City of Roseburg creates Commission for the Unhoused
Written by Patrick Schneider on February 2, 2021
Roseburg, Ore. – On January 25, 2021, the City of Roseburg held its first Homeless Commission meeting via Zoom. The Commission was recently established by the City to address the growing concerns and issues of the unhoused population.
Each member of the Commission came to the meeting with years of experience in the field and was appointed to their position by a council.
Members of the Commission include:
Greg Brigham, CEO of Adapt.
Shaun Pritchard, Executive Director of UCAN.
KC Bolton, CEO of Aviva Health.
Brent Eichman, CEO of Umpqua Health.
Shelley Briggs Loosely, Board Chair of YMCA, Family Development, and Casa de Belen.
Michael Feldman, Legislative Assistant for Representative Gary Leif.
The commission says it is armed with decades of experience working in homeless advocacy. And that the Commission is set up to utilize their group knowledge to come up with new solutions to address the growing crisis that is homelessness.
According to the last most recent point-in-time count of homelessness, on the night of January 30, 2019, identified 204 households comprised of 260 individuals who met HUD’s definition of homelessness and were sleeping in Roseburg unhoused. Of those counted, 46% were unsheltered, 38% were in emergency shelter, and 14% were in transitional housing.
When queried about how the first meeting went, “It went well. It was fine. The thing that is the curveball with this commission is we have a Council mandate to focus on opening a low-barrier shelter. It is a long-term-need, but we need to focus on that Mayor Larry Rich said. “Unfortunately, we only spent about five minutes on it at this last meeting because there are short-term needs that we need to talk about, like a warming shelter. There is an immediate need for a warming shelter because it’s cold out right now. There are some other procedural things that we need to work out as a commission. But, we need to get a warming shelter opened right away. And after that, we can re-focus on the low-barrier shelter.”
The commission has a number of goals. “The big goal right now is to open a low barrier shelter. That is the main focus of this commission and we need to get that done, Mayor Rich said.” Now, there are going to be issues with homelessness that will come up throughout the coming years and we’re going to need to deal with it. In the future, residents are going to come to this commission and expect us to solve these issues.” Mayor Rich understands, stating “that a lot of folks have opinions on how to address the issue of homelessness.” The commission remains steadfast focusing on the current goal which is to facilitate the opening of a low barrier shelter. It is a critical thing that needs to get done.
As far as moving forward with the commission efforts, the commission members will look at possible locations such as the fairgrounds, local churches, and schools. They also plan to get in touch with the Dream Center on possible supervision of the warming shelter.
In their next meeting, commissioners plan to figure out three things for low-barrier shelter. One, they need to find the non-profit that is going to run it. We talked about sending an RFP (Request for Proposal) out to see who is available to do this. Second, they will need to find a suitable location for where this low barrier shelter is going to be placed. Also the commission needs to find the money to operate it.
The commission held its first meeting on January 25, 2021. The next Homeless Commission meeting is scheduled for February 22, 2021, at 11 am. The meeting will be broadcast on the City’s website, www.CityofRoseburg.org, and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/CityofRoseburg. Public comment can be sent via email to Amy Sowa, City Recorder, at firstname.lastname@example.org.