Statement of Need
Lane County, with 1,751 unhoused citizens, has a slightly above average per capita number of unhoused citizens compared to other communities nationally. However, in areas with inclement weather, Eugene has the poorest shelter rate of any community north of the 39th parallel. Most U.S. communities shelter 73% of their homeless citizens but Lane shelters only 27% of ours. That gives us the 19th worst shelter rate in the country, with all 18 communities with worse rates located in sunny Florida, California or Hawaii. Lane County averages 54 nights per year with freezing or below freezing temperatures.
Such an abysmal shelter rate is very costly in terms of loss of human potential, loss of quality of life for both housed and unhoused citizens, loss of public sanitation for all citizens and financial waste due to burdens placed on taxpayers for policing, court, jail, health system and other costs when using a “policing first” model instead of a “housing first” model.
The number of unhoused are based on HUD guidelines and do not include those who are homeless but either “doubled up” with friends or family; “couch-surfing” on a night by night basis or staying in hotels the first week or two of the month until disability checks run out. It also does not include the many families living in their vehicles. McKinney-Vento guidelines, used to identify homeless school children, recognizes the damage of such living situations and includes these individuals in their statistics. The McKinney Vento count of unhoused school children for Lane was 2,240, higher than “all” homeless individuals combined by HUD guidelines.
Homelessness – A Bigger Picture
10,857 individuals who were homeless sought social services through Lane County Human Services Commission funded programs during calendar year 2012. 711 unduplicated individuals were served at the Egan Warming Center during 9 nights of extreme weather at six faith-based sites during the 2012-2013 winter season. 2,262 homeless students attended public school in Lane County during the 2011-12 school year (Oregon Dept. of Cost of Homelessness (updated Spring, 2013 Lane County Human Services Division)
Homelessness affects all Lane County residents because people without shelter require costly support services:
- $420 average cost of a visit to the Sacred Heart Hospital Emergency Room at River Bend.
- $865 average daily cost of care at the Johnson Unit, Sacred Heart’s acute psychiatric care facility.
- $237 daily cost of in-patient detoxification services at Willamette Family Treatment’s Buckley Center.
- $234 daily cost for “housing” per inmate day at the Lane County Jail for a person not having higher supervision needs found among those inebriated, high, or living with a mental illness. Higher cost for increased supervision.
- $75 daily cost at the Springfield Jail.
Nightingale Health Sanctuary – Project Summary
Nightingale Health Sanctuary (NHS) is a group of individuals organized for the purpose of establishing and operating a self-governed village-style community focused on health and wellness, providing a safe and supportive community for people who are unhoused, with a specific focus on the vulnerable population of those with disabilities.
Once a sanctuary is established NHS intends to offer the larger unhoused community:
- a health clinic operating at least twice a week;
- a guest program offering people in the neighborhood who are unhoused a safe place to sleep; and
- a resource and information center assisting people to connect with community resources.
Additionally, NHS intends to offer classes and activities to support health and wellness such as:
- cooking and nutrition classes;
- peer-to-peer mediation;
- peer-to-peer coaching;
- communication training;
- music and art activities; and
- self-care skills training designed to enhance overall health and allow for the management of pain and stress.
The NHS project is a response to the unmet needs of people who are unhoused in our community. Many unhoused people have no safe, legal place to sleep and are forced to hide under bridges and bushes in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Our entire community is negatively impacted when people do not have access to restroom facilities, legal places to sleep, or secure places to put their belongings.
NHS will establish a self-governed, village-style, community which will focus on health and wellness, providing a safe place for people who are unsheltered, including those with disabilities. In community residents will support and assist each other to the best of their abilities, with the support of the larger community.
When the project is complete there will be 30 units for residents, an on-site health clinic two days a week, an overnight guest program hosting the neighborhood’s unhoused providing a supervised group sleeping area and breakfast as well as a resource connection time in the morning. Activities to support health and wellness will be offered. In partnership with the neighborhood, NHS seeks to create a Neighborhood Rapid Response Team which will assist with issues arising from homelessness in the neighborhood.
Phases of Project
Shortly after an unsanctioned tent city was shut down in April of 2014, homeless advocates and the unhoused community learned that a generous supporter had come forward with a donation of $400,000 donation to purchase land to provide a safe and legal place for people to sleep. The donor’s statement expresses the need for a place where people who are unhoused with drug and alcohol addiction can find the stability they need to begin thinking about recovery. The donor was also concerned about the number of people with disabilities who were not able to access emergency shelter.
