Here is a view Monday afternoon of the building on Southwest Second Street that will be used in the coming months to house the Stone Soup meal service, the Daytime Drop-In Center and the Men's Cold Weather Shelter.

Monday's announcement that three organizations offering services to homeless people in Corvallis will unite under one roof is a remarkable step forward, not just for the organizations but for the entire community.

It's also long overdue, but that's another story entirely. For today, let's just focus on the good news, and it starts with this announcement: The Men's Cold Weather Shelter has found a permanent location, on the first floor of the Community Services Consortium building on Second Street downtown.

That location also will be the new home for the Corvallis Daytime Drop-In Center, a community center that offers services to homeless and low-income people.

The building also will be the new home for Stone Soup, which serves thousands of free meals every year to all comers with no questions asked.

The goal is to have the Drop-In Center, currently in the basement of First Christian Church, move to the new location sometime around July 1 and to have the necessary renovations for the Cold Weather Shelter finished in time for the next season, which starts sometime around Nov. 1.

Moving Stone Soup, currently based at two different locations (First Christian and St. Mary Catholic churches), will require major work, since it will require the construction of a commercial kitchen on the new site. The hope is to have that ready as soon as possible, but it will take months — not to mention some fundraising work by the organization. The goal is to have Stone Soup up and running by the time the shelter opens.

Finding a permanent location for the Men's Cold Weather Shelter is a big deal. For starters, it means an end to the annual search for that season's shelter, a search that did not always (how to phrase this gently?) display Corvallis in the most positive light.

More importantly, it allows advocates for the homeless in Corvallis the opportunity to take the time they had spent searching for the next shelter location and spend that instead on developing programs and services. That, in turn, will help efforts to find permanent housing for those men.

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In addition, there's a real value in combining services for the homeless under one roof in Corvallis, but don't take our word for it: This has been a longtime goal in the community's 10-year plan to combat homelessness. "It's not something we just cooked up," said Shawn Collins, the program manager of the Housing Opportunities Action Council.

Already, there's substantial cooperation between these organizations that serve the homeless. Moving them under the same roof builds on that base and allows greater opportunities for case management, an approach that has shown promise at getting people off the streets and into permanent housing.

Monday's news feels like the end of a long phase in Corvallis' long-running struggle with homelessness. We're moving on, finally, to something better. (mm)

Deadline for election letters

As shocking as this seems, the May 15 election now is just a week away. So it's time to track down that wayward ballot and vote. 

It's also time for you to send along your election-themed letters to the editor. We're working through a backlog in terms of getting your election letters into the print edition, but we think we should be able to fit all of them in by Friday. (We try to avoid printing election letters on the weekend before an election.)

But that means we need to impose a deadline on your election letters: We will run, in our print edition, letters that we receive by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, May 8. We'll see what we can do with letters that come in later than that, but we can't guarantee that they'll get into the print edition. (We will post stragglers on our website.)

We look forward to reading your election letters — but that means you need to write them. You should do that Tuesday, because Wednesday may be too late. (mm)

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