From Whoville to a Health Sanctuary: Vision for camp takes shape

      EUGENE, Ore. - After police shut down an illegal homeless camp in the center of town, an anonymous donor put up $400,000 to fund a more permanent camp to assist people without housing who are living on the streets.

      "This is going to be much more than a camp site," said David Strahan. "For many of the homeless, it will be a temporary home."

      Organizers have put together the requirements for what's being called the Nightingale Health Sanctuary: walking distance to service providers; access to a bus line; utilities; and the ability to restrict who comes inside.

      The group won't say which specific places they've been looking at.

      They're narrowing locations down and already have a mock design of the site.

      "The Nightingale Health Sanctuary site will have a common gathering for the residents there and caretakers there and community kitchen and tents and platforms," Strahan said.

      Coming up in June, supporters plan a concert to raise additional funds for the effort.

      Organizers offered this description of their search:

      The Nightingale Health Sanctuary seeks land on which to operate a health sanctuary. The purpose of the health sanctuary is to provide a safe and supportive community for unhoused people with physical and/or mental health issues to live alongside individuals who can provide assistance and support. Many of the residents will be chronically homeless. Others will be patients discharged from hospital ERs, surgical units and ICU facilities. Many will be clients of Whitebird Clinic and/or Occupy Medical and will continue to receive treatment and support from professionals from those organizations.

      What is needed?

      The following property attributes will be ideal for the Sanctuary:

      Easy access to Whitebird Clinic, Dining Room, Library and other downtown services

      Easy walking access to LTD

      Wheel chair and walker accessible

      Controllable access

      Access for portalet, garbage and recycle service

      1 acre or more

      Water, sewer, electric

      What would this site look like?

      Residents will initially live in tents on tent platforms. The Nightingale Health Sanctuary will use several community tents/tarps in addition to the private tents. These community shelters will include a cooking area and a community gathering area.

      The long term vision includes microhousing, the operation of a health clinic and an emergency shelter for overnight guests. The Nightingale Health Sanctuary will be open 24/7, permitting residents to remain on site during the day. This provision is critical for the population who will live here as their health and special needs are best accommodated by providing them with a place to be during the day, a place where they can build community and benefit from the support of other residents. Additionally, this eases the burden on the downtown area and greatly improves the security of the site.

      All residents and visitors will sign and adhere to a set of Community Agreements that will create and protect a safe environment both in the sanctuary and in the neighborhood. A process will be in place requiring those failing to live within the agreements to leave if they do not, or cannot, abide by the Community Agreements.