New homeless camp awaits veterans at Eugene Mission

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Some homeless veterans will be moving from one camp to another over the weekend — with a twist.

The new camp, on the Eugene Mission’s First Avenue campus, is slated to open Friday. The old camp, at Northwest Expressway and Chambers Street, will close up on Sunday.

All veterans leaving the old camp are guaranteed a spot at the new camp, said Erik de Buhr, executive director of Community Supported Shelters, the nonprofit group that manages the camps.

Because the Eugene Mission has a zero-tolerance policy on alcohol and drug use, veterans must agree to forgo any alcohol and drug use, even during those hours when they may be away from the mission’s premises.

Veterans struggling with alcohol or drug addiction can still claim a spot at the new camp if they agree to undergo alcohol rehabilitation courses at the Willamette Family Treatment Center, de Buhr said. Such treatment is typically funded through Veterans Affairs insurance, de Buhr said.

homeless1De Buhr said it will be up to individual veterans to decide whether they will comply with the policy and move to the new camp or not.

Of the five current residents in the existing camp, two are considering the move, one may go into treatment before moving, and the remaining two will “most likely” not join the new camp, de Buhr said.

At all three homeless “rest stop” camps operated by CSS, neither drinking nor drug use is allowed on the premises. However, that prohibition does not apply to residents’ behavior outside the camp, and campers are asked to vacate the premises between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.

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