EUGENE, Ore. -- Lane County leaders said Monday homelessness continues to be a top priority heading into the new year.
During the State of the County address, Commissioner Pete Sorenson said the number of homeless in our area increased by nearly 25% from 2018 to 2019, reaching 2,165, according to the Point in Time count.
In 2019, county leaders declared an emergency over the housing problem.
“The declaration also reflects our awareness that most -- if not all -- of our community-based services are operating at capacity,” Sorenson said.
Sorenson said steps to curb homelessness have been taken through short-term emergency housing, as well as more long-term solutions, like The Commons on MLK, a 51-unit apartment complex near Autzen Stadium designed for the homeless.
Sorenson said leaders will continue to work to make more housing available.
“We're also meeting with our partners at Homes for Good and the City of Eugene to explore a process to incentivize landlords to make their properties available to people who are homeless,” Sorenson said.
Lane County and the City of Eugene are looking for land to build a 75-bed shelter as a partial solution.
During his speech Monday, Sorensen also talked about improvements to the local economy, infrastructure and environmental measures, icluding a new climate action plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions.