To help combat the spread of the coronavirus in Lincoln County, officials are providing 40 motel room vouchers for the county’s unsheltered population. The idea is to provide a warm, safe place to stay for the homeless while most of the state has been advised to stay home.
The program is being coordinated by Coastal Support Intake, an organization contracted by the Lane County Board of Commissioners. People can apply and stay at one of three motels. This includes, the Lincoln City Travelodge and Summer Wind Motel in Newport.
The program is in a trial phase that started on March 16. Participants with vouchers are allowed to stay in a motel for up to two weeks.
Because of limited resources, Lincoln County Commissioner Claire Hall said there are a few restrictions for applicants. They have to prove they’re sleeping outside, and they need to take a drug test.
“To be very frank about it, it’s a rationing of a resource that is going to be too limited to meet the need, but we wanted to something for at least some of the folks who are vulnerable right now,” she said.
Hall said this is the county’s way of flattening the curve. “It’s hoped this step will protect the health of the individuals involved, as well as reduce opportunities for spread in the larger population.”
When Lincoln County declared a State of Emergency last Friday she said it allowed them to use funds to cover the rooms. They've budgeted $10,000 for rooms and as of Wednesday, they’ve spent $7,000.
Hall said she hopes state legislators will give emergency authorization to free up Transient Room tax dollars to meet shelter needs.
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