Sunday, November 1, 2009

A heartfelt & happy update.....

Last year I posted a story titled:
No room at the Inn , in response to a Vet freezing to death as a homeless person during a winter snow, it was decided they could use the old Natl. Guard facility that had just been vacated, as a temporary overnight shelter for the homeless.

Just a short time later, they shut the whole thing down because they were overwhelmed with too many people (not enough cots), and some issues with people showing up under the influence, and with severe medical mental health issues they felt they were not qualified to handle, and concern about the safety of others both using the service and volunteers.
We do also have a year round "Mission" that serves the homeless, but they also require attendance @ a prayer service, and when temps are extreme, becomes full to capacity.
But now a coalition of community groups have pulled together to make this shelter available, interlinking the necessary services.

The Egan Warming Center is a coalition of community members representing service providers, religious congregations, nonprofits, and social activist communities and local government who have come together to ensure that homeless people have shelter during extreme cold weather. Named in honor of Major Thomas Egan, a kindly gentleman who froze to death during a cold spell in 2008, the Warming Center mission is simple: to ensure that homeless people in Lane County have a place to sleep indoors when temperatures drop to 28 degrees or below between November 15th and March 31st.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent

about things that matter.” Martin Luther King Jr.

Coalition Members:

American Red Cross, Oregon Pacific Chapter

Catholic Community Services

Church of the Resurrection

City of Eugene Eugene

4j Schools

Ebbert Memorial United Methodist Church

Eugene Police Department

First Baptist Church of Springfield

First Christian Church of Eugene

FOOD for Lane County

Free People Ministry

Hosea Youth Services

Lane County Emergency Management

Lane County Commission for the Advancement of Human Rights

Lane County Human Services Commission

Lane County Public Health

Lane Transit District

Looking Glass ShelterCare

SouthHills Church

Springfield Alliance for Equality and Respect, a program of CALC

Springfield Shelter Rights Alliance

Springfield School District

St. Alice Catholic Church

St. Vincent DePaul of Lane County

Veterans Reintegration Services White Bird

All these groups pulled together to make this resource available.

I was so disheartened previously that they closed this emergency shelter because they were overwhelmed with the need - it made no sense to me.

But I can also see where if you had people showing up drunk & drugged, or someone with an untreated mental illness & violent tendencies, or just defiant or belligerent, how a shoestring volunteer staff would become easily overwhelmed.

St. Vincent dePaul is heading up the project.

They are asking for both volunteers to cover the shifts, as well as donations.

I am so glad they went back to the table, to make this available once again.

Also... a friend visiting from Ohio made the observation "You've got a real homeless problem here".

He happened to be visiting relatives in the poorest part of town, which is by the Mission & the train tracks.... they don't have the same population of homeless in the wealthy South Hills, or rural outlying areas. But what he said was right, and I hope even though the wealthy neighborhood residents don't see this population in their neighborhoods, they step up and respond. With a population of 154,620- even if each resident gave $1 dollar, that would be a huge amount for the shelter. They provide meals, and a warm/sheltered space to spend the night.

It is up to us to step up and meet the need.

I don't know if I can personally do shifts @ the center (it is an overnight facility), but I will donate to the cause, and do my part to lend a helping hand for those in need.

To make a tax-deductible contribution to St. Vincent de Paul, please make checks payable to:

St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County, Inc. P.O. Box 24608 Eugene, OR 97402


St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County is a 501 (c) 3 charitable, non-profit organization #93-0454786. For more information on planned giving or including St. Vincent de Paul in your will, contact Rebecca Larson at (541) 687-5820 or

Thank you to the coalition who pulled together to restore this much needed service.

My faith in humanity is restored.


Fran said...

I don't know why Blogger is cutting off the edge of the text on this post, but hopefully you can get the gist.

As a civilized nation, we should not allow people to die on the streets for lack of a home.
Don;t even get me started in Saint Ronnie's budget saving by wholesale dumping of people w mental illness on the streets to fend for themselves. But now they have a safety net of an progressive medical center to help be a safety net for those who can't go to the shelter but need help & care.

I know I sound like a broken record when I ask Why is it we always have money for Wars????

Mauigirl said...

Good question, Fran. Somehow we always pony up the bucks to kill people but not to keep them alive.

BTW, I gave you an award over at my place!

Fran said...

Well how nice of you! Thanks so much!

Volly said...

This is good news. If I can find them on Facebook, I'll promote them. Lacking actual money, this is the next best way to support an organization you believe in.