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Homeless Camping Program Complaint Calls Shoot Up

EUGENE, Ore. — City councilors will get a look into how the homeless camping program is working Monday.

City staff say the volume of complaints was consistent between 2005 and 2010.  But there has been a significant jump in the number of calls the first quarter of this year.  That’s January through March.

They say in 2010, there were 161 calls for service, compared to 359 in 2011.  That’s about a 45 percent increase.

They say they can’t pinpoint what areas or why this is happening, based on the data they have.

“The sheer number we’re a little concerned with and you can tell when you’re getting a lot of calls on a regular basis but with nothing to compare it to in the past years. It’ll be interesting to discuss that further with the police department and our other stakeholders,” said Mitch Wisth, a City of Eugene Community Programs Analyst.

Staff do say the program is an innovative approach to a larger problem.  The sites currently serve 53 people who are in transition into finding more permanant housing. More than 80 are on the waiting list.

Staff say they are working to obtain more sites.  They say as the better weather approaches, they expect more people to sign on with the program.

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