The Mobile Hospitality Center
Since increasing numbers of the homeless–especially homeless families–are found outside the downtown area, our mobile hospitality center goes out to them. Wherever homeless clusters are gathered “Nightwatch on Wheels” may be found, providing the services of a temporary hospitality center, with all its warmth and fellowship, in an otherwise empty parking lot. Coffee and sandwiches are shared, blankets and warm clothing distributed, and a toilet provided for sanitary needs. Nurses attend to health needs in the on-board medical room, and referrals to other helping agencies are made.
Currently, the Mobile Center can be found in SE on Friday evenings.
Suppose the Mobile Hospitality Center appeared to serve the homeless in the neighborhood. How did it end up there, of all the other places it could have gone in Portland? What could you expect of it while it was there? What guidelines does it operate by?
- We go nowhere unless invited (usual scenario: local church/churches seek help in addressing the homeless in their area; Nightwatch provides training, guidance, security, infrastructure; volunteers who do the serving and provide nightly resources are all from the neighborhood themselves).
- If local support is not sustained, Nightwatch moves on.
- Of primary purpose is to create a safe space for all—volunteers, “guests,” staff, visitors—during our hours of operation; we discourage “street behavior,” fostering an atmosphere of civility; we will call the police if any illegal activity occurs in our presence; if those we serve do not comply with our rules we will shut down, pack up, and leave. We will not reward bad behavior.
- When an evening is complete, we clean up after ourselves, leaving the area as we found it; our goal is to leave without leaving any sign that we were there.