Press Releases

Navigation center moves forward


Note: This press release has been corrected to show that 17 properties were considered for the center. The City apologizes for the error.

ROSEBURG – City officials will collaborate with a local poverty-fighting agency to open the City’s emergency shelter and navigation center this summer after the Roseburg City Council approved a contract in an amount not to exceed $3.25 million on Monday, March 14.

The City Council voted 7-0 Monday night to approve awarding the operator contract to United Community Action Network (UCAN) and exempt the contract from competition in the public contracting process. The decision came after the Roseburg Homeless Commission voted on Monday, Feb. 28, to recommend the Council approve the contract.

At meetings this spring, the commission and Council are expected to consider naming the center in honor of the late state Rep. Gary Leif, who was instrumental in getting $1.5 million in state funding for the navigation center.

City officials and UCAN leaders are expected to sign the final operating agreement later this week so UCAN can begin preparation work as soon as May 1 at the center’s future home -- a 7,423-square-foot building recently bought by the City for this purpose.

However, the center is not expected to open until June 30, which is when services for homeless women, men and families would be expected to begin and 10 pallet shelters would be available. When fully operational, the center would offer 30 shelter beds and 10 pallet shelters, but additional capacity could be negotiated in the future.

“UCAN has a proven record of successfully addressing the needs of homeless and low-income residents of Roseburg,” said Assistant City Manager Amy Sowa. “The City is confident UCAN will operate a successful program at the center – providing a place for homeless individuals and families to work toward independence so they can find permanent housing.”

Operating costs for the shelter and navigation center are estimated to be about $1.75 million for the first 14 months and $1.5 million for the second year. An operating agreement between the City and UCAN is expected to include the City’s commitment to reimburse UCAN’s actual, documented operating costs up to those amounts. UCAN may work with other partners to obtain more operational funding to help offset costs to the City. If awarded, the term of the initial contract could start as early as May 1 and end June 30, 2024, with options for extensions.

The City bought the building at 948 S.E. Mill St. for $270,000 from UCAN, which is selling the property for slightly less than the assessed value under the organization’s mission to help the homeless.

In April, the Oregon Legislature awarded the City a $1.5 million grant to help pay for capital or operational costs to establish an emergency shelter and navigation center by June 30, 2022. The city must return the funds if the center is not operating by that date. Since last summer, City Manager Nikki Messenger, Assistant City Manager Amy Sowa, Councilor Shelley Briggs Loosely and Mayor Larry Rich had considered 17 properties throughout Roseburg for that purpose.

In late July, the City issued a request for proposals to find a qualified organization that could run the shelter and navigation center with support services. No proposals were submitted by the Oct. 13 deadline.

City staff reached out to local and regional nonprofits and agencies in the search for an operator. Those organizations either were not qualified or did not have enough staff to take on that role, according to Assistant City Manager Amy Sowa.

Following discussions with his staff, UCAN Executive Director Shaun Pritchard contacted City officials to offer that UCAN oversee administration of the shelter and navigation center, while one or more partners would provide some or all of the wraparound services to center residents. UCAN, which is among about 1,000 community action agencies created to fight America’s War on Poverty, offers services to help Douglas County and Josephine County residents obtain and maintain stable housing, identify personal goals and develop plans to meet those goals.

Before the center opens, the City and UCAN will provide opportunities for neighbors and other community members to ask questions, voice concerns and get more information about center operations.

UCAN will provide or oversee a decent, safe, sanitary shelter for homeless women, men and families as well as case management services to help people become more self-sufficient and enable them to find and move into stable, sustainable housing.

Posted by RoseburgAdmin