The Lane County Navigation Center is a 75-bed, low-barrier shelter for adults experiencing homelessness as part of a broader effort to reduce Eugene’s unhoused population with support and compassion. The Navigation Center accommodates individuals who want to remain with their partners, pets, and possessions along with those with differing needs for mobility, privacy, security, etc. The “low-barrier” nature welcomes residents who may be working through substance abuse disorders, with an emphasis on harm reduction as they gain stability and resources.
With a typical stay of 60-90 days, the center is much more than a typical short-term shelter. Providing a place to sleep, food, secure storage, and a supportive staff offers individuals the tools they need to seek employment and housing, including a temporary address for job applications and clothes for interviews.
But the physical support is just part of the process; the center needs to adequately support the transition indoors on a psychological level. Foremost, the center needs to be approachable, and help individuals feel like they want to be here. A fundamental design gesture is the creation of distinct “neighborhoods” of dormitory space to help break down scale and offer flexibility for separating different subgroups as needed.
The renovation to an existing 18,000-SF building is designed with a trauma-informed mindset providing thoughtful arrangements of space, scale, safety, and security. In addition to fostering residents’ personal space or safety, and creating a warm, comfortable space that is also clean, bright, and organized. From the front door to the reading nooks by the garden, the Lane County Navigation Center is ready to meet its residents where they are and help them seek a better future. The shelter is slated to open in August 2022.