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Chamber Of Commerce Issues Report, Call To Action On Eugene's Homeless Crisis

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Brian Bull
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KLCC

The Eugene Chamber of Commerce has released its first report on homelessness, which includes recommendations for alleviating the crisis.  

Over the past six months, Chamber officials talked to 150 groups and individuals on how to address homelessness.  It found that in August, 42 people were moved into homes, out of more than 3,100 unsheltered individuals across Lane County.

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Credit Eugene Chamber of Commerce
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Brittany Quick-Warner, President & CEO of the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce

“That means they’re living in our parks, on our streets, along the river banks,” Brittany Quick-Warner told KLCC.  She's the Chamber’s CEO and President.  She said businesses, faith groups, local government, and the unhoused community itself need to unite on effective solutions.

“We need to sit at the table as equals, and decide what our shared goal is going to be, and how we can put together a strategy that’s going to accomplish that together.” 

Establishing quality data and focusing on emergency housing are two immediate recommendations from the Eugene Chamber of Commerce’s report. Findings include 80% of Lane County’s unhoused population don’t have appropriate shelter. 

Quick-Warner acknowledges that COVID-19 will challenge efforts.

“Until we can adequately increase our shelter capacities, either by the pandemic subsiding and being able to get more people into shelter, or by increasing the number of shelter options that we have, I don’t think we’re going to get our hands around this.”

Among the Chamber’s other recommendations is establishing “wrap around” services like job training, and mental health and substance abuse support.

Copyright 2021, KLCC. 

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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