As part of its COVID-19 response, 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 placed 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.
Lane County has contracted with St. Vincent de Paul to operate the shelter aspect, and is working to establish Occupy Medical as the medical screening resource. The City of Eugene, which has an existing network of outreach teams, will provide street outreach to make unhoused individuals aware of the sites and what services are available once both sites are open.
Participation in the service is voluntary. Only the individuals staying at one of the locations overnight will have access to the facilities. Lane County Environmental Health employees are assisting with set up of both sites to ensure that proper social distancing can be observed.
The Fairgrounds general shelter site will open today; the Wheeler Pavilion is expected to open tomorrow. The Springfield site is on track to open tomorrow.
“Our unhoused community members are among our most vulnerable residents,” said Lane County Incident Commander Karen Gaffney. “Not only is it more difficult from unhoused people to maintain the good hygiene and social distancing that is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19, but many of the social services they depend on for meals are not able to operate right now, or operating at a much small scale.”