When a person has been “out in the cold” for a few years, it’s almost impossible to turn things around, says Richard Rogers. But for those who want to do so, the Eugene Service Station offers that opportunity.
Richard speaks from experience. As a day trader in the late nineties he drank heavily, made some bad investments, and lost most everything. He moved on, spending a year’s worth of nights huddled in a makeshift shelter near the tracks, and the corresponding days just getting by.
“You loose your long-term goals,” said Richard, 62. “When you’re homeless, you don’t even know what’s going to happen day to day. It’s hard to know which day is your lowest.”
Richard came to the Eugene Service Station for the basics – a meal, a shower, clean clothes, a St. Vinnie’s store voucher. While taking a shower is a “big deal” for a homeless person, Richard found his greatest comfort in the people, men and women of several generations who shared his circumstances, as well as staff and volunteers eager to offer help.
“They don’t counsel,” Richard said. “But they give you a place where you can eat and turn your life around if you want to.”
In the past two years he has consumed far less alcohol and given a lot more help. He found a relationship and a place to stay, in a retirement community where folks are happy to have his help with chores and repairs.
Most days Richard comes to the Eugene Service Station to work in the kitchen, unload trucks, and be among friends. “It turned me around,” Richard said. “It’s given me a chance to straighten up and clean up. I have someplace to go where I can talk to somebody. Get some help.”
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