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COMMUNITY SUPPORTED SHELTERS (CSS) – Providing Safe Shelter For Those in Need


Community Supported Shelters (CSS) has worked hard to help their community by offering two ways to shelter the unhoused in Eugene.

—  The Conestoga Hut Program  

The hut program allows business owners IMG_1364to have city permission for a conestoga to be placed on their property.  The hut is built by CSS from funds donated by the community.  The program is administered by the St. Vincent De Paul Parking Program and they pay for a port-a-potty to be maintained there.  The hut acts as both shelter for an unhoused person (or couple) and a means to provide night security for the business.  It is a win win situation and many people have already benefited tremendously from the project.  There are certain key features to the CSS huts:

  1. A combination of reused, salvaged, donated, and new materials help keep cost low.
  2. Structure can be altered to the needs of a variety of inhabitants (for example, can be made wheel chair accessible) and can be personalized for individual’s aesthetics.
  3. Has a single lockable door with key.
  4. Window in rear panel brings in light and offers emergency exit if needed.
  5. Reflective insulation adds a minimal R-Value and increased natural heat retention to the space.
  6. A six by 10 footprint makes it big enough for two people to sleep comfortably.
  7. Built well off the ground to ensure a dry experience during rainfall.
  8. Designed to be deconstructed and moved with relative ease.
  9. Designed with reuse potential, either as another Conestoga Hut or its basic materials can be up-cycled.
  10. Gives everyone interested in creating shelters for people something ‘to-do’ no matter what their skill level is. This concept is called “Community Supported Shelters”.  For instance, a school wood shop class could take it on as a class project.

—  “Rest-stops” are an initiative of the City of Eugene, OR to provide safe and legal places for up to 15 people to sleep at night.

Any non-profit organization involved inScreen Shot 2015-06-07 at 1.56.21 PM providing basic shelter needs is able to submit proposals to the City to manage a ‘rest-stop.’ Currently, CSS manages three rest-stops which are called the Eugene Safe Spots (ESS).  Eugene Safe Spot camps have several features that make it a very basic, but livable environment for people without other shelter options. These include:

1.  A set of rules that provide a system of support to it’s residents
2.  port-a-potties
3. Trash/recycling service
4. A source of drinkable water
5. A fire pit
6. A small covered space for common use and meetings
7. Platforms for tents with covers for the winter months
8. Bi-weekly check-in meetings
9. A useable address, or documentable location (not for receiving mail)
10. An environment that makes peer and social support more of a possibility for peoples lives.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 5.49.48 PMPhotos by Jana Thrift

Photos and Videos Listed by Subject & Date:

Eugene Safe Spot on Roosevelt Avenue

Eugene Safe Spot for age 20-40

NW Expressway “Vet” Safe Spot

IMG_1408Conestoga Huts Around Town

Tents For Shelter – Photos and Videos of Shelters at the Safe Spots

Bathrooms Are Essential – Photos and Videos of the vital port-a-potty

Staying Warm – Photos and Videos of Fire; an Essential Element for Survival

The Community Kitchen – Photos and Videos of Safe Spot Kitchens

Safe Spots During All Kinds of Weather

Interviews with People Living in the “Safe Spots”

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 2.02.39 PMInterviews with People Living in Conestoga Huts

Interviews with CSS Volunteers and Staff

The Dignity Project

Conestoga Hut Demonstration at the Park Blocks


Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 5.34.49 PMMeetings and Public Events:

Community Supported Shelters Block Party

Erik de Buhr at Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) Meeting – March 25, 2015

Erik de Buhr at First Christian Church – August 19, 2014

Fay de Buhr at First Christian Church – August 19, 2014

Northwest Expressway – The Site for Rest Spot 2 & 3 on February 27, 2014

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 5.47.09 PMFundraiser for Eugene Safe Spot – December 19, 2013

Northwest Expressway – Lynn Visits the Future Rest Spot Site – October 31, 2013

Opportunity Village Eugene (OVE) and Community Supported Shelters (CSS) – In the Eugene Celebration Parade – August 24, 2013

Building a Conestoga Hut – June 1, 2013

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