Lincoln County announces plans for permanent winter shelter
Lincoln County has announced plans to open a new type of winter shelter later this year.
The county plans to find sites to open permanent winter shelters in Lincoln City and Newport. Unlike other seasonal shelters, these would be open every night from October through March.
Currently, shelters open when weather is predicted to fall below a certain temperature. However, weather predictions are often wrong, and temperatures that are not technically extreme can still be dangerous. Many organizations rent hotel rooms to get people indoors–but that doesn’t work when hotels are full.
“The goal of this is to have a sustainable, full six months in which we know we can keep people safe at night," said Lincoln County spokesperson Kenneth Lipp.
Lincoln County has several shelters for specialized groups, like people escaping domestic violence, families and schoolchildren, but none for the general homeless population.
The new shelters will be operated as part of the county Department of Health and Human Services, which Lipp said will provide a direct link to harm reduction, behavioral health, and mental health services. Each shelter would have at least two paid employees on site during operational hours, supplemented by volunteers.
Lipp said it's hoped that having shelters open regularly would make it easier to bring volunteers in. The county wants to house at least 100 people between two shelters, or 75 at one.
Funding will come from a variety of sources including the American Rescue Plan Act.