The tiny homes shelter project in Ontario. (The Enterprise/Liliana Frankel)

ONTARIO – Saint Alphonsus Medical Center Ontario is giving $10,000 to support the tiny house homeless shelter project headed by the city of Ontario and Community in Action.

Some $9,000 comes from the Saint Alphonsus Foundation, and the other $1,000 comes directly from the hospital itself.

Barb Higinbotham, executive director of Community in Action, said that the organization was pleased to receive the donations.

“The donation will be used to help build a community center that will provide needed restroom facilities, showers, and a small gathering space for shelter residents,” she said.

Though it is only 16 units and temporary, the shelter has provided important protection from winter weather for disabled and medically frail people and families experiencing homelessness. Homelessness is a significant problem in Ontario, where the majority of Malheur County’s more than 300-person homeless population is concentrated. That was reflected in Saint Alphonsus’s most recent Community Health Needs Assessment, which named affordable housing and homelessness as locals’ No. 1 concern.

“Everyone deserves equitable access to healthcare. They can’t get the care needed if they don’t have a stable place to live,” said Saint Alphonsus President Dina Ellwanger.

News tip? Contact reporter Liliana Frankel at [email protected] or 267-981-5577.

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