Homelessness Initiative Update
article by Samantha Roberts | Director of Business Advocacy, Eugene Chamber of Commerce
As one of our members’ highest priorities, the Eugene Chamber more than a year ago sought to understand how the private sector could help address our homelessness crisis with real-world, on-the-ground solutions. After months of outreach and research we published the September 2021 State of Homelessness Report. Out of this report came one of the Chamber’s most successful change-agents – the Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness, or BLTF.
The purpose of this group has been two-fold: educate local business leaders on the many nuances of this issue, and then use this information to activate our community across sectors in ways that will lead to the greatest impact, ultimately making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.
We know this is a marathon initiative, not a sprint. However, there are short-term wins our community has accomplished, worthy of celebrating. As an example of this, members of the task force recently received an update about the role and importance of shelters for stabilizing individuals as they wait for more permanent housing. Through temporary or transitional shelter programs, residents can find space to rest, adjust their social norms, and start looking for ways to find permanent housing, employment, and meaningful activity.
We heard updates from several people leading these innovative shelter sites in the community, including Everyone Village, Community Supported Shelters and St. Vincent de Paul, as well as an update on the need for volunteers for warming centers this winter. Read on to learn how you can support these important efforts.
To learn more about how to engage with the Eugene Chamber’s Business Leaders Task Force, please contact Sylvia Barry.