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Eugene and Lane County hold joint homelessness meeting

Tuesday night's meeting was all about addressing those current issues in the homeless services system, hearing recommendations to fix those issues, and create a system that better serves the homeless in our community.

Posted: Jan 22, 2019 11:03 PM
Updated: Jan 22, 2019 11:29 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene and Lane County officials held a joint work session on Tuesday to get insight into what services are working for the homeless population and what more are needed.

Tuesday night's meeting was all about addressing those current issues in the homeless services system, hearing recommendations to fix those issues, and create a system that better serves the homeless in our community.

"We must also stay focused on solutions that help move people towards permanent housing, not just tents," said County Administrator Steve Mohrohisky.

That is what the city and county are hoping this study from the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) will do.

TAC presented their study, focusing on their ten recommendations to officials to repair their homeless services.

One of their recommendations is five full-time equivalent outreach workers and one outreach coordinator.

TAC member Doug Tetrault said that would better serve the homeless community as a whole, rather than just the few that are actively seeking services.

"That also includes making sure that we're leveraging mobile technology," Tetrault said. "We're leveraging the ability for outreach workers to have the tools that they need. Not in their office, but where they really work, which is out in the field and in the city to make sure that they can communicate back to the larger housing network."

They also recommended the city and county create a low-barrier public shelter for 75 single people, that's centrally located near public transportation and operates 24/7 on city or county property.

Though there were some concerns about things like homeless families and homeless kids, as well as how much all of this could cost, most city and county officials, like Eugene City Councilor Chris Pryor, agreed that this report gave great insight and direction moving forward.

"Most of the things on this list, we've talked about," Pryor said. "We've talked about in the community. The problem has been that we talked about them individually and separately, like wheels that turn at different speeds and different directions, but they're not attached to anything. What you have done is bring all of those together, attach them to the car, and get all of them moving at the same time."

The city did approve three motions at the end of the meeting to approve the TAC report, have city and county administrations create a framework and plan to implement the recommendations given, and establish a steering committee to provide feedback throughout the planning process.

County officials will consider similar motions at a future meeting.

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