Homeless Help Happenings

Care bag picCommunity Outreach has supplied Corvallis Police new ammo to help the homeless. They’re now armed with sacks full of necessities that someone without a permanent residence might need. According to Corvallis Police Chief Jon Sassaman, “When an officer comes across someone in need, the care bags can be provided to assist the person.” The supplies to start the program were provided by Community Outreach Inc.

Kari Whitacre of Community Outreach Inc. said of the project, “The motivation to create the bags came from a misconception that the police are adversarial to the transient population. We saw value in providing the officers with a simple way to connect by giving the person in need a care bag.” The care bags include a handout listing emergency services, sunscreen, bug spray, lip balm, antibacterial gel, socks, water, and a soft fruit bar.

Everyone involved seems to understand the materials may not do much to address the overarching needs. The hope appears to be that the bags will offer some help and convey the message that Corvallis has a community of people that want to help, including its police.

Going forward, the project needs the community’s help. You can donate money, time, or items toward the care bags. The partnership recognizes the need for these care bags but does not have enough resources to make the project permanent or ongoing. If you would like to donate, contact Community Outreach Inc. at 541-758-3000.

Meanwhile, Corvallis Housing First director Gina Vee has gone on medical leave and former board member Gregg Olson has been tapped to take her place, at least temporarily. Also, the organization has added new board members: former Benton County sheriff Diana Simpson-Godfrey, Samaritan Hospital social worker Jean Schumer, Samaritan Health physician Cosimo Storniolo, Room at the Inn director Sara Power, retired church educator Terry Sherry, and commercial real estate developer Brad Smith.

By Kyra Young