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Eugene Adds More Temporary Shelters For COVID-19 Response

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The City of Eugene
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The cities of Eugene, Springfield and Lane County have jointly opened two temporary shelters. The unhoused can now stay in the parking lots of both Amazon and Hilyard Community Centers.

In addition, a new distribution site has opened on 342 East 12th Avenue.  Here, Whitebird Clinic will assign unhoused individuals to either site, offer basic supplies, and give COVID-19 information. The distribution site is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We know that Eugene and Lane County have a significant population of unhoused people who really don’t have great options in terms of sheltering in place,” said Eugene Housing and Systems Policy Manager Peter Chavannes.

Each site can hold up to ten people, or six tents. Or people can choose to park their vehicles. The shelters will provide basic medical screenings, hygienic supplies, portable handwashing and restroom facilities, and food and water. Whitebird and Carry It Forward are managing the sites.

In emergencies, Chavannes said cities would normally erect large facilities for their homeless population, but in a pandemic that’s not possible.

“All of our government partners in this are trying to figure out how to provide spaces that maintain the social distancing, don’t create large congregations of people, and meet the variety of needs that who are living outside are expressing to us,” he said.

The City of Eugene will evaluate the shelters and explore the possibility of adding more.

© 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.