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Officials break ground on The Commons on MLK

The Commons on MLK will provide housing and 24/7 support services to the chronically homeless, prioritizing those who have been on the streets the longest and utilize the most resources.

Posted: Nov 14, 2019 3:08 PM
Updated: Nov 14, 2019 6:28 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- City and county leaders celebrated the groudbreaking of a unique housing complex designed for the homeless across the street from Autzen Stadium on Thursday.

The Commons on MLK will be a 51-unit apartment community located along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the same property as the Lane County Behavioral Health campus.

It will provide housing and 24/7 support services to the chronically homeless, prioritizing those who have been homeless the longest and utilize the most resources.

The Commons on MLK will use a Housing First model, meaning residents who are struggling with addiction and other issues will be housed before getting treatment.

During the ceremony, Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis told the crowd The Commons on MLK is deisgned to help the people who are the most challenging to stabilize their lives. 

"This is a legacy project," said Vinis. "This says for the next hundred years we are invested in this community that needs our support. This is our first step, and we will continue that investment."

County leaders said the project would not be possible without the collaberation between the city, county, state and other organizations including private health care companies.

RELATED: HEALTH CARE COMPANIES PLEDGE $2.7M TO EUGENE HOUSING PROJECT

The project is being developed by Lane County's housing agency, Homes for Good, and has a $13 million price tag.

Susan Blane, Director of Community Health for PeaceHealth, said housing can save lives.

"The Commons on MLK will save hundreds of more lives by stopping the devastating downward spiral of chronic homelessness and poor health," Blane said. 

Jacob Fox, executive director for Homes for Good, said construction will take 12 to 13 months and said more projects like this are needed, and so is more affordable housing.

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