IMG_0998These projects, technically called “rest-stops,” are an initiative of the City of Eugene, Oregon to provide safe and legal places for individuals and couples to sleep at night. Any non-profit organization involved in providing basic shelter needs can submit proposals to the City to manage a ‘rest-stop.’ Currently, CSS manages four rest-stops which we call Safe Spots Camp Communities. Our Safe Spot Camps have several features that make it a very basic, but livable environment for people without other shelter options. These include (1) a set of rules that provide a system of support to it’s residents, (2) porta-potties, (3) trash/recycling service, (4) a source of drinkable water, (5) a fire pit, (6) a small covered space for common use and meetings, (7) platforms for tents with covers for the winter months, (8) bi-monthly check-in meetings, (9) a useable address, or documentable location (not for receiving mail), and (10) an environment that makes peer and social support more of a possibility for peoples lives.

How Does Someone Apply and Get a Platform?

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Those that are experiencing homelessness can come to the Community Supported Shelters office and fill out an application to get into a Safe Spot Camp Community. The office is open on Monday -12pm to 2pm, Tuesday & Thursday –  10am to 12 noon and Friday – 10am to 12pm. Because of the high demand for legal places for sleep, we currently prioritize a few specific populations in the existing four camps. One Safe Spot Camp focuses on individuals that are more vulnerable to the ‘streets,’ like individuals with disabilities, one prioritizes veterans, one prioritizes young adults and one prioritizes single women. We give more consideration to people who are checking on their application on a weekly basis.

Basic ‘Safe Spot’ Rules

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The rules of CSS Safe Spot Camp Communities are mixture of City requirements and rules created by our Safe Spot campers and CSS staff. The primary intention of the rules is to provide a safe environment for people in our Safe Spot Camps. Some of the basic rules are as follows: the Safe Spot grounds must be vacated from 10am to 4pm Monday thru Friday, there is no drinking or drug use allowed on the premises, campers must treat each other in a way that is respectfully of each other needs, and campers belongings must not spread two feet away from their platforms.