The number of people who are unsheltered in the community outweighs the number of shelter beds and low-income housing units currently available—a situation which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. Identifying additional locations where people can safely and legally stay with basic infrastructure, hygiene stations, and support is important and has been a model that has proven to be very successful in our community.
Programs like the City’s Rest Stops, Opportunity Village, and the Designated Temporary Shelter Sites recently established as an emergency response to COVID-19 have all demonstrated the transformation that people can experience when having a safe and secure place to be, stay dry, get their basic needs met, and receive support to increase their overall stability. The microsite is built off of those models but is smaller. Microsites support our community’s reopening by balancing the varying needs for safety and recovery for the unhoused community.
What is a microsite?
A microsite is a location that provides transitional shelter to a small group of individuals who are currently experiencing homelessness. Up to six Conestoga huts or tents are allowed via City Code 4.816. The site is managed by a nonprofit social service provider who is responsible for maintaining the site, providing supervision and oversight, and supporting the residents.
The City tries its best to find workable sites that minimize impacts to neighbors and sensitive areas. The land must be suitable for the type of use (flat and dry) and have road access. Central locations near access to public transportation and services are important. Sites are not located in environmentally sensitive areas.
- Skinner City Farm
This site at Skinner City Farm offers an opportunity to activate and ideally even improve a currently unused space, with the possibility for the microsite to establish and tend new garden spaces.
- Eugene Mission
This site is on land provided by the Eugene Mission at no cost.
City staff continue to seek additional sites, exploring both public and private property partnerships. Neighborhoods, organizations, or businesses interested in hosting or sponsoring a microsite can contact City of Eugene Homeless Services Staff at 541-682-8442.
The local nonprofit organization Community Supported Shelters (CSS) operates both the Skinner City Farm and Eugene Mission microsites. CSS has extensive experience operating programs under this model.
Who is eligible?
Individuals 18 or over who are experiencing homelessness are eligible to apply for a space. Applicants are screened to determine if they are a good fit. Once at the site, CSS will work to connect residents with support and resources to help them move toward a more permanent housing solution.
How are the sites kept healthy and safe?
Residents sign agreements to abide by rules of the site, and the nonprofit operator provides ongoing supervision and oversight. There is zero tolerance for violent or threatening behavior, or alcohol or drug use onsite. There are onsite restrooms, hand washing stations, and garbage collection bins that are serviced weekly. Best practices for water, handling and preparing food, cooking and cleaning, heating, waste management and illness prevention are followed. Children must be supervised and are prohibited from staying overnight. Residents are expected to keep the site tidy, refrain from disruptive behavior and be good neighbors. The sites are also fenced to control access and promote safety. Site management also includes weekly meetings of residents to discuss any concerns or areas and ideas for site improvement.
If you have questions about microsites, please contact the City Manager’s Office staff at 541-682-8442.