Lane County has set up two temporary “respite sites” for unhoused individuals to sleep, eat, shower and get medical care as part of its COVID-19 response, according to an email statement sent out Thursday afternoon.
The first site is in Eugene, at the Lane County Fairgrounds, and part of it has already opened. The second site is in Springfield’s Memorial Building and is planned to open Friday.
“Our unhoused community members are among our most vulnerable residents,” Lane County Incident Commander Karen Gaffney said in the statement. “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 smaller scale.”
Lane County is contracting with St. Vincent de Paul to operate its shelters and with Occupy Medical for health care, according to the statement. Employees from Lane County Environmental Health are helping to set up both sites to allow for social distancing measures, and only people staying overnight in the sites can use the facilities.
“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,” according to the statement.
The Eugene site has two parts. There is the convention center, for those who do not show symptoms of being sick, and which has already opened, and the Wheeler Pavilion, for those who seem sick, which will open Friday.