Help for Unhoused

Information for the unhoused:

         Many of us are struggling with the quarantining since the outbreak of the pandemic: Coronavirus.  I imagine those unhoused individuals are struggling more.  If any of you know an unhoused person in the Eugene area or you stop to talk with an unhoused individual, I am forwarding current information from the City of Eugene regarding new shelters and meal opportunities for the unhoused. 

         There is shelter at the Lane County fairgrounds.  Check-in is between 2pm-3pm.  Eventually, there will be showers but they are not available yet.  The meals are not available there yet either.  The updated meal information follows.

The City of Eugene’s top priority during the spread of COVID-19 has been the health and safety of the community. In the last week, City staff have worked closely with our public health partners to make sure our community has the most up to date information for resources, services, and assistance.

We would like to tell you about the progress in two important areas:

  • we are working with our homeless service partners and Lane County to address the unique needs of our community members experiencing homelessness in the current pandemic and
  • we have created a COVID-19 Response Donations page where you can find a list of current needs and offer other ways to help

Homeless Outreach
Consistent with CDC guidelines, the City’s approach is intended to control the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing and hygiene while providing critical services to the unhoused population. In the coming days, outreach teams of City staff from multiple departments will provide supplies directly to people experiencing homelessness through centralized distribution sites as well as through direct canvassing efforts. These supplies include snacks, basic hygiene supplies, blankets, and other resources. Outreach efforts will also provide information about COVID-19 and where to access help.

To provide easier access for preventative measures, 50 handwashing stations and 47 portable restrooms have been or are in line to be deployed throughout the city in the coming week.

The City is focused on strategies that support efforts to “flatten the curve” by reducing the need for people to travel around the community to access basic needs and shelter. These efforts will evolve and adapt as we continue to learn more and respond to this dynamic situation. You will be able to get the most up to date information on the City’s website at www.eugene-or.gov/coronavirus.

In addition, Lane County has identified two temporary respite sites where unhoused individuals can receive services, including a safe place to sleep, meals, showers, and medical screenings. The first site, in Eugene, is the Lane County Fairgrounds. People showing no symptoms or signs of illness will be welcomed in the convention center. Those who are showing signs of illness will be directed to the Wheeler Pavilion. The second site, in Springfield, is the Memorial Building, owned by Willamalane Park and Recreation District.

We want to thank all our community partners in these efforts.

Response Donations and Resources
We are all in this together. If you are a business or individual with some resources to offer, the City created a COVID-19 Response Donations page to link those resources to the emergency medical, safety and civic services in our community that need them. Visit the page to fill out an online resource needs form with the supports that you have to offer. We can take it from there.

United Way of Lane County has its own Response and Resources page where community members can learn more about how to give or receive money, time, or other kinds of support. For further information about the Lane County COVID-19 response visit: www.lanecountyor.gov/coronavirus.

Continue to Stay Home, Save Lives
The City and County’s efforts have been reinforced at the state level. This week, Governor Kate Brown issued a “Stay Home, Save Lives” executive order telling all residents to stay in their residences and immediately limit all movement outside their homes beyond what is absolutely necessary to take care of essential needs. Mayor Lucy Vinis created a video with information about Governor Brown’s executive order and what it means for people living in our community.

Stay Home, Save Lives means:

  • Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others)
  • Only go out for essential services
  • Stay six feet or more away from others
  • Don’t gather in groups (except for those living in your home)

You likely saw the news reports of people flooding the coastal areas to recreate last weekend. We are hoping people take the precautions seriously. These practices will help us protect our local healthcare system by flattening the pandemic curve. Thank you for all you do to help keep yourselves and each other safe and healthy. It will take all of us working together to reduce the impact of COVID-19.

Many services and materials are available free with your library card at our website, including hundreds of thousands of eBooks, audiobooks, streaming movies and shows, music, magazines, and more for all ages.

·         The Mission stopped serving meals to non-residents last Friday, 3/20

·         The  Dining Room was concerned about increased demand, and we prepped to serve up to 400 meals on Monday and Tuesday this week.  Our max number this week was 265 on Monday, by Thursday we served 245

·         Whitebird was concerned about Friday meals with the Mission closure.  They have collaborated with The Mission, CALCand NAACP to serve to-go meals at the CALC office on Fridays between 11:30-1pm, 458 Blair Blvd, Eugene  

o   This week they prepared only 50 meals and only advertised it at Whitebird

o   FFLC will stay in touch with NAACP to understand demand.  If there is a higher demand than can be met, FFLC will explore ways to support meeting it in the future. 

o   NAACP has also worked w FFLC to host a mobile pantry at the Mims house on high street on T and Th from 4:30-6:30.  How wonderful—how needed….

·         Lane County softly opened a shelter on Weds night, with 50 people sheltered without any outreach about it that night.  This may explain Dining Room lower numbers on W and Th.  As of Thursday, the 200 beds were full

o   By Thurs night another 50 beds in Eugene and 34 in Springfield were opened

o   The county has said they will open more shelters if they need to

o   FFLC is working with the county to support this effort

o   These shelters will feed people 3 meals/day so that they don’t need to be mobile in search of food

o   It will be interesting to understand if this decreases the demand for food downtown.  So far, it has not

·         The Sunday Interfaith Breakfast group will serve to-go meals at the Dining Room on Sunday, 11:30-1 pm.  350 Meals will be prepped at FCC.  50 will be given to CAHOOTS/Whitebird to distribute, the rest will go out through the Dining Room

o   This group is working to ID additional distribution sites and grow the number of meals produced/served, ideally offering meals on different days of the week

·         St. Mary’s, partnering with Eugene Catholic Worker will serve to-go breakfasts this Saturday at 9 am under the Jefferson bridge at 1st Street

o   St. Mary’s would like to be operational but is struggling to get volunteers.  They will support the ECW meal with volunteers, per my understanding.

·         Eugene Catholic Worker is continuing to serve their meals as scheduled.  First and Washington, W-Sat at 8:30-9:30

·         Burrito Brigade:  Distribution is 12:00-1:00 Saturday 2-3 Sunday. Food drop off locations are White Bird, Service station/Dusk to Dawn, Monroe Little Free pantry, N. Grand Little free pantry, and limited downtown distribution. Contact info@burritobrigade.org  for burritos directly

·         Community Outreach through Radical Empowerment (CORE) Street Feed is still happening this Sunday at Spectrum. Due to the restrictions on social gatherings and restrictions on restaurants, they will only give out to-go containers of food and are not hosting anyone inside. They will also have some emergency supplies to give to folks with the priority for those ages 16-24. Any other leftovers/supplies will then be distributed to those ages 25+.   CORE is dedicated to supporting, empowering and advocating for young people in Lane County surviving the effects of poverty, homelessness or other adversities ● 541core@gmail.com  

·         Springfield Adventist Community Center is open during their usual hours for food and clothing.  541-746-8263

·         Ebbert United Methodist Church is open for their regular meals, Monday-Thursday and Hope House on Saturday (3 pm) all meals are to go. 541-746-3513.