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Lane County To Buy Building For Homeless COVID-19 Response

Lane County

The Lane County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to buy a $1.8 million building in Eugene. The site will serve as a place to house homeless people experiencing, and recovering from non-severe COVID-19 symptoms. This also includes those waiting to get test results back.

The county has already set up two homeless respite centers in Springfield and Eugene. But, this building would be used for those who are sick and don’t require hospitalization.

County staff explored the possibility of renting hotel rooms, but that proved to be too expensive. According to amemo given to commissioners, prices ranged from nearly $1.3 million to close to $2 million dollars in operational costs for six months.

The 100 River Avenue property, however, is a former veteran’s clinic. Health and Human Services Director Karen Gaffney said the space fits current needs to aid unhoused individuals who may contract the coronavirus disease.

“We and FEMA refer to non-congregate housing for people [as] places where people can be in their own rooms while they recover,” said Gaffney. “The clinic really provides us a pretty special opportunity for us to quickly acquire that space."

The building is close to 20,000 square feet and could accommodate up to 100 beds, while also providing adequate separation between people. The purchase, and preparations are expected to begin immediately.

This post has been updated to show the correct address.

© 2020 KLCC

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.