A Steering Committee was formed and has met weekly since May. Recently the Steering Committee was increased to 11 members.
Lease property for project. Populate site with 4-8 people who will focus on site preparation: privacy screening, cleaning of the site, set up common areas [kitchen, gathering area]. These first residents will also review manuals from other projects such as Dignity Village, Right To Dream Too, Opportunity Village Eugene and CSS Rest Stop materials to draft an Operations Manual and make a proposal to the Steering Committee for its adoption. The Manual will address day to day operations to include such areas as admission/removal of residents, guest policies, work schedules, security, donations, animals.
Outreach to neighborhood to continue through this phase. NHS and the City of Eugene will coordinate outreach efforts. Exploration of a neighborhood response team will continue. Criteria will be developed by the Steering Committee, upon recommendations by the Site Operations Committee, for deciding when expansion beyond the initial 4-8 residents will occur.
Health Clinic Committee will begin planning the health clinic. Connections to allies and other organizations working with the unhoused will be ongoing through this phase. Land Use Working Group will begin site plan and planning for proposal to the city. A website will also be created by volunteers who have stepped forward.
Once an Operations Manual has been adopted by the Steering Committee, NHS will slowly populate the community to 30 individuals. Residents will be vetted, prioritizing the chronically unhoused who are currently sleeping in the neighborhood, keeping in mind the differing skill and ability levels necessary for a successful peer-to-peer supportive living community.
The Resource and Info Committee will be launched and will begin planning and implementing a program to connect residents to resources.
Health services will begin for on-site residents. Programs focused on Health and Wellness will begin. Examples of offerings: yoga, meditation, peer-to-peer mediation, peer-to-peer coaching, communication classes, cooking and nutrition classes, music and art activities, and self-care skills training designed to enhance overall health and allow for the management of pain.
Criteria will be developed for readiness to launch Overnight Guest Program. Residents and volunteers who will be involved with that program will be trained at Right To Dream Too in Portland, which has been operating an overnight guest program for several years.
During this phase a site plan will be developed and an application for a conditional use permit for the project, if one is necessary, will be submitted to the city. It’s possible that we will lease a winter site which will not suitable for our long term project. In that event, this piece of Phase II will await our “forever” home.
Waiting for Conditional Use Permit. Health Clinic in operation once a week. Possibly beginning overnight guest program if the city approves that part of the project, prior to the issuance of a conditional use permit.
Purchase Property. Build Infrastructure.
Currently, there is an 11 member steering committee and a larger support group which meets on a weekly basis. NHS expects to some members to step aside to allow for representatives from various, yet to be launched, committees and several additional slots for residents. The Steering Committee will include a representative from the neighborhood.
NHS will utilize committees for parts of the project which will be ongoing. Committees will include: Health Clinic Committee, Resource and Info Committee, Site Operations Committee, Overnight Guest Program Committee, Breakfast Committee, Public Relations Committee, and Organizational Support and Development Committee, focussing on fundraising, grant writing, and volunteer coordination. It is expected that residents be represented on all committees.
NHS utilizes informal working groups for areas of the project which are limited in time. Examples of this are: Outreach Working Group, Land Search Working Group, Land Use Working Group, Fiscal Sponsorship Working Group, Initial Vetting Working Group, and Site Plan Working Group.
The site itself will be self-managed with Steering Committee oversight. A Site Operation Committee, made up of residents, will be responsible for day-to-day operation of the site. That committee will develop and implement the Operations Manual for the site.
Self-governance provides residents with autonomy, responsibility, and dignity. Design and organization of the site will be based upon best practices derived from a comprehensive study of long standing “tent cities” and villages in the United States, and lessons learned from local projects, Opportunity Village Eugene and Community Supported Shelter, as well as Portland’s Right to Dream Too and Dignity Village.
The Steering Committee, through its Organizational Support and Development Committee will ensure the fiscal sustainability of the project through grants and fundraising. We are fortunate to have a generous $400,000 donation to purchase land. A fundraising plan will be developed once we know how much we will spend on land.
