Three area social service agencies have teamed up on a plan to locate their operations in the same building on Southwest Second Street.
The Corvallis men’s cold weather shelter, the Stone Soup food service and the daytime drop-in center all will be moving to new quarters later this year. The services have signed individual multiyear leases to use sections of the ground floor of a building at 545 SW Second St.
The state Department of Human Services occupied the first floor before moving in March to a new building on Southwest Research Way. The Community Services Consortium will continue to use the upper floor of the Second Street building.
The men’s shelter, which runs from Nov. 1 through the end of March, operated in the old Hanson Tire Factory building on Southeast Chapman Place this season after four years at a building on Southwest Fourth Street.
The daytime drop-in center, which operates year-round, will be moving from its long-time quarters at the First Christian Church on Southwest Madison Avenue. Aleita Hass-Holcombe said the drop-in center should be ready to relocate by July 1.
Stone Soup, which currently serves meals year-round at both First Christian Church and St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Northwest 25th Street, hopes to have its operations consolidated at the Second Street site by the fall. Sara Ingle of Stone Soup said that the biggest hurdle the agency faces is raising funds to pay for a new commercial kitchen at the new site.
“It’s exciting to see something like this come together, to see this evolve,” said Shawn Collins, project manager with the Corvallis Housing Opportunities Action Council, which oversees the shelter.
Ingle, Hass-Holcombe and Collins gave the Gazette-Times a Monday morning briefing on the project. Corvallis Mayor Biff Traber announced the plan publicly at Monday night’s Corvallis City Council meeting at the downtown fire station.
“It’s not a finished idea, but it’s a major step forward,” Traber said. “There is the potential for a long-term, year-by-year location for the men’s cold weather shelter.”
Councilors were thrilled with the news.
“It’s very exciting to have a permanent shelter … and I will help paint,” said Ward 5’s Charlyn Ellis.
Penny York of Ward 1 stressed the efficiency of having the three services in the same location and Barbara Bull (Ward 5) said that the milestone wouldn’t have been possible without the controversy-free season the shelter had at the Hanson site after four years of livability complaints for the Fourth Street location.
“Hopefully some trust has been built,” said Bull. “They are back in downtown, but they are coming in with an improved relationship.”
Collins said that the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will continue to serve as operators of the shelter. The Second Street building will be divided into three sections, with Haas-Holcombe and Collins indicating that some remodeling will be required but nothing on the scale of the new kitchen that Stone Soup will be installing.