Homelessness and well-being acknowledged as persistent issues for Lane County in this year's State of the County address
Homelessness and mental health were two themes raised in the annual State of the County address, presented Monday (1/9) for Lane County.
Lane County Board chair Pat Farr outlined the year’s accomplishments and challenges. He said 67% of residents said homelessness was their prime concern, and wanted the unhoused community further protected from criminalization.
Farr said to that end, Lane County Behavioral Health is working to address the “critical intersection” of criminal justice and behavioral health.
“LCBH has partnered with housing providers to develop and expand residential capacity in the community. So far, though awards and contracts are still in the works, we anticipate an additional 70-80 beds between now and spring.”
The most recent point-in-time count shows nearly 2,900 unhoused people.
Farr mentioned three housing developments that opened last year, including the Navigation Center, a low-barrier facility aimed at helping homeless individuals find permanent housing.
Another facility, the Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization Center, is set to open in late 2024.
Farr also shared the past year’s successes, including its public health response. He said the county’s network of clinics helped protect residents from a wide range of threats, including COVID, and mpox.
“Our community health clinics – we have six, soon to be seven, in the past fiscal year served 25,740 different patients - with a total of more than 169,000 encounters with these patients in our community health centers.”
The seventh clinic will open in Cottage Grove.
In addition to the State of the County address, commissioners Heather Buch, Ryan Ceniga, and David Loveall all took their oaths of office. Mary Vuksich-Shafer was also sworn in as the Lane County Assessor, and Richard Brissenden was sworn in as Justice of the Peace for Lane County Justice Court.