Biographies of Nightingale Health Sanctuary’s Steering Committee
Mary E. Broadhurst
Mary has been involved in community organizing, first in the late 70s and early 80s as a VISTA volunteer with the Jobs and Justice Project and an organizer in the anti-nuclear movement. More recently she has been involved with Occupy Eugene, SLEEPS, and the Whoville Coalition. She is an Egan Warming Center volunteer. Mary is a graduate of the University of Oregon School of Law and a practicing attorney. For over 20 years she has represented students with disabilities, ensuring that they receive the educations to which they are entitled under federal law. A highlight of her career was as co-counsel before the United States Supreme Court. She has mediation experience and extensive experience facilitating meetings with school district administrators and staff. In 2012 she completed a three day training in Dynamic Facilitation: Conflict, Creativity, and Community. She also has been trained through the intermediate level in Nonviolent Communication. Mary is also a certified professional coach, with 262 training hours approved by the International Coaching Federation. Once the Nightingale Health Sanctuary is up and running, Mary looks forward to establishing a peer coaching program on site where residents would be taught coaching skills enabling them to partner with other residents for the purpose of supporting each other in the development of skills and strategies to further their personal goals.
Michael Carrigan has served as a community organizer for Community Alliance of Lane County since 2004. He is both the peace and shelter rights organizer for CALC in both Eugene and Springfield. He is also a non-violence trainer and fundraiser and a liaison as needed with the Eugene police, Mayor, and City Councilors. He is a founding and current board member of Opportunity Village Eugene. He also serves on the Lane County Steering committee of Oregon League of Conservation Voters and the steering committee for the local 350.org. group and is an Egan Warming Center volunteer.
Jennifer is a mediator and group facilitator. She has a law degree from Ohio State University and is licensed in Ohio. Her undergraduate degree is in Economics of Developing Countries from the University of Michigan. She has been mediating for six years both at a community program and in private practice. She moved to the Northwest in 1993 to live on the Makah Reservation for four years before coming to Eugene with her family. She was recently appointed to the Eugene Human Rights Commission for a three-year term. She has been involved in community organizing since 2000 in Eugene. Her activism grew out of her experience on the Makah reservation and her practice of her Quaker faith. She has been involved in running nonprofits and took Lane Community College’s year long nonprofit management course for executive directors.
Tracy Joscelyn is an underhoused 30-year resident of Eugene and a single parent with a degree in Recreation and Parks Administration and additional coursework in Planning, Public Policy and Management. She is a trained wilderness leader who is passionate about the environment and sustainability. She has also been involved in prisoner support and worked for the Eugene Homeless Initiative.
Sabra Marcroft was on the Opportunity Eugene Task Force on Homelessness and was one of the first group helping to dream up Opportunity Village. She works directly, or networking with others, to aid the unhoused on an almost daily basis. She served two years on the Whiteaker Community Council (the Whit’s version of a Neighborhood Association) and has no desire to run for public office. Sabra is a NLP Level One practitioner. She recently completed a 12-week course in Non Violent Communication and is participating in a practice group.
Wayne Martin is a retired clergyman and hospice chaplain. Throughout his career he has been a committed public advocate for the unhoused, even when it induced petulance in his congregations. He is devoted to the mandate for social justice and equity that is the core of Judeo-Christian sacred writing and history. Wayne is a Vietnam veteran and holds a doctorate from Boston University in Religious Literature. His interests include creative philanthropy, slow money, jazz, Bach, traditional spirituals, hiking, photography, college sports, and publishing an occasional poem. He currently serves on the Opportunity Village Eugene Support Committee, the board of the Eugene Jazz Station, and presides over the Board of Directors for Encircle Films Eugene. He also serves as the father of six adult children and grandfather of theirs, a position now more honorary than obligatory.
For the past 35 years, Lynne McKinney has been involved in working for the empowerment of people with disabilities on both a personal and professional level. Since receiving her Masters in Special Education/Rehabilitation she, has been actively involved in systemic advocacy efforts at several Centers for Independent Living. Lynne played a major role in establishing Lane Independence Living Alliance where she currently works as an instructor and peer mentor. LILA is located in Downtown Eugene.
Vickie Nelson is a retired librarian and editor. She has been a social activist since the 1970s when she was a founding member of Growers Market and of the alternative newspaper the Willamette Valley Observer. She was also an early volunteer for Women’s Space and the Whiteaker Free Thanksgiving Dinner, and began a literacy program for adults at the Eugene Public Library. Currently she is on the board of directors of SPOT (Stop Pet Overpopulation Now), a group that helps low-income people spay and neuter their dogs, and of Nightingale Public Advocacy Collective. She has been advocating for the unhoused for the last few years.
