Citizens Group Forms Against Downtown Homeless Shelter

9-08-13_10-57-09_needles_1As homelessness escalates, communities increasingly need to offer services, but sometimes the agencies that offer help can cause problems, too. A group calling themselves Citizens for Protecting Corvallis maintains that Corvallis Housing First (CHF) has done exactly that.

The citizens group largely consists of residents neighboring the downtown cold weather shelter run by CHF. They report having now retained an attorney, and they are holding a public information meeting this Thursday.

They contend their issues with CHF are not the usual not-in-my-backyard arguments, that they regularly find people using drugs and alcohol in their yards, as well as paraphernalia and human waste. Now, they are also concerned about CHF’s plans for a year-round shelter with 90 beds that accepts sex offenders and maintains no sobriety requirement.

Prior reporting finds that the Corvallis Police Department cites an escalation of crime and service calls surrounding clientele at CHF.

CHF executive director Gregg Olson responded, “Our clients include the severely mentally ill, physically ill, veterans, and victims of the continuing economic downturn for the middle class and poor. Many of these persons self-medicate with alcohol and other substances. This addiction makes them ineligible for many services.” He also said, “Corvallis Housing First does want to be a good neighbor, and we look forward to working together with our neighbors to achieve the best quality of life possible for all our residents.”

 Citizens for Protecting Corvallis will hold a meeting at the Corvallis Library on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.

By Rob Goffins