New Joint Housing & Shelter Strategist Aims To Keep The Ball Rolling On Housing

Feb 28, 2020

Sarai Johnson
Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News

The City of Eugene and Lane County’s new Joint Housing and Shelter Strategist is one month into her new job. The new hire began at the start of February and has been tasked with some major projects.

Sarai Johnson is a self-proclaimed “housing nerd.” She previously worked as a consultant and with NEDCO, now known as DevNW. In her new role, Johnson said she’ll focus on goals set by Lane County’s Shelter Feasibility Study, or the Technical Collaborative report.

“My ideas really come from where people are intersecting with the [housing] system as it stands, what’s working, what’s not working for them,” she said.

Specifically, Johnson will work on the construction of a low-barrier shelter, finding 75 emergency shelter beds, and increasing permanent supportive housing by 350 units. These projects will require the help of multiple partnerships and entities, Johnson said. So, she sees herself as a catalyst and a collaborator rather than the sole proprietor.

“My job is to kind of get the speedboats going and get everyone on board so we can cut through the water and really make some serious progress,” she said. The job is a limited duration position and Johnson will receive an annual base salary of $85,000.

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