Greg Olson, executive director with Corvallis Housing First, talks in September about a potential permanent homeless shelter in Corvallis.

Two service organizations serving homeless men and women have announced a long-planned merger.

Corvallis Housing First, an organization that runs the Men’s Cold Weather Shelter downtown and various affordable housing services, is merging with Room at the Inn, a program that operates an emergency shelter for women. The merger is aimed at strengthening resources available to provide services and case management to a broader range of the homeless population, a Housing First representative said.

“Combining the two organizations will allow us to share resources and strengthen our ability to provide essential case management,” Gregg Olson, executive director of Corvallis Housing First, said in a press release. “Both of our organizations are dedicated to continued case management year round, and are working to get our guests into permanent housing while also reducing the public resources expended by the city and county.”

On Monday, Housing First representatives officially acquired the car wash property neighboring the existing Men’s Cold Weather Shelter at 530 S.W. Fourth St. Housing First representatives said the purchase was originally intended to become the site of the proposed permanent shelter known as Our Place. But plans have been “halted to allow the new leadership the opportunity to work with the community to determine how best to meet the needs of the most vulnerable of Corvallis’ homeless population,” the news release said.

“Corvallis is a compassionate city, and we want to work with our neighbors to develop the best possible use of this space,” said Olson in the release. “Having the adjacent lot is a good investment, but it does not limit us to this as the site of a permanent shelter. Right now, every option is on the table, including alternative sites or different uses for the existing location.”

Corvallis Housing First is a nonprofit organization that operates the men’s shelter, a Housing First-oriented program known as Partner’s Place, and coordinates the Women’s Rental Assistance Program providing financial assistance and case management for women in danger of losing housing.

Room at the Inn previously was organized as a community response to the needs of homeless women. It was a collaboration of the faith community, Oregon State University and homeless advocates.

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