Community Outreach Inc. will not be closing their emergency family shelter this year after receiving generous donations by members of the community last week. COI made a statement in June that their family shelter would be closed as of July 1, while also shorting office operating hours. Though donations will keep the doors open this season, COI’s trouble began with a loss of government funding.
As Kari Whitacre, COI’s executive director, explained during a Corvallis City Club panel discussion last month, multiple levels of government funding were lost while other operating costs increased. The family emergency shelter was closed and office hours were shortened to allow their transitional shelters to continue operating.
After receiving $75,000 in private donations, COI was able to reopen their doors. While they and many other homeless community advocates should rejoice right now, we must also be proactive and think ahead. Will we be able to have the shelter open next year as well?
The men’s emergency cold weather shelter is in a similar boat with Devco Engineering lending a facility for one year. What will the future hold for the homeless community? It is hard to say, but hopefully the city’s long-term plans will lead to a more sustainable solution.
By Anthony Vitale