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New pallet shelters to help discharged PeaceHealth patients

St. Vincent de Paul is partnering with PeaceHealth to help unhoused patients after they've been discharged from their hospital stays.

Posted: Jan 22, 2021 12:43 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – St. Vincent de Paul is partnering with PeaceHealth to provide shelter to discharged patients at its Dawn to Dawn site.

A $74,000 grant funded the construction and operation of five personal-sized pallet shelters at 717 Highway 99N.

The nonprofit aims to help temporarily help unhoused people after they’ve left inpatient stays at PeaceHealth hospitals and emergency rooms.

Shelter capacity is low due to social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials with St. Vincent de Paul said, and this has had an impact on PeaceHealth’s ability to place patients in a safe environment after their hospital stays.

“PeaceHealth’s compassionate medical social workers do amazing, tireless work to locate the best possible discharge options for our unhoused patients,” PeaceHealth Oregon Chief Operating Officer Todd Salnas said. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to increase the number of available options by funding this program, and to be partnering with such an outstanding organization.”

St. Vincent de Paul’s executive director, Terry McDonald, called the partnership a “game-changer.”

Trained staff will be on site to monitor the discharged patients’ physical and mental health.

“Besides just providing a place, we have people on site with some medical skills and an ability to actually treat people,” McDonald said. “So I love this plan; it’s a great partnership.”

The five pallet shelters were among 25 delivered in December for use at the Dawn to Dawn site and the Eugene Service Station. They are made by Washington state manufacturer Pallet.

The PeaceHealth funding covers a one-time cost of $9,920 for site preparation, electrical work, fencing and other construction costs. It also provides for operational costs totaling about $64,000, payable over three months. This money pays for staff to oversee shelter guests, utilities and garbage service, and an accessible toilet and hand-washing station.

The Dawn to Dawn site shelters 105 people in a “military-style tent city,” St. Vincent de Paul said. They are adhering to social distancing requirements, and there is a covered dome to quarantine those who have had a potential COVID-19 contact.

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