Homelessness is a symptom of a chronic condition that affects all aspects of our community — economic, social, and political. Like band-aids placed over infected wounds, temporary shelters, food kitchens, and jails temporarily cover unseemly blemishes, but they ultimately fail to address the underlying causes.
To diagnose properly and begin to heal the septicity of homelessness as a physical, emotional, and spiritual malady, our community must examine the issue through economic, social, and political lenses. For every person who is unhoused, what are the costs to our community, whether in taxpayer dollars or the lost opportunity of recruiting businesses downtown? How do disagreements about the root causes of homelessness impede policy design, as public servants and elected officials debate whether an overpriced housing market or challenging personal circumstances contribute more significantly to the crisis? What kind of return on community investment do we lose with every youth who experiences chronic homelessness?
Bob Cerince will provide a brief review of Lane County’s recently convened Community Impact Kickoff, where elected officials, social service providers, city and county staff, and homeless advocates gathered to discuss next steps in implementing recommendations from the TAC Report.
Wakan Alferes, Marc Douthit and Chris Skinner will participate in a panel discussion about some dimensions of this problem:
- Historic community costs associated with homelessness — e.g. health services, sanitation, criminal justice, welfare payments, and repairing infrastructure deterioration
- Regulating costs while implementing best practices for a Housing First approach
- Funding streams for the types of housing recommended by the TAC Report, including the limitations/parameters of each
- Alternative housing and shelter options, including new funding sources
- Focus on recovery as part of a long-term strategy to end homelessness
Bob Cerince is the Homeless and Supportive Housing Services Supervisor for Lane County Health and Human Services. He previously was the Deputy Director for the Orange County Congregation Community Organization and a Managing Partner with CLA & Associates. He received his MPA in Urban Management from Cal State Fullerton and an MDiv in Pastoral Ministry from the San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Wakan Alferes oversees the Resident Services, Family Self-Sufficiency, and Permanent Supportive Housing programs at Homes for Good. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a former Peace Corps Volunteer. Prior to joining Homes for Good, she was a Transitional Resource Counselor with ShelterCare and a Resident Services Supervisor with Home Forward in Portland.
Marc Douthit is the Men’s Residential Program Director at Willamette Family’s Buckley Detox Center, located in the Whiteaker neighborhood. Before transitioning to Buckley, Marc was the Men’s Residential Program Director at Willamette Family’s Carlton House, a residential housing facility that offers individual counseling and other mental health and recovery support.
Chris Skinner became Chief of Police for the City of Eugene in 2018, after serving as Chief of Police in Richland, WA. Previously, he held positions with the Benton County Sheriff’s Office and the Hillsboro Police Department. He has a master’s degree in Business Administration from George Fox University and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy.