The City of Roseburg (City) recently received an award of funds from the State to create and operate a navigation center to meet the needs of unsheltered homeless folks. Needing an operator for the navigation center, they reached out to UCAN, and we began operations July 1, 2022.
The City’s Gary Leif Navigation Center is named after the late Gary Leif, Roseburg’s local representative in Oregon’s legislature, who worked tirelessly to find solutions to homelessness. The State legislature passed a law in 2021 allowing for funding of low-barrier emergency Shelter (also known as “navigation centers”) that are open 24/7. Here guests receive shelter, case management and housing services, and obtain referrals to other services they need. The City was among the first to receive funds for a navigation center, and UCAN agreed to operate it.
While the City is having repairs and renovations done on a building that will provide group shelter, UCAN has been offering homeless guests the use of ten individual pallet shelters. We currently also offer guests bathrooms, showers, washers and dryers. Guests have access to a kitchen where they can prepare meals.
As a low-barrier shelter, UCAN allows guests that are often excluded from other local shelters. Guests can have criminal backgrounds; only sex offenders can be excluded. UCAN does not require guests to meet sobriety requirements. While guests are not allowed to bring alcohol or non-prescription drugs into the shelter, they are allowed to stay at the shelter even if they are not sober. Guests simply must act in a manner that does not interfere with guests’ and staffs’ enjoyment of the shelter and its resources.
Guests do have to work with a UCAN case manager, and they need to commit to taking actions to obtain permanent housing. Linda and Carl are among those who have come to us ready to find a permanent home. Unable to work, and dealing with HIV, they were tired of living in a van. As shelter guests, they worked closely with our staff, HIV Alliance and staff from the Oregon Health Authority to address their health and housing needs. Our staff was very impressed with their level of commitment, their down-to-earth demeanor, and their caring attitude toward others. They now enjoy life in their new apartment, having obtained rent assistance from a section 8 voucher.
The main shelter will open later this Spring. Once completed, the group shelter will offer 35 beds. We look forward to helping many unsheltered folks get off the streets, so they too can find a permanent home for themselves.