Wednesday, Jordan Menashe of Menashe Properties joined Think Out Loud to discuss his company’s decision to temporarily donate a commercial property to house the homeless.
The property, located at the intersection SW Fourth Avenue and SW Washington Street, opened Monday and is currently housing upwards of 100 homeless men each night.
Why should a real estate company get involved in housing Portland’s homeless?
“Why shouldn’t we?” said Menashe, whose family owns numerous office, retail and industrial properties in the Portland area.
Menashe recognizes the negative effects of the homeless population around these properties. He has concerns about showing his buildings to potential buyers visiting from other cities.
“It’s not good for those companies that are in San Francisco thinking about moving to Portland” he said.
Homelessness has also effected the Menashe family on a personal level. Menashe recalls his father Barry Menashe’s difficulty in reconciling the loss of a brother and sister who lived on and off the streets while dealing with mental illness.
Menashe says support for his company’s property donation efforts have been positive and other property owners in the Portland area who initially challenged the proposed shelter plan have begun to express support. Menashe has received an abundance of messages saying that they have inspired others to help, he added.
Menashe doesn’t necessarily think rising homelessness rates are directly connected to the rising values and rents of a hot real estate market. He sees the homeless issue as a lack of collective understanding and cooperation among the government, businesses and people in general.
“If we just are able to work together, a lot more will get solved,” he said.
Menashe says he wants to be clear that this building is being marketed for sale, but with a city-shelter licensing agreement lasting from three to six months, its immediate purpose is to help Portland’s homeless get through the winter season.
“When this closes, maybe someone else will step up,” he said. “That’s what we hope.”