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Community outreach programs assist homeless during heat wave

“Our goal is to help keep people who live outdoors alive and keep those who are living outdoors with their pets alive,” Sielicki said.

Posted: Jun 26, 2021 7:03 PM

LANE COUNTY, Ore. ---- Several organizations in Lane County are working together to keep the unhoused population safe during the heatwave on Saturday.

Heather Sielicki with Carry It Forward said their efforts are extremely important this weekend in particular, due to the high temperatures.

“Our goal is to help keep people who live outdoors alive and keep those who are living outdoors with their pets alive,” Sielicki said.

She said her organization will work to deliver water and other necessities to unhoused people this weekend.

Her organization focuses mostly on the Eugene and Springfield area, but urges everyone that needs help to reach out, even if they aren’t in those areas.

Another organization working to help the homeless population in Bent Spoke Outreach.

Roger Jensen is the founder of Bent Spoke, an organization that also focuses on assisting the unhoused.

He said his goal for the weekend and beyond is to provide support for homeless people that are in hard-to-reach places like bike paths.

“Many people can't go to the cooling centers because that would require them leaving their camp,” Jensen said, “ They can't necessarily take their camp to the cooling centers so they’re stuck waiting it out in the heat.

Both Jensen and Sielicki said while they are putting their best foot forward to support these communities this weekend, they believe that more support from the surrounding community should be provided.

“We don’t have a coordinated disaster response plan for extreme weather for the unhoused population,” Sielicki said, “a lot of the time we’re scrambling to find resources.”

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