Court in session at Portland homeless shelter

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Multnomah County has opened the nation's first community court located directly in a homeless facility.

The court located in Bud Clark Commons convenes every Friday afternoon and aims to boost the appearance rate for homeless people charged with street crimes and link them with social service providers.

Unlike a traditional courthouse, Bud Clark Commons has a place for defendants to leave their pets, camping gear and shopping carts.

The court has been open for two Fridays and the difficulty of getting the homeless to show up remains vexing. So far, only one of the 25 defendants has appeared before the judge.

Officials hope to solve the problem by scheduling court dates closer to the day a citation issued.