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Coos Bay Transitional Shelter To Use Innovative Housing Approach


Like many communities in the region, the housing market in Coos Bay has been tightening for years, leaving a growing number of people without homes. In response, local organizations are working to build a village of small, manufactured living structures as temporary shelter.

The site will be filled with Pallet shelters, tiny temporary housing structures made by a Seattle-area company staffed largely by formerly homeless people. Local nonprofit Oregon Coast Community Action has donated around 20 shelters. Each is an eight-by-eight foot room with hard walls, roof, and a locked door. The units also have electricity and heat.

The shelter site, inspired by the urban campground in Medford, will be able to house around 20 people at a time.

Tara Johnson is the director of The Devereux Center, an organization in Coos Bay that provides resources for houseless people. She hopes this project will fill in gaps left by the area’s limited shelter options.

“I think that people understand that if we don’t do anything about the homeless situation, then in five years we’re still going to be right where we’re at," says Johnson. "So this may not be the perfect solution, but it is a solution, and it’s worth trying.”

Johnson says she wants the project to be a stepping stone into stable living situations.

“We want to see people get into housing," says Johnson. "Whether that housing is long-term housing or short term, maybe it’s treatment, maybe it’s returning home to a family member. We want to get them into whatever program works for them.”

Residents of the campground will be required to meet with a case worker every week and will be able to stay for around six months. Johnson says there will be drinking water and sanitation, as well as 24-hour security guards.