2200 Ashland Street Will Not Become a Permanent Homeless Shelter

ASHLAND, Ore. — Ashland City Council this week rejected an Oregon State funding offer of $1.8 million to renovate 2200 Ashland Street into a permanent shelter. The premises will continue to be used as a severe weather shelter, offering 30 homeless people an overnight bed.


Renovation Project Rejected by Ashland City Council

Ashland City Council has turned down an offer of $1.8 million for renovations to its present severe weather homeless shelter and a further $800,000 as operating funds by 5-1 votes. The funding was for showers, bathrooms, and a sprinkler system. It would also have ensured that 2200 Ashland Street meets fire code standards.

The opposing councilors feel that the renovations will be expensive and deprive homeless people of a roof over their heads for too long while renovations are underway. They believe 2200 Ashland Street will better serve the immediate need for a severe weather shelter.

City councilors in favor of shutting down the proposed renovation project are Dylan Bloom, Jeff Dahle, Gima DuQuenne, Eric Hansen and Paula Hyatt. The only councilor opposed to the motion to turn down the funding is Councilor Bob Kaplan.

Mayor Tonya Graham says apart from expensive construction costs, it does not make sense to renovate a building “to what it was never designed to be” when the city is dealing with an “emergency on the street where people need immediate shelter.” Mayor Graham says that the city will instead explore other potential shelter options with ACCESS, a housing non-profit. ACCESS has been providing food, warmth, and shelter to low-income Jackson County families since 1976.

Councilor Jeff Dahle says by stepping away from the project the city council will have the time to analyze and prepare a comprehensive plan for the way forward. In the meantime, the city council is preparing a master plan to deal with homelessness. The plan is expected to be released within the next few months.

Councilor Gina DuQuenne believes that by accepting the state funds, the city council will deprive other local organizations of money needed to continue their work for the homeless population.

The motion to refuse the funding and close 2200 Ashland Street as a shelter by the end of this month was proposed by Councilor Dylan Bloom. He says Ashland City Council can now correct previous mistakes. Councilor Bloom believes that the proposed project was flawed from the outset. “We must have a comprehensive plan and support of the community before we act.”

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