Area pastor, and chaplain for the Lake Health District, Eric Sarensen represented Ross and Kelly McGarva, at the Lakeview Town Council on Tuesday, May 26, about the rezoning of the Lakeview Lockers to multi-family with the goal of turning it into supportive housing for the chronically homeless.
Currently Lakeview Lockers is closed, and has under gone the first two phases of brownsfield testing, with the eventual goal of turning it into supportive housing for the chronically homeless in the community. According to Sarensen, the place will house approximately 15 units with mostly studio apartments and a few one bedroom units. The place would have a on-site manager and provide supportive services to help people get back on their feet with a roof over their heads.
“We have been told that we qualify for grant monies for the project as soon as we have a place that is shovel ready, and that is the Lakeview Lockers,” said Sarsensen.
Though as long as the current designation stands, they are unable to access the dollars and to start the process of converting the former meat processor building into the apartments.
The model would follow a model used in larger communities that has shown a 90% success rate of getting people permantely off the streets. Whether it was a break up with a loved one, a death in the family, or getting help to get off of drugs. The program has shown that having a stable roof over someone’s head goes a long way to getting them out of living in their cars, on someones couch or staying at a hotel. The model lets people rebuild their lives and access services that are available in the community such as mental health, physical health, appearances in treatment court and more. One of the reasons that Lakeview Lockers was chosen was that it is in walking distance to many of these services.
Lakeview Mayor Ray Turner was concerned that this might attract people from other communities to come to Lakeview if something like this is built. Sarensen noted that other communities have done this, and that has not been the outcome. He said that it would be for the people of Lakeview only, and that he does not see people coming from the bigger cities, which already offer similar programs.
Currently Sarensen is working with an architect to make sure it follows the research in trauma healing housing and that it does not trigger whatever trauma people are running from in the past. He plans a dog park area, as many homeless people have a dog, and a community garden for residents of the building.
“This is part of a whole team effort from parole, probation, the sheriff’s office, the Lake Health District, all working together as one to find a place to invest in,” said Sarensen.
The Lakeview Town Council approved the rezoning request. For more information contact Sarensen at 541-947-2114.
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