EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Two months after the city of Eugene closed Occupy Eugene's camp in Washington-Jefferson Park, protestors are now going after the city, asking leaders in a recent public release to “show them the money.”
Occupy Eugene organizers released a protest message on Sunday, February 12th, 2012, publicly asking the city about the status of tens of thousands of dollars that was originally set aside for a new winter housing facility for the homeless.
The release, titled “Occupy Eugene to City, “Show Us the Money,” can be read at the following link:
Before the camp was ordered to close, at a December 14th, 2012 meeting, Eugene City Council approved the use of $100,000 to open a 7-night a week, “Egan-like” facility to help house those with mental health and drug addiction / substance abuse issues throughout the rest of the 2011-2012 winter season. The facility has also been referred to as a “wet-bed” facility.
While Occupy Eugene has asked the city to “show it the money,” the city says the money is still there and the”Egan-like” wet-bed facility has not been forgotten about.
NewsSource 16 asked city representatives in the City Manager's Office and Eugene Community Development Division about the facility on Monday, February 13th, 2012.
According to Community Relations Director Jan Bohman, city staff continue to work on the issue.
“As you can imagine, the complex issues involved and the services needed to respond requires a strong partnership between the City and a diverse group of service providers,” says Bohman.
St. Vincent de Paul is one of the many service providers that's helping to put the wet-bed facility together.
Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul, Terry McDonald says that another problem is the cost of putting it together. McDonald says $100,000 may help start the facility, but the service would likely require lots of volunteer time.
McDonald says that in all likelihood, a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week facility would require much more money and resources.
But still, McDonald says the City and other service providers are working on a version of the wet-bed facility still.
“What we're trying to work on is to come up with a solution that wouldn't necessarily be a full time 7 day a week, 24 hour a day facility, but one that would be more temporary and transitory. We'll find out if that model is feasible,” says McDonald.
McDonald says he has hope that a wet-bed facility of some kind will open up by late-winter or early spring.
Meanwhile, the Opportunity Eugene task force that spawned out of the Occupy camp closure continues to meet.
The group will meet for a fourth of five meetings on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012. After that, they'll present a final report to Eugene City Council on March 14th, 2012.
Members say there will be some immediate, achievable goals to help the homeless when the task force wraps up its work.