Homeless Help

Lane County launches a ten year plan to end chronic homelessness.

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By Carla Castano

There are hundreds of homeless in Lane County but County Commissioners believe they have a solution. Wednesday, they joined more than two hundred other counties nationwide in launching a ten year plan to end chronic homelessness.

Pappy Robertson has been homeless off and on for years now, despite the hard life he lives, Roberton is optimistic about the new ten year plan to end chronic homelessness in Lane County. "I think its possible if all people work towards a common goal all things are possible. I think what it is is laying aside our prejudices starting at the bottom," Robertson explains.

Those in support of the ten year plan agree with Robertson. they propose beginning with the mentally ill and those suffering from chemical dependencies, since they make up the majority of the chronically homeless. "Every year almost 700 individuals become homeless in our community because of alcohol and drug problems," says Susan Ban with ShelterCare.

Advocates say by putting money into the plan, tax payers will save money. "This small group of chronically homeless individuals and families cost the community so much through their contacts with police, emergency rooms and other crisis services that significant money would be saved by taking a housing first approach," says William Wise with St. Vincent de Paul.

But there are still some unanswered questions about how exactly the plan will work. At the Eugene Mission while the director says he applauds the effort he'd be very surprised to see chronic homelessness ended by 2016. "I have served the homeless in this area for 45 years and I expect when I'm through there will be plenty of work for someone else," says Ernie Unger.

Both the city of Eugene and the Lane County Board of Commissioners have given five-thousand dollars each to start the new plan which follows suggestions from federal HUD officials.

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