June 16, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

June 21 meeting at Alluvium to discuss community response to two-hour evictions

3 min read
The meeting will discuss how neighbors can respond to the city's ongoing human rights violations, as reported by the UO Catalyst Journalism Project and Eugene Weekly.

Local activists will meet at Alluvium June 21 to learn what it takes to manage an established camp.

[00:00:08] Lynn Porter (Homeless Action): The focus of the meeting will be how can we quickly set up more homeless camping shelter at the lowest possible costs so we can get more of it.

[00:00:22] We’ll have a speaker from Community Supported Shelters. They have years of experience running their own ‘Safe Spots.’

[00:00:31] A really small fraction of the homeless are presently sheltered. Most of them are just camping wherever they can until the city moves them on. That’s basically the city’s policy is to keep them moving.

[00:00:44] Yeah, so we’re trying to think of a cheaper way to do it and a lot more of it: What can we do at low cost? And how can we do it quickly, you know, hopefully before it gets cold in the fall and people start dying again on the streets, which they do every winter.

[00:00:59] I would like shelter spread all over the city. I think that’s a big piece of what we’ve been missing, is being able to put it in residential areas. More simple, more low-cost, and widely dispersed.

[00:01:13] We’ve got lots of ideas, but CSS has lots of reality. It’s complicated. There’s a lot of things to consider.

[00:01:21] And then we’ll open it up to discussion both on Zoom and at Alluvium and just hear what people think.

[00:01:30] John Q: Eugene Weekly and the UO Catalyst Journalism project reported the city is evicting unhoused campers with just two hours’ notice. With the recap:

[00:01:39] Lynn Porter: There’s the state law that says they should give them 72 hours but it says for “established camps.” And the city attorney has just decided to interpret that as meaning it’s there for more than 24 hours. Well, so they make them move before the 24 hours are up. That’s how they’re getting around the state law and only giving them two hours to move.

[00:02:04] And everybody cannot move that fast. You know, you’ve got to consider, they’ve got to carry everything on their backs: their tents, their sleeping bags, everything else that they own. It’s exhausting. It’s exhausting to keep constantly moving. It raises their stress levels. It makes them harder for—

[00:02:23] There are a lot of volunteers in Eugene who work with the homeless, sort of as unpaid social workers, to try to help them out. And they’ve told the city council that it’s really important that they be able to find these people on a consistent basis, to build up a relationship, and to try to help them.

[00:02:44] And if you require them to move every two hours or whatever, it’s basically, when they find them. It makes it impossible or much more difficult for people to help them.

[00:02:56] The city (of Eugene) moves excruciatingly slowly on everything they do and they’ve moved very slowly on providing homeless shelter. They have made a lot of progress. I’ll give ’em that. There are all kinds of shelter out there.

Most recently, they’ve created ‘safe sleep sites,’ which puts a lot of people on one site and requires a whole lot of management. But they’re very expensive to set up and maintain, and they used one-time federal funding to do that, and at this point, to my knowledge, they don’t know where the funding is going to come from.

[00:03:32] And so we’re trying to think of really low-cost, small ways to set up widely dispersed camps, sites all over Eugene. And our main advisor for that is Community Supported Shelters, since they have the experience—they’ve actually run camps—and some good ideas about how it would be different from the rest spots/safe spots.

So I hope everybody will tune in for the meeting, either on Zoom or at Alluvium.

[00:04:08] John Q: Join Lynn Porter in learning about homeless camp management from Community Supported Shelters. Come in person to Alluvium, 810 West 3rd, or join by Zoom on Wednesday June 21 at 6 p.m.

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