Services for people at Camp 99 are expanding with help from St. Vincent de Paul
EUGENE, Ore. - The growing temporary homeless camp on Highway 99 has faced issues, but now the people in it will have a better chance of finding housing.
The Eugene City Council voted to expand services at two properties owned by St. Vincent de Paul down the road.
In an almost unanimous decision by the city, dusk to dawn services were expanded with new spots north of the camp. The city says this will give homeless people better safety and cleaner options.
The city and county have given the reins to St. Vincent de Paul to organize and manage the new sites, leaving many scrambling to get ready.
An ever changing situation -- the city and county have come up with a temporary solution to a continuing problem.
“We're providing good options for overnight, but trying to provide better places for folks to be during the day,” said Jason Diedrick, the policy analyst for the City of Eugene.
The city says Camp 99 was always meant to be for 30 to 60 days, and that time is now up.
“We're always looking for a more permanent solution, but there were also issues that were coming up in terms of the safety,” said Diedrick.
Many people at the camp have tried to cross a busy Highway 99 to use day services at St. Vincent de Paul's Lindholm Center. Now, St. Vinnie's has taken on an expanded role.
They'll receive $150,000 from the city to expand their current Dusk to Dawn Camp by 80 spots and create a new Dawn to Dawn Camp in the area.
“We've never done a 24/7 tent city,” said Terry McDonald, the St. Vincent de Paul President. “This is entirely new for us.”
St. Vincent de Paul will have the next few weeks to get ready.
“We need flat surfaces, we need a program design, we need people hired that will run it 24/7 operation, so we have a lot of catching up to do,” said McDonald.
Roughly 200 people are expected to be housed between the two areas.
Though McDonald is unsure where each camp will be placed, both the existing tents and the Lindholm Service Center will be home for folks come January if they choose.
An unusual but urgent manner, McDonald will now have to figure out in the new year.
The city and St. Vincent de Paul are also looking at having a place for some people to camp in their own tents. This would let up to 25 people use their personal, smaller tents instead of large, walkable tents.
Those plans are currently up in the air.