New housing opportunities open up for Eugene's homeless

EUGENE, Ore. -- There are currently an estimated 2,000 people living in Eugene without a home.

On Saturday, two of those people were helped by a group of generous volunteers in built their own homes at the Resurrection .

One of the people getting shelter on Saturday was Mark Hubell, who said he's been homeless since he was 17 years old.

"This is not an easy life for anybody whether they choose it or not," Hubell said. "The weather can be, lets see, it can age you quickly."

Hubell's used to getting by with just his clothing, a bag, and a blanket.

Soon, however he will be living in a shelter called a Conestoga hut in the Resurrection Church parkinglot.

Dan Bryant, the president of Opportunity Village of Eugene is organizing this pilot project that provides the efficient and inexpensive housing solution to some of Eugene's homeless citizens.

"We have enough now to build at least 20 of these, we need sites," said Bryant.

The project is part of Saint Vincent de Paul's car camping program, which already allows the homeless to stay in tents or RV's in designated areas around the city.

A completed Conestoga hut costs around $5,000, depending on the materials that get donated by businesses and organizations.

The shelters resemble Conestoga wagons, which were used during early American expansion westward on the Oregon trail.

Hubell said that the program, while still in its early stages, can be a huge benefit to Eugene's homeless community.

"Which really will be about bridging both communities, the houseless and those that are housed," said Hubell.

Hubell added that it is a basic human instinct to find safe, secure housing, and he's honored to be one of the first people to call one of these huts his home.

"This is unfortunately a lifestyle that I'm used to, so this is gonna be quite a change," Hubell said.

A large portion of the project was made possible by a number of businesses around Eugene that donated $18,000 worth of materials to assist in the building of the Conestoga huts.