The article “Swept Out of Sight” (EW 6/17) misses the main point of Eugene’s unhoused problem. The city is confronted daily by a huge itinerant population. What the article misses and Eugene leadership misses are the issues that need to be solved to end the moving around of campers. Our community deserves to use its public lands set aside for everyone, its sidewalks, its parks and playgrounds for children.
A system needs to be implemented to end the unhoused crisis. A means to integrate people into the community. Maybe it’s simply defining an area for campers. It could be managed by those who live there. Accountability can and should be part of the plan. A plan will require more social interaction by shelters, increased outreach to campers, establish places for people to camp and case workers to systematically handle people who are in crisis and related mental health issues.
A plan will likely require more social workers, more volunteers and a more systematic approach to the issue rather than a reaction to what is repugnant to most. People need to rally to fund a solution. It’s wrong for police trained for criminal activity to have to respond to campers being moved again and again because we have no other solutions. CAHOOTS is an incredible model that might expand its purpose.
Eugene needs to dedicate focused human resources with solid funding to analyse and address critical issues of itinerant lifestyles, then implement a plan. Don’t take years to do this, it should have been done long ago.