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Rogue Retreat selling off rigid tents for homeless to focus on more permanent housing

Rows of rigid tent structures
Rogue Retreat
Rigid tents were purchased by Rogue Retreat in 2021. They offer bare-bones protection from the elements. There is also a small solar panel that powers a light and a USB port.

The homeless service nonprofit Rogue Retreat recently turned to Facebook Marketplace to sell some of its rigid tents.

Fifty of these rigid tents were purchased by Rogue Retreat in 2021 as the nonprofit expanded its urban campground in Medford. They look like a regular camping tent, but are built with hard materials including plastic and metal.

Development Manager Hannah Reinhardt said those rigid tents are very bare-bones, lacking basic heating or air conditioning. She said the campground is transitioning to shelters with more amenities.

"This shift now into a new shelter-style model is going to help us provide a little bit more of that stability," she said.

Rogue Retreat is currently moving its urban campground in Medford to a permanent location on West McAndrews Road. Reinhardt said the new location will use a combination of other more permanent structures that will provide more safety and stability for campground residents.

“We’ve had such a great outpouring of interest that we have closed the ad," Reinhardt said. "And we’re working with certain partner agencies to see how we can move forward and see them still used, just not by us.”

Reinhardt said they quickly received interest from other organizations in Roseburg and the Southern Oregon coast. They're working with the nonprofit ACCESS to find a good home for the tents.

The tents originally cost $5,500 apiece, according to Reinhardt. They came from Oregon Harbor of Hope, a nonprofit based in Portland. They were purchased with grant funding Rogue Retreat received in partnership with ACCESS. The original ad the organization posted on Facebook said they were seeking just $500 each for the tents. Reinhardt said the high costs for the fairly simple tents were because they were constructed when material costs were extremely high during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rouge Retreat will keep around 10-15 of the shelters to use in case of emergencies or for storage. Some of the rigid tents are still in use at the old urban campground location. Reinhardt said they are planning to move all the campground residents to the new location by the end of 2023.

Copyright 2023 Jefferson Public Radio

After graduating from Oregon State University, Roman came to JPR as part of the Charles Snowden Program for Excellence in Journalism in 2019. He then joined Delaware Public Media as a Report For America fellow before returning to the west coast. When not out in the field, Roman enjoys travelling and cross-stitching.