City Government, Springfield

Rep. Lively town hall focuses housing, homelessness

SPRINGFIELD — Last week, Representative John Lively hosted a town hall meeting in Springfield to focus on the local impact of the Governor’s recent emergency houseless declaration and a recent housing package passed in the legislature. 

Speakers from the City of Springfield, St. Vincent de Paul, and Lane County also weighed in on the local impact of these state measures. 

A local ALL IN Lane County Multi-Agency Coordination (MAC) Group has been created for interagency management, planning, coordination, and operational leadership to provide strategic coordination, identify resources and manage goals — all to address the housing supply and unhoused crisis. 

Carly Walker is the Homeless Management Information System supervisor for Lane County and a member of the ALL IN Mac group. 

“There’s a few really important pieces of this that function differently from how we normally function as a homelessness response team,” she said. “One is that we’re organizing in the way emergency management does. We’re bringing together strategies from the county, the cities and local nonprofits to rehouse, expand our emergency shelters and do more outreach. Our primary goals were given to us by the governor. But on the micro-level, we have to decide what strategies we want to consider.” 

Walker passed out the MAC group’s first spending plan for the ALL IN funding allocation to be approved. 

• $2.8M to serve 740 households to prevent people who are on the verge of losing their housing from becoming houseless. This funding will go to increasing street outreach and bolstering homelessness prevention programs, like rent assistance. 

• $4M to create 230 new emergency shelter beds — by either expanding capacity of existing shelters or creating new shelter beds. 

• $11.5M households for 247 to increase rapid-response programming, like funding mobile outreach teams who will provide case-coordination to move people into permanent housing. 

“The other thing I want to reinforce about this is that we have to sustain these things,” Rep. Lively said. “We have to find the mechanisms to sustain and keep these efforts. It’s a longer term commitment.” 

Sam Kelly-Quattrocchi, an Economic Development Analyst for the City of Springfield, spoke to efforts in town to support the MAC group’s goals. 

“When the city thinks about housing, we view it like a ladder with folks moving up and down,” he said. “We’re not trying to own housing units ourselves, but look toward the development community and see where they are having issues. When we look at our local options, we look at changing our zoning and development code. Can we help advocate for dollars for them? At the County? At the State?” 

Rep. Lively added, “We know and recognize communities need the money to provide infrastructure and also know people trying to develop housing have costs upfront that can be burdensome. There’s money both in this bill and others that will help offset those costs so that hopefully it will spur development in this area.” 

Brent Heller, Business Development Director for St. Vincent de Paul, also chimed in, adding that SVdP’s Director Terry McDonald had recently been awarded a grant in coordination with the legislature to build manufactured housing in Eugene — the HOPE venture, which will build prefabricated homes for low-income families – is anticipated to begin production later this year.

“As Lane County’s largest human services provider, our goal is to help move people into self-sufficiency and out of poverty. Housing is a huge part of that, of course. Really, we try to provide services that are tied up in local conditions of need,” he said.