Eugene Police Downtown Team has taken up hammers and nails, along with Community Supported Shelters, CAHOOTS, Whitebird, and Eugene Springfield Fire EMS, to construct transitional Conestoga Huts for homeless individuals. The work builds relationships between the agencies, while using Community Safety System Bridge Funding to address homelessness issues on a broader level. The Conestoga Huts provide transitional housing for people without homes while they work towards finding more permanent solutions. The CORT team is in the process of constructing nine Conestoga huts with Community Supported Shelters.
The first resident, at 2nd and Chambers, moved in on May 2. He is a Community Court graduate and Community Outreach Response Team (CORT) client and the first to occupy one of the EPD sponsored Conestoga Huts. The Conestoga huts are being placed in various community locations in partnership with host sites throughout the City.
This program is funded by the Eugene City Council’s endorsement of an 18-month bridge-strategy of $8.6 million to address immediate community safety system needs, while it looks for longer-term solutions. This one-time funding was provided in December 2018 via the supplemental budget.
Eugene Police and other community safety partners including police, fire, 911, municipal court, homelessness, and related social services, have begun applying the bridge funding, which sunsets after June 2020. For EPD, that has meant not only this program, but also hiring police officers to create a Street Crimes Unit, as well as hiring dispatchers and community service officers, and expanding jail services.
Throughout 2018, the City Council met and worked with staff to gain a deeper understanding of the community safety system and issues. They examined possible strategies, received feedback from the community, and implement measures to address critical safety gaps. The need for longer-term system stability is estimated at approximately $23 million per year and the Eugene City Council is taking a look at possible funding options.
The Eugene Police Department and Community Outreach Response Team (CORT) is looking for additional host locations throughout the City. If you are interested partnering with the EPD in this project please contact Police Sergeant Julie Smith.