Nathan “Red” Showers is unhoused and has been living in organized camps for over a year. He was instrumental in the day-to-day operations of an unsanctioned tent community known as Whoville. Red recently completed a 12-week course in Non Violent Communication and is a participant in a practice group. He plans on taking the Intermediate course.
Catherine Siskron has a long history of social justice and peace activism. She also has training in community mediation, restorative justice, and non-violent communication. Currently she is a member of the Human Rights Commission work group on homelessness, serves on the Occupy Eugene newsletter committee as editor, reporter and occasional photographer, volunteers at Occupy Medical as a blogger and participates in the Wisdom Circle on Homelessness at First Congregational Church. She is also a frequent contributor to the Mic Check column in Eugene Weekly.
David is a resident of Oregon since childhood who moved here with the ink still wet on his high school diploma in the 70s. His scholarly achievements include courses at UO and LCC, and most recently a 5-year apprenticeship resulting in an Oregon Journeyman Electrical license for industrial, commercial, residential and solar installations. He is also a freelance mechanic. David’s business achievements range from operating his own service station in the 80s, Mountain Top Radio Tower Repairs, a 22-year career with a local charcoal manufacturing company, 3 years building Riverbend Hospital, and recently working as “Purveyor of Needful Things.” He currently runs his own antiques and oddities resale business. His decades long training in humanistic intervention, peer to peer counseling, including security training and volunteer work with both the Egan warming centers and the Oregon Country Fair makes him a welcome asset when dealing with difficult personalities and explosive crowd dynamics. He is a certified SCUBA diver with a love of the outdoors and especially waterways and a strong background in outdoor volunteerism beginning with the introduction of the Willamette RiverKeepers here in Eugene in the 90s and ongoing work with Access Advocates (a local grassroots group whose focus is access/clean up of local waterways).
Organizational Capacity and Support
The Steering Committee, through its Organizational Support and Development Committee will ensure the operational sustainability of the project by recruiting volunteers and cultivating a welcoming atmosphere through the use of specific policies and strategies employed both at the committee and program implementation levels. We have many allies in this project who have much experience and knowledge to share, including Dignity Village, Right to Dream Too, Opportunity Village Eugene, and Community Supported Shelters. Additionally, NHS has other local partners and allies it will rely on. Lane Independent Living Alliance has many resources which residents with disabilities can access, including information and referral, peer mentoring, systemic advocacy, individual advocacy, and independent living skills training, drop-in groups, a jobs club, and money management training. Other local organizations we will work with are Occupy Medical, Whitebird and Cahoots. The Steering Committee will continue reaching out to allies and organizations to support and supplement our efforts.
What Will the Benefits of the Nightingale Health Sanctuary Be?
This project will provide a safe and secure place for people to sleep. When fully operational a health clinic will operate twice a week and an overnight guest program for people sleeping in alleys and doorways will lessen the impact of the unhoused population on the neighborhood. A neighborhood response team will be available to respond quickly to any disturbances that occur near the Sanctuary. A survey focusing on the current impact of the unhoused population in the neighborhood will be conducted at the outset of the project. NHS will repeat the instrument at several stages along the way as programs are added to the site. Evaluation tools will be used with residents as well as overnight guests and volunteers to determine the project’s impact on their lives.
Lane County Homelessness Highlights:
1,751 people who were unhoused were counted in Lane County during the 2013 One Night Homeless Count. This number includes homeless community members who were counted on the streets, under bridges, in parks, at food pantries, day access centers, churches, emergency shelters, transitional housing, and other locations on January 30, 2013.
Total 1,751 individuals counted in 1,470 households. Of that total, 1,102 men, women, and children were without shelter, 261 individuals were living in Transitional Housing, and 388 individuals were staying in Emergency Shelter.
• 1,751 people counted (unsheltered and sheltered)
• 1,102 unsheltered people( camping, living in cars, bridges)
• 649 sheltered people
• 108 homeless families (25 households unsheltered)
• 415 chronically homeless people, with a disabling condition (270 unsheltered)
• 229 homeless veterans (151 unsheltered)
• 164 domestic violence victims (reported DV in the past year; 96 unsheltered)
• 202 severely mentally ill (149 unsheltered)
Tent Cities: An Interim Solution to Homelessness and Affordable Housing Shortages in the United States by Zoe Loftus-Farre http://scholarship.law.berkeley.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1033&context=californialawreview
“Speaking from Experience: The Power of Peer Specialists.” Healing Hands, a Publication of the HCH Clinicians’ Network, V. 17 (Fall 2013): n. 3
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