Dar Pomeroy (Left) and Nic Meyer (Right) of ShelterCare's street outreach team
Every Friday, ShelterCare street outreach team-lead Darius “Dar” Pomeroy and a colleague head to Community Court at the Downtown Eugene Public Library, to help people in need of housing sign up for Lane County’s Centralized Wait List.
Dar wants people to know that anyone can walk in to Community Court for help connecting with housing programs and other community services.
“Most people know Community Court as a place you go if you’ve been arrested downtown for a nonviolent offense,” Dar says, “but it’s also a great entry point for services…with everyone all in one place.”
Service providers represented at Community Court include:
- Catholic Community Services
- Lane County Behavioral Health
- Lane County Health and Human Services
- Looking Glass Community Services
- VA Behavioral Health
- White Bird Clinic
- Willamette Family Inc.
Many Lane County housing providers, including ShelterCare, get referrals from the Centralized Wait List (CWL), which prioritizes households based on need and length of time homeless. To get on the CWL requires what’s known as a “front door assessment,” which helps determine eligibility for various housing programs. Dar and his outreach teammates are authorized Front Door Assessors for the CWL
When Dar and his team are doing street outreach, they make sure to let people know about the benefits of Community Court. Their efforts are working…they’ve seen a significant increase in the number of walk-ins each Friday.
Dar shared a story about recent walk-in to Community Court who heard from a friend that he should go to the ShelterCare table to get signed up for the Centralized Wait List. The man has been living in a tent outside of town for the past three years. He is physically disabled, and has no phone, email, or mailbox. Dar recalls:
“He took a pencil and a scrap of paper and literally drew me a map of where he has been camping. Because of his disability and how long he’s been homeless, he was put near the top of the list fairly quickly. He was absolutely overjoyed when I told him that he’s currently No. 7 on the CWL.”
Community Court is a collaborative project that aims to reduce misdemeanor activity in downtown Eugene and address the underlying challenges that may lead to criminal behavior, such as lack of housing.
Dar says that all of the folks he’s talked to at Community Court in the last several months have one thing in common—they have nowhere to live.
“They are staying at Eugene Mission, sleeping in their cars, or camping in a tent,” he says. Most tell Dar that rising housing costs is the reason they initially became homeless.
If you or someone you know needs assistance with housing or other community services, visit Dar and the ShelterCare street outreach team at Community Court.
Community Court takes place at the Downtown Eugene Public Library every Friday from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.