Two of the Conestoga huts at the Nightingale Conestoga Camp in southeast Eugene (my photo).
Another busy weekend, so this contribution to my blog will have to be short and sweet. And sweet it is to see evidence of a growing appreciation for the problem posed to the Eugene/Springfield community by the shortage of affordable housing, particularly for those whose lack of resources is most acute. Citizen support for a variety of solutions has been encouraging, albeit prompted by a dilemma approaching crisis-level. The following are modest steps toward addressing a vexing and complex challenge, one that cities everywhere are confronting:
Nightingale Conestoga Camp
My wife and I attended yesterday’s open house event at the Nightingale Conestoga Camp, located just down the street from our home in southeast Eugene. The Nightingale Health Sanctuary has successfully operated a City-authorized rest stop program for over two-and-a-half years. They moved to the location at 3500 Hilyard Street in the Good Samaritan parking lot earlier this year. NHS, Community Supported Shelters, and the Vulnerable Populations Working Group have been working to secure safe, emergency shelter for our most vulnerable populations in response to the homelessness crisis. While not a permanent solution, the Nightingale Conestoga Camp provides safe shelter for those in need during a period of transition in their lives.
Here’s a link to a Eugene Weekly blog post by Camilla Mortensen. She writes about the City of Springfield’s enlightened decision to waive some systems development charges for accessory dwelling units. SDCs are disproportionately burdensome for “tiny houses” and thus tend to discourage their creation even if the land use code is amenable. ADUs inserted within established neighborhoods take advantage of the infrastructure already at hand (as opposed to requiring the extension of roads and other utilities), so it only makes sense for cities to encourage such an efficient utilization of existing resources.
Finally, here’s a link to an article by Register-Guard reporter Derek Maiolo about Emerald Village, a tiny house community where people with very low incomes will have the security and benefit of a permanent home within a stable community. Now taking shape, Emerald Village is a project by SquareOne Villages, a non-profit dedicated to creating self-managed communities of cost-effective tiny homes for people in need of housing. Additionally, Emerald Village is in no small part the product of the generosity and dedication of the participating design-build teams and contractor partners, many of whom are members of AIA-Southwestern Oregon.
We may never entirely solve the housing affordability quandary, but I am encouraged to see momentum build toward real solutions on a number of fronts.