Grants Pass may have found new homeless shelter site by JoCo Fairgrounds

GRANTS PASS, Ore. —Plans to bring more homeless resources to Josephine County’s largest city, are finally taking shape. A site has been found in Grants Pass for a new transitional housing navigation center.

It comes at a great time, as local shelters are limited in the community. Organizers say this plot of land will eventually become a facility to house up to 90 people. Dubbed, the Hope Center, it will help navigate them out of homelessness.

“It’s an appropriate piece in the puzzle, to transition people from living on the streets to permanent housing and a more functional lifestyle,” says Doug Walker with the Allcare Community Foundation.

The Allcare Community Foundation has been working with the Grants Pass City Council for nearly a year, to find a facility to do just that. What’s often called an urban campground was originally planned for N Street, but back in November, the location was met with pushback from city councilors over price, and neighbors over its proximity to an elementary school. It sent organizers back to the drawing board.

Then they found this property on 1700 Nebraska Avenue, near the fairgrounds. Walker says Rogue Retreat will operate the site, with hopes of offering case management offices, a community area, and tiny houses, accommodating up to 90 people.

“The problems with people not having a place to live and sleep and in the parks and doorways are getting worse, not better and its time for this kind of thing in Grants Pass,” said Walker.

Mayor Sara Bristol says a facility like this is needed with the increase in the homeless population in Grants Pass.

“We are getting complaints from citizens not comfortable using the parks and we understand that and wanna fix that,” she said.

Walker says this site will be low barrier. That means people who stay there have a simple set of basic rules to stay, joining only 2 other low barrier-no barrier sites in Grants Pass.

Those are Foundry Village, which has a long waiting list, and Rogue Retreat’s-UCAN shelter.  The Grants Pass Gospel Mission another local shelter, has a long set of strict requirements for entry.

“They do some good work there and they serve a need for sure but we also need to provide more solutions,” said Mayor Bristol.

Bristol and Walker both support this new location, as a step in the right direction for Grants Pass. Walker says his team is applying for the grant funding from the city to purchase the property. If all gets approved, he says a groundbreaking could happen as soon as the next 40 days.

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Jenna King is the 6pm and 11pm anchor for NBC5 News. Jenna is a Burbank, CA native. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Sports Business. During her time at Oregon she was part of the student-run television station, Duck TV. She also grew her passion for sports through her internship with the PAC 12 Network. When Jenna is not in the newsroom you can find her rooting for her hometown Dodgers, exploring the outdoors or binging on the latest Netflix release.
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