Support for Unhoused
(Updated June 1, 2020)
Response Strategies for Unhoused
In alignment with Lane County Public Health and CDC guidance, the City of Eugene’s COVID-19 initial response strategies to support people experiencing homelessness aimed at reducing the need for people to move around the community and supported a shelter in place approach.
- Portable restrooms and handwashing stations
We distributed over 70 portable restrooms and about 60 hand washing stations throughout the community to support sanitation and hygiene needs. See a map of the portable restrooms and handwashing stations.
- Distribution site
We provided essential supplies through our month-long contract with White Bird Clinic – serving an average of 48 people per day during that time.
- Outreach teams
We stood up mobile outreach teams to reach out to people sheltering where they were, monitor community health, provide COVID-19 education and essential hygiene needs, and give appropriate referrals to services.
- Designated temporary shelter sites
We established designated temporary shelter sites to provide spaces where small groups of people could camp in tents or vehicles with appropriate physical spacing. These temporary sites, located in the parking lots of the Amazon, Hilyard and Petersen Barn Community Centers, are supported with hygiene stations, food and supplies, and welfare checks. The sites are managed by local social service providers.
Response Efforts Accomplished with Critical Community Partnerships
Through Phase 1 we’ve also seen little spread of COVID-19 among our homeless populations. Lane County Public Health has performed some surveillance testing in the unhoused community, many who are utilizing the respite sites, with no positive cases identified.
The efforts to respond quickly to mobilize a pandemic response for the safety and wellbeing of all community members was accomplished with the incredible support of the critical community partnerships that made this work possible – including partners like White Bird Clinic, Carry It Forward, Occupy Medical, Community Supported Shelters, Food for Lane County and St. Vincent DePaul. They deserve a great deal of credit and thanks for supporting the most vulnerable people in the community.
Reopening and Recovery
As we anticipate progressing to Phase 2 in Lane County, we are preparing to move from responding to the outbreak to supporting community reopening and recovery.
We know COVID-19 has created a new landscape in providing services to people experiencing homelessness. Our goal is to balance the varying needs for safety and recovery.
- While we will continue to provide restroom and handwashing stations to support sanitation and hygiene, we anticipate reducing the number and basing their distribution on the level of use and placement at key locations.
- The Mobile Outreach Teams will shift their focus to linking people to resources and services, as previously envisioned in the Lane County Shelter Feasibility Study.
- We have begun engaging our temporary shelter residents in rapid resolution strategies to help move people to more stable situations within their own networks where possible. Recognizing the need for placements beyond our existing program capacity, we also plan to pursue the expansion of our existing programs, including establishing new sites, in order to accommodate those currently at our temporary shelters. We will pursue both micro sites (within the permitted overnight sleeping ordinance) and Rest Stops. We will collaborate with social service providers, neighborhood leaders and other community partners in this work.