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Special Report: Mayor Lucy Vinis talks homelessness in Eugene

KEZI 9 News anchor Matt Templeman sat down with Vinis to discuss the homeless crisis.

Posted: Apr 22, 2019 7:21 PM
Updated: Apr 22, 2019 7:21 PM

Speech to Text for Special Report: Mayor Lucy Vinis talks homelessness in Eugene

Below is the closed-captioning text associated with this video. Since this uses automated speech to text spelling and grammar may not be accurate.

what's being done to fix eugene's homeless problem? last week a panhandling ordinance was rejected by city councilors by a vote of 6-2, and that made a lot of left a lot of people angry. in my special report, i sat down with eugene mayor lucy vinis to talk about solutions for our homeless crisis. it seems eugene's homeless are everywhere you look... the endless complaints about the homeless downtown blocking sidewalks, and intimidating customers. police tell them to move along, only making them somebody else's problem... and complaints about what they leave behind. the damage, and cleanup of hazardous materials, waste and drugs is costing tax payers millions of dollars. many wonder...does eugene have a solution? 22:11:51 it's not overnight...not overnight...54 mayor lucy vinis says people need to know the problem didn't develop overnight either. she says the homeless problem was nearly as bad ten years ago, but few noticed. 22:01:50 now it is very visible and now because it is so visible, people say we need solutions. :57 solutions she says that won't push it to the next neighborhood... or another town. seattle, portland, salem...cities along i-5 and beyond are fighting homeless issues. she says it was topic #1 during last summer's u.s. conference of mayors in boston. 22:15:40 at least half of the sessions of the u.s. conference of mayors had to do with housing and homelessness. everybody is struggling with it. :47 and here's why. she says during the 2009 recession the obama administration invested in stimulus funds and dedicated money for homelessness prevention and sheltering people. but, those funds went away and investments that made a difference dried up. she says a booming economy, and low unemployment by itself won't fix it. 22:16:05 matt: so, it's not just jobs... mayor vinis: it's not just jobs, it is several decades of really investing less and less in urban development, so less money going to affordable housing options, decades of less investment in mental health, and addiction treatment...:24 she says solving the problem will require more investing. two years ago eugene's city council dedicated a million dollars to fund the creation of a publicly-owned homeless shelter... and commit to partnering with the county to assess all services dedicated to homelessness. that report was done by "technical assistance collaborative", or tac out of boston. it provided information about system-wide gaps and needs as well as actions and investments to help fill the gaps and make the overall system more effective. 22:09:41 so, i guess the question is, will the problem get better before it gets worse, or worse before it gets better? i guess i fear it's going to get worse before it gets better. :46 i think the challenge is how quickly can we roll out some of these enhancements to the program that are recommended through the t.a.c. report&:54 that will require inspecting opportunity village... the rest stops... the egan warming centers... and car camping programs. some of which are stop gap measures 22:00:55 so how do we make all of those sort of stop gap measures integrate more sensibly into an overall service delivery that really gets people off the streets...that's where we're going. 22:01:09 also helping... a one time approval of 8.6 million dollars in community safety funds. the money added officers and 9-1-1 services... continuation of community court, a day center for the homeless, youth services and more. in may, city councilors will discuss ways to establish sustainable funding for the community safety system. she says that, combined with more efficient homeless services will begin to pay dividends. 22:14:38 after 18 months of the community safety network, and 18 months of movement on tac, it will look at feel different in this town and it will be better!:48 the alternative...scares her. she says walking around eugene, not many people know who she is... 22:01:30 so i'm not targeted, but i will say, but i when i am in any setting or situation where people do know who i am, this is the first thing people talk about&it is on everybody's minds. :40 and while she's not tired of talking about homelessness... she's tired of not having an answer... 22:24:07 i mean, i worry about this& i worry about this a lot. i worry both about the people who are unsheltered when we had the deluge of rain and there out there in the wet and cold&i worry about them. i worry about the business owner who feel they can't stay in business or business is jeopardized because of the foot traffic or the campers&i worry about that. :30 she wants answers for the public, and even getting back to the technical assistance collaborative report that identified gaps in the city's homeless services, and recommendations to fix them... i've posted a link to the report on our website at kezi dot com. and by the way, i asked mayor vinis how she would have voted if council was deadlocked 4-4 on the panhandling ordinance...
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