EUGENE, Ore.--The Eugene city council is considering making it easier for religious properties to house people in need. It’s part of a state law, 1051.
KEZI 9 News visited visited the Nightingale center, which is a city-recognized rest stop. There, they have rooms set up for people who are on their way out of homelessness. The co-manager said a yes vote from the city council would get the ball rolling to allow more people to feel like they have a home. That, she said, can be the opportunity people need to get their lives on track.
"When you don't have a place to go that's yours.. It gets pretty flighty. When you give somebody a place to be legally.. Then it might take a second but you get refocused on what you need to do in your life instead of daily survival," Tracy Joscelyn said.
Many faith-based groups in the area, like St. Vincent de Paul, said it would be a great addition to the community.
"We take families who are literally homeless out on the streets or in their cars and we put them through a year to two year process. We have a 93 percent success rate in getting them prepared to come in to permanent housing. But the problem is finding that housing to get them through that period.. That transitional housing," Paul Neville, with St. Vincent de Paul, said.
Neville told KEZI that as it stands now, the laws around secondary dwellings are so strict that it's not realistic for most faith-based properties to have them. He said the need for such housing is constantly growing.. And the units set up for homeless people now.. Just don't have enough space.
"The amount that we were adding every year, which was pretty sizeable for a non-profit, was still far from sufficient," Neville said.
Neville noted this is the first in a series of two votes that will have to happen before any new housing goes up.
The first city council vote is expected to happen Monday, May 14th.