Just Future has been providing emergency shelter and pathways back to permanent housing for families experiencing homelessness for decades. Over the years, we have updated our programs based on best practices and an evolving understanding locally and nationally about how to best work with families experiencing homelessness so they can quickly and sustainably move forward into their own safe, affordable place to call home –  something we believe everyone deserves. Stable housing is the essential first step towards long-term economic security.

Best practices for providing emergency shelter for families

To open Lilac Meadows, Multnomah County is “master leasing” an existing motel that we will lightly update to best serve families experiencing homelessness. Our Just Future will sublease the motel from the County and operate it as a shelter. Residents of Lilac Meadows will enjoy the privacy that works best for families – something lacking in older-style mass shelters where everyone sleeps in the same room. We worked actively with the Joint Office of Homeless Services to identify a location that offers amenities families need, like a nearby park, grocery stores within walking, access to public transit and ample parking (among other things). In this new home, we can accommodate up to 40 families at a time. Our Just Future will provide families at Lilac Meadows with caring support, help accessing community services and assistance finding and securing their next permanent home. We have a strong track record with helping families find permanent housing – and keep it!

Redeveloping the former shelter site into permanent affordable housing

You may recall that last year we decided with the County to close the Our Just Future Family Center due to a need for unexpectedly costly facility repairs needed to keep the building in working order. We had opened the shelter in 2016 during a period of intense and growing need. When we purchased the Family Center property, our plan was – and still is – to use the well-worn building as a temporary shelter for a handful of years, then redevelop the site into badly-needed affordable housing. We are now actively planning for this new permanent affordable housing community in close collaboration with neighborhood stakeholders. Stay tuned for news as this project moves forward. We are very excited about the potential for this site!

How can you help?

Our emergency shelter programs are actively supported by community members – in fact, we couldn’t do what we do without you! If you’d like to be part of this exciting opening and ongoing family program, here are our top needs at the moment (stay tuned, needs change over time!):

  • Make a gift to our fundraising campaign! Our Just Future is responsible for on-site programming for kids, three meals per day for all residents, staff training, garden beds, and more. Click here to donate to Our Just Future programs!
  • Make & serve meals. Our Just Future prides itself on providing nutritious meals for shelter residents three times a day plus an after-school snack for kids. Contact our amazing Volunteer and Donations Coordinator to learn more and sign up: (503) 278-1637 or
  • Shop our Amazon Wish List. This has got to be the most effective way to donate exactly what we need! Shelter staff maintain this Wish List so you know you are donating exactly what is needed. Check it out and send what feels right to you. We’ll put it all to good use!

As we prepare to move in and settle into our new space with resident families, we will keep you updated about milestones and changing needs. THANK YOU for all that you do to lend a helping hand to community members struggling to find housing stability in this difficult market and against so many structural barriers thrown up by a system that simply does not work for everyone.

If you would like additional information about the new shelter, please visit the Joint Office’s web site.

We deeply appreciate the incredible community support that has long been afforded to families experiencing homelessness in our area and look forward to continuing that trend as we transition to this new location.