Shelter Services in Limbo

Both the Corvallis Daytime Drop-In Center and Stone Soup Corvallis, Inc. exist to meet needs.

Stone Soup, a volunteer-run nonprofit, provides one hot meal each day to any person in need – no ID or proof of income required.

The drop-in center provides many services to those experiencing homelessness or who are low-income, including but not limited to: weekday breakfasts; employment and GED assistance; help obtaining, replacing or filling out official paperwork; connecting visitors with showers, laundry, health and mental health providers; prescription assistance; mailbox space; and assistance with basic housing and transportation needs. 

“We are a hub,” says Aleita Hass-Holcombe, president of the drop-in center. “We don’t do everything ourselves but intersect with other agencies who provide services. [The center] is an oasis of safety for people to find help.” Trust-building, she says, is also key to their work. 

In May 2018, the daytime drop-in center, Stone Soup meal service and Corvallis’ men’s cold weather shelter unveiled plans to co-locate their services at 545 SW 2nd Street. Plans were shared soon after the three organizations confirmed this location was a real possibility, says Hass-Holcombe.

Move On Hold, Maybe
Now, two updates have put their plans in limbo. The First Alternative Co-op shared that last year’s temporary men’s shelter across from the South store impacted them more than previously made public. In response to this and ongoing conversation, County Commissioner Ann Schuster now publicly opposes co-locating services at the 2nd Street location.

The South Co-op’s difficulties with the men’s shelter was news to Hass-Holcombe, who sat on the advisory committee of the shelter along with the Co-op’s general manager Cindee Lolik. “We met every month [and] would ask her how it was going, what we could do to plan ahead to mitigate some of the actions she described,” says Hass-Holcombe. 

When issues did arise the shelter manager took care of them, but the committee didn’t know the extent of the issues until this past week. 

As for plans moving forward, Hass-Holcombe says the drop-in center will move out of First Christian Church at the end of June when their lease ends and will need somewhere to be by July 2. There are no plans to renew the lease at the church. When asked if the church would be willing to do so, Hass-Holcombe said they probably would, but she had not asked.

The drop-in center has not officially signed a lease at the 2nd Street location, but has been reassured that the landlord still supports plans to co-locate services on the ground floor. 

Stone Soup contact Susan Dunham did not respond to messages requesting a contact, but Hass-Holcombe says Stone Soup can’t move forward on the 2nd Street location until they know they will be there long-term. A full commercial kitchen needs to be built, which will take time and money.

“This is putting us on hold, and it feels really uncomfortable,” says Hass-Holcombe.

By Alisha Wang Saville