In the community

Homeless crisis will be focus of town hall coming up in Ontario

Work is underway for a temporary housing site for the city’s homeless on Northeast Third Avenue in Ontario. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

ONTARIO – The Malheur Enterprise will conduct a Town Hall on Homelessness on Wednesday, Feb. 19, a public event to bring together experts and citizens.

“Homeless continues to dog the community as an issue that sometimes seems without solution,” said Les Zaitz, Enterprise publisher. “Perhaps by gathering under one roof, we can all better understand the issue and possible solutions.”

The free event will begin at 6 p.m. at the Four Rivers Cultural Center.

The meeting will open with a panel of representatives from Community in Action, Lifeways, the city of Ontario and the state Department of Human Services. They will explain what triggers homelessness, what is being done now for Malheur County’s homeless population, and how the community can help.

Zaitz will question the presenters about the issue before opening the floor for questions from the audience. The event will be live streamed.

“This is a challenging issue for communities large and small, from New York City to Los Angeles to Portland to here in Ontario,” Zaitz said. “We must find ways here to be humane and helpful, and cracking apart stereotypes is a vital first step.”

Anyone with questions or suggestions can reach Zaitz at [email protected].

The Enterprise has hosted town halls before, including one focused on Ontario’s proposed sales tax and another on the future of Treasure Valley Community College.


Ontario’s tiny home camp in legal peril as neighboring business seeks court injunction

UPDATED: The effort to provide shelter from winter weather to Ontario’s homeless could be derailed in the face of a lawsuit filed against the city and two local groups. Nichols Accounting contends in its complaint the tiny homes would violate city laws. 

Malheur County schools strive to help homeless kids find school success

There’s a total of 276 students in kindergarten to high school who are considered homeless in Malheur County. Interviews with staff at area school districts have revealed what student homelessness looks like, what causes it, and what is being done to help.

Ontario’s homeless find shelter anywhere they can

As the city and local groups work to install 20 tiny homes to help ease homelessness in Ontario, the city’s homeless talk of finding shelter anywhere they can during the winter months.

Ontario City Council approves license for tiny homes to house homeless

Last week the Ontario City Council approved a revised license agreement to allow 8-by-10 feet tiny homes for the homeless to be installed in the city. The project will be funded through a state grant.

Ontario council approves tiny homes for homeless

The city of Ontario is joining forces with local organizations to help bring shelter for the area’s homeless population. The latest idea will place 15 to 20 tiny homes between Northeast 3rd Avenue and Northeast 4th Avenue off North Oregon Street.

Ontario council explores sheds to shelter homeless

Ontario City Manager Adam Brown said Community in Action would use $150,000 from the state, allocated to address the city’s homeless problem, to buy tiny homes while the city will look for a site for the homes. He believes the city could have enough money to buy 20.

EDITORIAL: Communities must take action to solve homelessness

Homelessness is one of the most vexing issues facing any community. Ontario is no exception. Make it your affair to learn, donate and volunteer to help mitigate this issue in Malheur County.

Day shelter in Ontario announces opening to help homeless

The New Hope Day Shelter in Ontario will host a grand opening Wednesday, Nov. 13. The site inside Origins Faith Community, an Ontario church, 312 N.W. 2nd St., has been months in the making, and will offer homeless community members respite from the elements as well as access to a shower, computers and a phone.

Day shelter takes shape inside Ontario church

The New Hope Day Shelter soon to open at Origins Faith Community will offer folks without a home some respite from the elements and access to a shower, laundry and other resources to help them get back on their feet.

HOMELESS IN ONTARIO: A hand up, not a handout

The clearout of a homeless camp by the Snake River north of Ontario last week brought homelessness to the fore. Some of the folks displaced in that clearout shared their plight. A common thread ran through their stories: they want a hand up, not a handout.

Solutions remain elusive as Ontario grapples with homeless issues

The operation, which involved clearing out a homeless camp in Ontario took place on Monday, Oct. 14, and was announced a week ahead of time to give the homeless campers warning. The sweep and clear effort was triggered by two break-ins at a water well structure and worries that the city’s water could be contaminated.

DHS steps in to help folks without a home

Employees from the Department of Human Services visited a meal site at the New Hope Day Shelter inside Origins Faith Community, an Ontario church, Wednesday to let people know about resources. This story includes ways you can help the homeless cause in Ontario.

PHOTOS: Homeless along Snake River scramble to find new places to live

PHOTOS: The city of Ontario on Monday, Oct. 14, displaced a number of homeless people living in the woods along the river north of the city’s water treatment plant after initiating a cleanup procedure. The procedure was sparked by concern that the water system could become contaminated after someone broke into a building housing a city well.

Government crews clear out Ontario homeless camps

A potential breach of Ontario’s drinking water system triggered a move Monday to eliminate a homeless camp. City and state workers used heavy equipment to clear an area along the Snake River.