In order to help visualize what homeless amenities Corvallis has and where it is lacking, the Advocate has developed a short guide of what the main homelessness organizations in town are and what shelters they provide.
This rundown coincides with two issues of concern – whether or not Corvallis will implement an emergency men’s cold weather shelter in time this year, and the fact that Community Outreach, Inc. will be closing their emergency family shelter as of July 1st. The former provided for upwards of 40 men this last winter, the last year it was in operation. The latter provided emergency shelter to 11 men, 36 women, and 79 families consisting of 114 adults with 116 children in 2016.
Homeless shelters typically follow one of two models: Tiered Housing or Housing First.
In the traditional tiered housing model, the homeless population is served in a tiered system of emergency shelters and transitional housing. The emergency shelters provide short-term, temporary housing, and clients can apply to move into one or more tiers of transitional housing, which moves them gradually closer to living independently. Continued participation in these programs is often conditional on clients’ behavior: for example, remaining sober and participating in required counseling or training.
The Housing First model focuses on getting homeless people into permanent housing as quickly as possible, without preconditions like sobriety or required counseling. Once in permanent housing, the model may offer supportive services and connections to help clients stay in their homes. This model is relatively new and is based on the idea that a homeless person’s primary need is for stable housing, and that other problems may improve once they have a stable place to live.
ORGANIZATIONS THAT PROVIDE HOMELESS SERVICES
Community Outreach, Inc. (COI)
In operation since 1971, Community Outreach, Inc. provides a wide range of homeless services at its location at 865 NW Reiman Avenue. COI’s homeless housing services generally follow a tiered model, providing emergency shelter and offering applications for dorm-style men’s, women’s, and family housing. Homeless individuals who use emergency services are encouraged to apply for transitional housing. COI’s emergency family shelter is available regardless of intoxication, but the organization generally has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs and/or alcohol in transitional housing.
COI’s services include:
• Emergency Family Shelter: To be discontinued due to significant loss of city, state and federal funding as of July 1st. COI had offered a free, year-round drop-in shelter for families seeking a safe place to sleep for the night. The program was open to families with a male and/or female 18 or older with children, regardless of drug/alcohol intoxication. Clients were seen on-site as early as 7 p.m. and had to be checked in no later than 9 p.m. The next morning, families would leave by 7 a.m. Multiple-day housing was sometimes possible, depending on clients’ behavior and bed availability. At press time, we do not know what availability will be the remainder of this month.
• Sunflower Shelter. COI’s Sunflower Shelter is a no- or minimal-cost transitional housing program for families. Enrolled families participate in the program for six months to up to two years. During that time, they meet regularly with COI case managers and receive access to COI’s food pantry, support for job searches, and training in money management and other life skills. Participants must be drug- and alcohol-free.
• Transitions. COI’s Transitions program is a transitional housing program for homeless young adults aged 18 to 25 that provides housing for 12 to 18 months in locations operated by COI partnership organizations, such as the Jackson Street Youth Shelter and Willamette Neighborhood Housing. Participants meet weekly with COI case managers and have a peer support network and vocational training.
• Good 2 Go Veteran Shelter. COI’s veterans program is a transitional housing program for homeless U.S. military veterans and their families. Participants receive shelter through COI partner facilities, peer support, and weekly COI case management meetings. Participants are enrolled in the Veteran’s Administration’s (VA) Grant Per Diem program, which provides additional employment, education, and housing assistance.
Corvallis Housing First (CHF)
CHF opened in Corvallis with the goal of expanding local services following the housing first model. In addition, it has operated the only emergency shelter in town open to adult men without families, regardless of intoxication level. Its current services include:
• Partner’s Place. Located at 1665 NW Harrison Boulevard, CHF’s Partner’s Place provides permanent housing for 18 individuals who have been chronically homeless for more than a year. It opened in 2011, and residents must apply to live in the building and follow house rules to stay there.
• Van Buren House. Located on Van Buren Avenue, CHF’s Van Buren House offered emergency shelter for 40-plus adult men. The shelter became the source of controversy in 2016 when local residents and business owners became concerned with rising crime rates and street harassment; its future is uncertain. After proposals were put forth by both CHF and COI for a men’s emergency shelter, the City Council gave CHF permission to continue operation of the men’s emergency shelter for the 2016-‘17 winter. The shelter operated at reduced capacity of 20 beds, sheltering the most vulnerable men with a check-in at 7 p.m. or 6 p.m. for the especially vulnerable. Check-out was at 7 a.m. Currently, plans for the shelter are in progress.
Room at the Inn (Women’s Shelter)
Operated by a board of directors including members from the First United Methodist Church, Room at the Inn is located in the church’s Community Center at 12th Street and Jackson Avenue in Corvallis. The shelter is open Nov. 1 through March 31, and provides emergency housing for up to 12 adult women (18 and older) with no children or pets. Women must check in between 7 and 8 p.m. and leave by 7 a.m. the next morning.
Find more info at http://corvallisfumc.org/
Jackson Street Youth Services
Started in 1999, Jackson Street Youth Services offers both overnight and transitional housing for youth aged 10 to 17 (18 with permission, 16 and younger with legal guardian permission).
• Overnight Shelters. Jackson Street operates emergency youth shelters in Corvallis at 555 NW Jackson Avenue and in Albany at 1240 SE 7th Avenue. Houses are initially open to youth for 72 hours. Additional housing is behavior-dependent; drugs/alcohol are not permitted. After a maximum of 21 days, clients begin formal case management and goal setting.
• Next Steps. The Next Steps program is a transitional housing program for 18- to 20-year-olds. Participants must be sober and meet weekly with a case manager. Housing is in a community dorm/apartment, and participants have opportunities for training and peer support.
By Maggie Anderson