The Roseburg Homeless Commission convened Monday morning, where it discussed the status of warming centers and abandoned vehicles.
Capt. Jeremy Sanders, of the Roseburg Police Department, used the meeting as a time to address community concerns about vehicles, with a particular focus on recreational vehicles, parked on public property.
“It’s one of those things that’s not painted with a singular brush,” Sanders said.
He went on to detail the process involved in addressing vehicles parked for longer than 15 hours, along with the difficulties the department faces when a vehicle needs to be removed — from towing RVs in dilapidated condition to dismantling costs.
City Manager Nikki Messenger said the city receives multiple calls from the public about the same RVs moving from park to park but described the situation as a “double-edged sword.”
“We understand people’s frustration,” Messenger said. “We also understand that if we take somebody’s RV we’re just creating another person probably living on the street instead of in the shelter of the RV.”
City officials will examine existing ordinances next week, which will allow time to explore possible improvements for the situation, she said.
Concerning the topic of shelter, Wayne Ellsworth, homeless outreach coordinator for South River Community Health Center and chair of the Homeless Transition Action Group, or HTAG, said efforts continue with local church leaders about opening up as warming centers as winter approaches.
Ellsworth said further discussion is currently underway about HTAG possibly leasing areas of Amacher and Gaddis Park that can serve as a place for people to remain close to warming and engagement services during the winter.
During last month’s meeting, the city agreed to pay $140,000 to help hire a homeless coordinator for two years. An offer has been extended to someone to fill the position, but if declined, a second wave of interviews will begin, Ellsworth said.
Whereas the challenging hunt to find the location for a shelter with services, also known as a navigation center, may soon be over as some possible leads have emerged, according to city officials.
“It feels like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel that’s getting a little bit brighter, but we don’t want to oversell it yet,” Messenger said.
The city has until July to have the navigation center up and running. This is based on requirements set by a $1.5 million state grant awarded for the center.