Health care companies pledge $2.7M to Eugene housing project

The Commons on MLK aims to provide 51 studio apartments for the chronically homeless and medically fragile and have 24/7 on-site supportive services.

Posted: Oct 2, 2019 6:13 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Four health care organizations are stepping up to make an affordable housing complex a reality.

Officials say the four companies have pledged nearly $2.7 million to Lane County's housing authority, Homes for Good, for their project, The Commons on MLK.

The project aims to provide 51 studio apartments for the chronically homeless and medically fragile and have 24/7 on-site supportive services.

The total cost of the project is $13 million, and it is planned to be built on the same property as the Lane County Behavioral Health Campus across from Autzen Stadium.

The Commons on MLK will use a housing-first method, meaning residents who are struggling with addiction and other issues will be housed before getting treatment. Once they're there, they can take advantage of a number of programs, including drug treatment and mental health counseling.

Homes For Good Executive Director Jacob Fox said without the companies' support, the project would not be possible.

"Folks will be able to begin to address an addiction issue, a mental health issue, a physical health issue," said Fox. "Once they're in a home, it's been proven that people heal faster and become more self-sufficient."

RELATED: 'HOUSING FIRST' PROJECT IN EUGENE HOPES TO OPEN BY 2020

Kaiser Permanente Northwest and PeaceHealth will contribute $750,000 each toward the development; Pacific Health Associates, a tax-exempt organization that works in conjunction with PacificSource, will provide $500,000, and the PacificSource Foundation for Health Improvement will provide a $180,000 programmatic grant; and the Trillium Community Health Plan will donate $500,000, officials say.

Tony Plunk, who's been homeless since the start of the year, said it's been difficult for him to get back on his feet without a home or proper documents. He said The Commons on MLK is a step in the right direction for him and others to get off the street.

"We're just trying to survive," Plunk said. "This would give people a chance to actually focus on what needs to be done and get things better."

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for November. They hope to have it completely built by December 2020.

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