Lane County considers 'permanent, low-barrier public shelter' on Hwy 99 in Eugene
EUGENE, Ore. - Lane County is evaluating property being used as a temporary homeless camp on Highway 99 north of Roosevelt Boulevard "as a future permanent, low-barrier public shelter."
“Our long-term vision is to create a pathway that connects people to a variety of options, from shelter to permanent, supportive and affordable housing,” said Lane County Administrator Steve Mokrohisky. “A coordinated campus of services that includes food and shelter, as well as connections to mental and physical health, and housing and workforce services is key to creating an accountable system that ends the cycle of homelessness.”
The proposal calls for using 1.5 acres of land and two existing buildings.
"County officials are working with several partners, including the City of Eugene, to determine existing building conditions, site opportunities and constraints, and impacts to the surrounding area," the county said in a statement Tuesday.
The results of the evaluation and preliminary recommendations will be shared at the January 22 joint Board of County Commissioners (Board) and Eugene City Council (Council) meeting to discuss the final Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) report regarding a public shelter. The TAC report was presented to the Board and Council in October and recommended the development of a low-barrier public shelter as one critical strategy to address homelessness. The TAC report also identified the need for significant investment in permanent supportive housing and noted that permanent housing solutions represent the most successful strategy for ending homelessness.
The County also announced that the temporary homeless camp known as Camp 99 "will begin to transition to a more structured and sustainable Dusk to Dawn temporary shelter model managed by St. Vincent De Paul in early January 2019."
The County set up the camp in October as a temporary, 30-60 day measure to help create a safer and healthier camping location for nearly 100 people who had been camping on the downtown Butterfly Lot," according to Lane County. "The current camp does not have the infrastructure or management support needed to sustain it as a safe and healthy place for the people it is serving over a longer period of time."
“Our goal continues to be to identify safe and healthy options,” said Lane County Health and Human Services Director Karen Gaffney. “We have been working diligently with our partners at the City of Eugene and St. Vincent de Paul, as well as others, to connect individuals at Camp 99 with other resources and programs that already exist within our community, including hosting social service and medical provider fairs and individual needs assessments.”
The County said "the current camp does not have the infrastructure or management support needed to sustain it as a safe and healthy place for the people it is serving over a longer period of time."
Dusk to Dawn, operated by St. Vincent de Paul, has a proven track record of effectiveness, provides a management structure that ensures the safety and security of participants, is more accessible for people with disabilities, and integrates seamlessly with services offered at the Lindholm Service Center. Transitioning the current Camp 99 into a Dusk to Dawn site will also provide heating and consistent, adequate protection through the coldest months of the year for up to 80 people.
The County plans to ask the Eugene City Council to approve Camp 99 as a Dusk to Dawn site at the December 12 council meeting.
"Lane County is beginning the process to notify individuals currently located at Camp 99 of the coming change and how they can participate," the county said.
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