Eugene will open more sites as part of the Safe Sleep program for the homeless

Eugene officials have voted to move forward with plans to extend the end date of Safe Sleep sites as two more are scheduled to open this summer.

Safe Sleep sites, which are city-funded places where people can legally sleep in vehicles, tents or other structures, have so far served more than 350 people, staff told the city council during of a working session.

Councilors initially approved the sites to operate until May 1, 2023, and voted 7-1 on Wednesday to hold a public hearing on an order that would extend that expiry date. Staff recommended pushing it back to July 1, 2024.

By the end of the year, she said, the city expects there to be 300 sites available in five approved locations.

  • 310 Garfield: A site at approximately 310 Garfield St. opened Oct. 4 and houses up to 55 vehicles on 5 acres owned by Lane Transit District.
  • Chase Commons: A future neighborhood park site of approximately 4 acres at the intersection of Commons Drive and South Garden Way.
  • All Villages: A 3.55 acre site just north of the intersection of Dani and Janisse streets opened in December and is a mix of vehicles and small shelters. Councilors also voted on Wednesday to allow multiple groups of tents on the site.
  • 410 Garfield: A 27,300 square foot building at 410 Garfield St. opened Feb. 22 and has 86 tents set up inside.
  • Rosa Village: A future 3.3-acre site at 2243 Roosevelt Blvd., owned by SquareOne Villages, that could grow from six pallet shelters to 40 total sleeping units

Both locations on Garfield Street and Everyone Village are open. All three are full with waiting lists of at least 250 people each, according to the city’s website.

Peter Chavannes, policy manager for the city’s homeless support systems, said he thinks some people are likely on multiple waiting lists.

“People are trying to take shelter wherever they can,” he said.

Rosa Village and Chase Commons are not yet accepting applications, but both are expected to open later this year, staff said. Eugene chose Carry It Forward as the contractor on both sites.

Residents have seen success at the sites, Watjus said, including better health and well-being. There have been limited outflows to permanent accommodation, she said, but it is “too early to offer a meaningful assessment” of these numbers, as the navigation and health services funded by the county are not yet in place on all sites.

“Services are really important,” Watjus said. “Without these, particularly in our housing market, we would expect housing outcomes to be limited at this point.”

It’s clear that while there have been successes at the venues, there aren’t enough, Councilor Alan Zelenka said.

He also expressed concerns about the cost, given that the city uses one-time funding to set up and pay for the operation of the venues.

“It’s an expensive thing to do, and we don’t have enough funding to do it all,” Zelenka said. “And, more importantly, we don’t have a dedicated source of permanent, dedicated funding that we really need to make it sustainable.”

Related:Safe Sleep sites, other efforts to shelter people cost Eugene ‘a ton of money’

Chavannes presented slides showing that the venues cost $3.73 million to operate each year and that the city plans to spend $595,000 developing the venues that will open soon.

According to the presentation, development and operating expenses through July 1, 2024 will cost $8.1 million.

Lane County is also funding navigation and health services to the tune of $933,883. That funding is secure through the end of the upcoming fiscal year, Chavannes said, but the city should coordinate with the county to continue it through the summer of 2024 if Eugene officials push back the date. expiration of Safe Sleep sites.

Contact city government watchdog Megan Banta at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @MeganBanta_1.