City Club of Eugene: Homelessness
Seeking Solutions: The State of Our Homelessness Crisis
Date: November 5, 2021
In August 2021, the number of homeless people in Lane County was counted as 3,115—but in that month, only 42 people were moved into housing. The local shelters could provide an additional 851 beds, but 2,222 people had nowhere to go.
A circumstance in which 70% of a crisis goes unaddressed is ripe for expanded engagement and rethinking. In the past six months, the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce interviewed more than 150 stakeholders in the community. They included executives from nearly every nonprofit delivering homeless services, city and county staff, business and community leaders, unhoused individuals, and residents. They spoke with experts from across the country in communities where significant progress has been made towards ending homelessness. The resulting report, “The State of Our Homelessness Crisis,” includes eight primary recommendations and a timeline for action.
In this program, Eugene Chamber CEO Brittany Quick-Warner, West Eugene Ward 8 City Councilor Randy Groves, and Community Advocate Heather Sielicki will share what they have learned in years of work to quantify our local needs, understand difficult challenges, and identify real solutions that can be successfully operationalized and implemented. Across the United States, a few solutions-oriented communities have succeeded at eliminating homelessness—reaching what is described as “functional zero.” Are the recommendations in this report and the robust engagement of our business community how Eugene gets there?