April 7 City of Eugene COVID-19 Community Update
Actualizaciónes de la ciudad en español
The City of Eugene’s top priority continues to be the health and safety of the community as we move into the fourth week of our national collective emergency. We are in this for the long haul but we are in this together. There is a lot going on to keep our community safe and preserve our local hospitals’ capacities. This update provides information on the latest City activities and links to where you can find more information. For health and safety information and updates on COVID-19 please visit Lane County Public Health’s website.
Emergency sheltering options for unhoused in Eugene
As our region continues to respond to COVID-19, the City of Eugene, in conjunction with Lane County, has developed designated temporary emergency sheltering and support plans for the unhoused community.
The City of Eugene is focused on strategies that will “flatten the curve,” such as a distribution site for basic supplies, designated temporary shelter sites, outreach to unhoused individuals, and basic sanitation and hygiene. These strategies reduce the need for people to travel around the city to access basic needs and shelter. This work is consistent with CDC guidance on protecting people experiencing homelessness and the broader community from the spread of COVID-19.
Distribution Site and Designated Temporary Shelter Sites
Starting Monday, April 6, White Bird Clinic (341 E 12th Ave.) began operating as a distribution site for people experiencing homelessness. People experiencing homelessness can access resources, pick-up supplies, and learn about COVID-19 prevention and symptoms. The White Bird distribution site also serves as a check-in point to access spaces in designated temporary shelter sites in Eugene. To get an assigned space at these temporary shelter sites, individuals need to check-in at the distribution site first and receive a basic medical screening.
Designated temporary shelter sites are locations where small groups of people (up to 10 people in no more than six tents/vehicles) can camp in tents or vehicles with appropriate social distancing and will be supported with hygiene stations (portable restrooms and handwashing stations), food and supplies, and welfare check-ins. The locations also have privacy fencing in place to help support the security of the site. The sites are managed by White Bird and Carry It Forward, local homeless service providers.
The first two designated temporary shelter sites are located in the parking lots of the Amazon and Hilyard Community Centers, and spaces in the site are available by referral only as noted, above. The White Bird distribution is open seven days per week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Preparation of the designated temporary shelter sites started April 6.
Individuals who are already safely sheltering in place elsewhere are advised to stay where they are and access supplies through the distribution site or outreach teams rather than relocating to these sites. The City recognizes this is different than normal procedures however, the CDC recommends not clearing “encampments” during community spread of COVID-19. Clearing people sheltering in public places can cause people to disperse throughout the community and break connections with service providers. This increases the potential for infectious disease spread.
For specific site concerns you can contact Alex Farmer with White Bird Clinic at 541-342-8255. For questions for the City, please contact the City Manager’s Office at 541-682-5010.
Basic Sanitation and Hygiene
With a focus on increasing hygiene in the community to limit the spread of COVID-19, the City of Eugene has continued to add to the number of publicly available restrooms. Throughout the city of Eugene the City’s Emergency Operations Center distributed:
• Nearly 40 portable restrooms
• Approximately 50 handwashing stations.
View all of the portable restrooms and handwashing station locations through our online mapping portal. According to the CDC, regular handwashing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others, including COVID-19.
Outreach to Support Basic Needs and Stay-In-Place
The City has begun conducting outreach to unhoused individuals to ensure basic needs are being met for those experiencing homelessness, allowing them to stay in place as much as possible. Outreach teams have started canvassing the parks and rights of way throughout Eugene and are passing out food, water, gear, hygiene supplies, education and up-to-date information on COVID-19.
Teams are also monitoring the current situation throughout the unhoused community and providing information regarding available shelter options. The creation of a centralized distribution site will also allow unhoused individuals to get necessary supplies to stay in place.
Resources for More Information:
The City of Eugene and our partners have a significant amount of information available online. Please visit these resources for the most up to date information.
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