Sara Fleurant has been picked to be the next director of Portland’s largest homeless shelter.

Sara Fleurant

Fleurant will replace Rob Parritt as director of the 154-person Oxford Street Shelter. Parritt resigned in October after serving as shelter director for nearly a decade, and Meagan Void has served since as interim shelter director.

Parritt left the job last fall, citing the stresses of managing a shelter that regularly exceeds its capacity. Parritt also wanted to spend more time with his family – he is married and has three young children.

“There’s only so much in the well and mine is pretty much run dry. You can’t do my job once you get to that point,” Parritt told the Portland Press Herald.

Sara Fleurant, right, is the new director of the Oxford Street Shelter. She is shown in 2013 working with a co-worker to search along the railroad tracks behind Deering Oaks park in Portland during an annual survey of homelessness in Portland. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Fleurant has worked for Portland for the last nine years in a variety of roles, city’s spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said in a statement.

Fleurant will be responsible for managing the administrative operations of the Oxford Street Shelter as well as managing programs to reduce homelessness. She will also be involved in the city’s efforts to create a new homeless services center.

“We are extremely excited to have Sara in this new role,” said Kristen Dow, acting director of the city’s Health and Human Services Department. “She has been a valued staff member of the Oxford Street Shelter for several years and will bring a unique and expanded perspective to the role of shelter director.”

Fleurant worked for four years as a community policing coordinator for the Portland police and for three years at the shelter as an attendant and human services counselor.

Since July 2018, she has been in charge of coordinating housing and support services for homeless shelter clients.

Fleurant holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Smith College.

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