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Eugene, Ore., Works on Homeless Camping Program

February 25, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

The numbers aren’t adding up for the homeless camping program in Eugene, Ore.

Program managers told city councilors Wednesday (Feb. 24) there just aren’t enough spots, all the while the number of people living on Lane County’s streets just keeps growing, according to KEZI-TV, Eugene.

There are 21 spots around town that allow three campers at most sites. But 60 more are on the wait list.

Keith Heath, overnight parking coordinator, said, “If I could get probably 50 or 60 spots, and a second person so that I don’t have to split my atoms, that probably would be a start.”

Homeless advocates told councilors their biggest challenge is getting the community to step up, including local businesses.

“We just need to have more trust from our community to stand out on faith and try to help some people,” said Heath.

Richie Weinman, Eugene community service manager, said, “If someone’s willing to give us space whether it’s their church a business, or even their home, the city and St. Vincent De Paul will help facilitate that.”

The mayor says it’s not always easy for some businesses to step up.

“You have to go shake the trees a little bit and see if people are willing and that might be a really nice outreach,” said Mayor Kitty Piercy.

Managers said many tenants use the 90-day permit in hopes of transitioning into something more permanent. And managers also said they keep an eye out for trouble around their temporary homes.

The discussion comes after Lane County’s one-night homeless count where volunteers identified nearly 4,000 homeless.

Click here to watch a video version of this newscast.

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