Where is Third Street Commons Located?

The Third Street Commons is located on 99W just south of Avery Park in Southtown. It has 24 rooms are being used for shelter/housing and a 3-bedroom house that is the new organizational headquarters for Corvallis Housing First (CHF). It also includes about a half-acre of land to the rear of the property.

How was the Third Street Commons Purchased? 

A grant known as Project Turnkey administered by the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) helped make the purchase of the property possible. For more information on Project Turnkey, visit the Oregon Community Foundation webpage at https://oregoncf.org/grants-and-scholarships/grants/project-turnkey/

Who decided the Third Street Commons was a good location/property for this project?

CHF began researching the need for Permanent Supportive Housing in Corvallis and the types of projects that would be best suited to both clients and the community in 2020 as a result of a capacity-building grant from Meyer Memorial Trust. A report from this research, which included interviews with other homeless and housing service providers, as well as previous clients indicated that 150-200 units of Permanent Supportive Housing are needed in our community. When CHF and partners such as Benton County and Community Services Consortium became aware of Project Turnkey funding for purchasing hotels, we began an evaluation of available properties in the community, paying attention to the number of units, condition of the property, zoning, and proximity to services, as well as accessibility for people with disabilities. The Third Street Commons became available and CHF applied for funding, with help from other organizations in the community.

What has happened at the site since it was purchased?

We are currently providing non-congregate shelter in partnership with Unity Shelter, which is the shelter operator. Since we opened in the spring of 2021, we have served 81 individuals who have spent nearly 12,000 bed nights at the site (and counting). We were also able to make units available to people experiencing homelessness who needed a safe place to quarantine during the pandemic. Repairs to buildings including updates to the electrical and HVAC systems, siding and structural replacement and repair, plumbing, and security were completed in August 2021. A kitchen facility and ramps were added to the north building in the summer of 2022. Most of these repairs were required as a part of the Project Turnkey purchase agreement as well as to ensure the safety and security of clients residing at the site.

What are the plans for the site? 

Shortly after the facility opened as a shelter in 2021, CHF had the opportunity to submit proposals for capital, or construction funding, to the state legislature and Congress. Because the site had an additional half-acre of bare land which could accommodate many more units of housing, and the existing buildings were not ideal, long-term, for permanent housing, we took advantage of this opportunity and applied for 8 million in federal and state funding, which was eventually approved. This initial commitment has allowed us to go through a development planning process that will likely result in 38-42, 1-bedroom units of supportive housing, along with offices for resident services, community space, and administrative offices for CHF. Plans are to demolish all the current buildings to build a new development. This will better enable us to create a facility that incorporates principles of trauma-informed design and meets the needs of our community. We will need to apply for additional funds from the State of Oregon and other funders to complete the projects but have taken steps to ensure a positive outcome, including participating in the Oregon Supportive Housing Institute.

But there has been so much renovation on the current site, why are you demolishing the buildings?

While funds have been spent to repair the buildings on site and add facilities such as ramps and kitchens, these developments were necessary to ensure resident safety and well-being. There were major structural concerns with the south building, for example, as well as other safety issues with electrical systems that needed to be addressed. Also, people residing at the site long-term needed a kitchen facility to be able to cook meals. While we were able to be a meal site for Stone Soup to help address this, having basic kitchen facilities was necessary to support people at the site. Many of the people being served at Third Street have significant physical disabilities, making bathrooms and building entrances more accessible has been essential. We will re-purpose equipment and appliances as much as possible in the new buildings, which will be much more accessible, appropriate, and environmentally and economically sustainable.

Why aren’t micro shelters there as was originally proposed when the site was purchased?

Microshelters turned out to be not an option at this particular site due to flooding concerns. Because the site is in a flood plain, the shelters would have to be elevated on a platform in order to be accessible. With Unity Shelter, which operates the micro shelter program, we determined it would be cost-prohibitive to do this, especially if the micro shelters were not permanent at the site.

What about the solar panels that have recently been installed at the site

The panels will be re-installed on the new building.

What Is Permanent Supportive Housing?

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is an intervention that combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of chronically homeless people. The services are designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and connect people with community-based health care, treatment and employment services. In addition to ending homelessness for people who are chronically homeless, research has demonstrated that permanent supportive housing can also increase housing stability and improve health (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2020). A cost-effective solution, permanent supportive housing has been shown to lower public costs associated with the use of crisis services such as shelters, hospitals, jails, and prisons.

Who will be living at the facility?

People experiencing homelessness who will have access to this housing will be chosen based on the need for supported housing, which usually means that someone has experienced chronic homelessness, experiences a disability, and are otherwise vulnerable. We also hope to better serve BIPOC and LGBTQ individuals who are in need of supportive housing. Registered sex offenders will not be offered housing at this location.

How can I learn more and get involved?

For more information about the project or to volunteer, please email admin@corvallishousingfirst.org

Corvallis Housing First and Unity Shelter will be convening an advisory committee to assist with community connections for both the Men’s Shelter/Hygiene Center site and the Third Street Commons project. If you are interested in learning more about this, please email us at the same email as listed above.