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‘Inevitability and momentum’

The most hopeful part of today’s story about the new 1-Site Committee is the phrase “the shelter movement is attaining a sense of inevitability and momentum.” The job now is to keep that momentum going long enough to acquire and launch a single shelter for Ashland’s unhoused residents.

Homeless advocates formed the new committee when it became clear the existing system of providing shelter at three separate sites — four nights at Pioneer Hall and two nights at two separate churches — was becoming unworkable, and Pioneer Hall would no longer be available because of structural problems and a lack of fire sprinklers.

The 1-Site Committee met Wednesday night to continue discussing efforts to find a single site that can provide space — 34 square feet per person — cooking facilities, fire sprinklers, access to showers, laundry and bus lines, and the ability to separate male and female guests.

A single bank account is being established to accept donations and grants — another smart move — and the group is actively looking for property, but as soon as something becomes available, it is sold before the committee can respond.

The community has come around to supporting the concept of a permanent shelter, and donors are emerging, organizers say. The two keys seem to be money and the ability to pounce quickly when a suitable property hits the market.

Ashland has a tradition of taking care of its own, and the homeless population is certainly in need of help. So consider donating, and spread the word about “1 Site.”

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