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As cooler weather approaches, Egan Warming Centers seeks space for overnight shelters

Blankets and pads are on the floor of a building.
File photo
Egan Warming Center Facebook Page
In this photo from a recent winter, blankets and sleeping pads await overnight guests at an Egan Warming Center location.

Despite a mid-September warm-up, cooler weather is rapidly approaching. And with the change in temperatures, social service agencies are looking ahead to the need to provide shelter for unhoused people on cold winter nights. That means securing enough shelter sites to keep the homeless population safe.

“We’re not picky," said Tim Black, the emergency response coordinator for St. Vincent de Paul, which coordinates the Egan Warming Centers in Eugene. "We want to be indoors away from the cold. That’s the whole purpose, to save lives of people who might freeze outside. So, electricity, some heat, some lighting, some open floor space for anywhere between 30 and 100 people.”

Black said not every shelter that was used last winter will be available this year, because the needs of host organizations can change. He said ideally, the organization will find facilities in all parts of the Eugene and Springfield area.

"We bring in everything we need, and we take everything away," he said. "We always commit to leaving a site at least in as good a condition as when we found it."

Egan Warming Centers are activated when overnight temperatures are predicted to drop below 30 degrees.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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