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'Funded by the grace of God': Church adding huts for homeless with heat, electricity

Mark Hubbell talks with Father Brent Was. (SBG/Tom Adams)

EUGENE, Ore. - The shaded back section of the parking lot at Episcopal Church of the Resurrection on Hilyard Street has been host for a cluster of three small Conestoga huts for the homeless for the past few years.

"We help them get a baseline of what their goals are, because we definitely are a transitional," Father Brent Was said. "We want people to come here, find their stability then move on to a more self-sustaining way."

That has been Mark Hubbell's experience living there.

"Just getting me used to being in traditional housing again, get myself working and be able to support myself and transition out," he said of his goals. "The work that the father and this church does are absolutely a godsend."

Now the church is ramping up the program to morph into a project called Hospitality Village.

They are going to bring in slightly larger huts - 12 foot by 8 foot - that are heated and powered.

They are using donations of money and materials to construct the new huts, which cost about $12,000 each.

"It is being funded by the grace of God," Was said. "A lot of money has come in. Most of it from outside the congregation."

The effort grew out St. Vincent de Paul's car camp program.

The church has made homeless issues central to their neighborhood ministry. A volunteer work crew this past weekend just put up a fence between the lot and another church next door.

The first of the new huts should be delivered in 3 weeks.

Was said they have contributions to pay for 2 new huts and hope to add a third before the end of the year.

They have church members that serve as “case workers” to get the people back on the right track, transition into jobs and find permanent housing.

The effort is one of many across Eugene in response to the crisis of homelessness.

"We're trying to tailor the programs to fit the people, rather than trying to put people into boxes," Terry McDonald at St. Vincent de Paul said.

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