As our region continues to respond to COVID-19, the City of Eugene, in conjunction with Lane County and the White Bird Clinic, has developed designated temporary emergency sheltering and support plans for the unhoused community. Existing temporary shelter sites at Amazon and Hilyard community centers, which opened April 6, are currently filled. Two additional shelter sites will open the week of April 13 in the parking lots of the Petersen Barn Community Center. Located at 870 Berntzen Rd., the sites will provide space for six vehicles and six tent spots.
The City of Eugene is focused on strategies that will “flatten the curve,” such as a distribution site for basic supplies, designated temporary shelter sites, outreach to unhoused individuals, and basic sanitation and hygiene. These strategies reduce the need for people to travel around the community to access basic needs and shelter. This work is consistent with CDC guidance on protecting people experiencing homelessness and the broader community from the spread of COVID-19.
Designated Temporary Shelter Sites
Designated temporary shelter sites are locations where small groups of people (up to 10 people or six tents) can stay in tents or vehicles with appropriate physical distancing and will be supported with hygiene stations (portable restrooms and handwashing stations), food and supplies, and welfare check-ins. The locations also have privacy fencing in place to help support the security of the site. The sites are managed by White Bird and Carry It Forward, local homeless service providers.
The first two designated temporary shelter sites are located in the parking lots of the Amazon and Hilyard community centers. The third location is in the parking lots of the Petersen Barn Community Center. Spaces in the sites are available by referral only. Individuals must go to the White Bird distribution site, at 341 E 12th Ave., first to be assigned to a designated temporary shelter location. The White Bird distribution site is open seven days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Individuals who are already safely sheltering in place elsewhere are advised to stay where they are and access supplies through the distribution site or outreach teams rather than relocating to these sites.
Basic Sanitation and Hygiene Stations Continue
With a focus on increasing hygiene in the community to limit the spread of COVID-19, the City of Eugene has continued to add to the number of publicly available restrooms. The City’s Emergency Operations Center distributed nearly 40 portable restrooms around the city. There are also approximately 50 handwashing stations throughout Eugene. View all of the portable restrooms and handwashing station locations through our online mapping portal. According to the Centers for Disease and Control, regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others, including COVID-19.
Outreach to Support Basic Needs and Stay-In-Place
The City has been conducting outreach to unhoused individuals to ensure basic needs are being met for those experiencing homelessness, allowing them to stay in place as much as possible during this emergency. Outreach teams are canvassing the parks and rights of way throughout Eugene and are passing out food, water, gear, hygiene supplies, and education and up-to-date information on COVID-19.
Teams are also monitoring the current situation throughout the unhoused community and providing information regarding available shelter options. The creation of a centralized distribution site also allows unhoused individuals to get necessary supplies to shelter in place.