Though the August heat is on full blast, the cold nights of fall and winter will soon be upon us, meaning many of the people in Corvallis without homes will be looking for ways to keep warm. In previous years, Corvallis Housing First (CHF) opened up doors to a downtown men’s cold weather shelter beginning in November and extending through March. But given the elevated crime levels, lawsuits, and overall dissatisfaction around last year’s shelter, plans for a new shelter are expected to arise.
At the beginning of August, Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber sent the city council a letter declaring “the city has reached a crisis point,” because a strategy to open a shelter had not been agreed upon. With less than three months until November, there is worry that there simply won’t be a shelter this year.
Brad Smith, the Board President for CHF, said that the city council will have to make a decision, but “as long as they are holding on to the funds I don’t think any group will be able to run a shelter.”
While funding is definitely an issue, proposals have not yet been put forward. Kari Whitacre, executive director of Community Outreach Inc. (COI), said that COI and CHF will each be submitting a proposal to city council soon for what a shelter could look like.
“An ideal to me would be a collaborative approach from multiple agencies,” said Traber.
According to County Commissioner Anne Schuster, “The main stumbling block is trying to find a site different than the one downtown. Time is short so there is a lot of pressure.” She added that any help is welcomed and anyone who has a suitable place, such as a warehouse, for an emergency shelter can contact her at email@example.com.
By Gina Pieracci