EUGENE, Ore. — Progress was made between SLEEPS and the city of Eugene Monday, as SLEEPS members met with Mayor Kitty Piercy.
SLEEPS members who live at the Whoville camp say talking with the mayor was a step in the right direction. Both the mayor, and the four members in the meeting, say it was productive and they’re working to get the ball rolling on a homeless camp.
SLEEPS members marched to the mayor’s office Monday morning with hopes of opening up a dialogue with Mayor Kitty Piercy.
“When people speak to each other they learn things, you know, and I think that the mayor is an elected official, she has her constituents to answer to; but, I think the mayor does have a general concern to this issue,” said SLEEPS member Tin Man.
Tin Man says the four members who spoke with the mayor feel their voices have been heard.
“We got to share some of our insights and the experiences that we’ve had at the Whoville sites and we got to hear from the mayor. I wouldn’t call them concerns, but just questions that they’re constituents are asking them,” Tin Man said.
“I listened and I understand and I think they understand that I understand, but what we can do is a whole other story,” Mayor Piercy said.
Tin Man says it was another opportunity for the city and SLEEPS to talk about the future of a homeless camp.
“We’re working on piloting kind of the rest stop concept and see how that goes. We know there are people in need and we care about it,” Mayor Piercy said.
While that camp is still in the works, SLEEPS members hope the community understands the need in the area.
“The Eugenians may not have chose this, but Eugene was chosen. I’ve heard from a lot of people in the country that are having to leave the south, the southeast, the east and they are coming north, northwest in Oregon, Washington and seeking shelter and seeking a better chance because things are becoming impossible for us elsewhere,” said SLEEPS member Tzedakah Bat Eliyah.
Down the road from Whoville, a permanent camp could be a stepping stone to Opportunity Village.
“I would kind of see this as you know the front porch of for potentially the village. To find people here who work well in a community setting like this already because that’s what the village is as well,” said Dan Bryant, Opportunity Village President.
Mayor Piercy says she had a meeting Monday afternoon about the camp, but there still isn’t a set date on when or where it could open.