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Eugene Apartment Complex Will Rent Exclusively To Chronically Homeless People

Tiffany Eckert

Next month, construction will begin on Lane County’s newest housing project to address chronic homelessness. The 51-unit complex, called The Commons on MLK, will go up across the street from Autzen Stadium in Eugene. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert walked the site and has this report.

Right now, it’s a grassy tree-lined field—a popular location for tail-gaters on game days. By next winter, it will be home to formerly homeless people. Homes for Good Housing Agency will oversee the building project. Jacob Fox is Executive Director.

He says the plan to build affordable housing so close to Lane County Behavioral Health was no accident.

“The synergy between a Housing First project directly adjacent to a behavioral health clinic is absolutely a win/win for the people who will live in this apartment community and call it their home.”

And who gets to reside here? Fox says Lane County and  ShelterCare have identified people who have been homeless longest and use emergency services like the jail and the emergency room. Those at the top of the list will be invited to move in.

Fox says under the Housing First approach, new residents will not be subjected to exclusive screening criteria.

“We need to have low-or no barriers to entry. So what we want to do is take people from where they are, sleeping in forests or under bridges and we want to put them directly into an apartment.”

Credit Tiffany Eckert
A stone's throw from the affordable housing building site is Lane County Behavioral Health clinics. The Commons on MLK apartments will be staffed for support services 24/7.

That is the Housing First approach. Fox says it’s about getting people into a permanent home. Then help them heal and become more self-sufficient.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked in a variety of media including television, technical writing, photography and daily print news before moving to the Pacific Northwest.
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