Brooke’s Story

Brooke & Eric Jerald in Interfaith Night Shelter

Housing Plus Community Brings Peace

In the photo on the left, Brooke and Eric are seated on the mattress they slept on in Night Shelter, having fled from a crime-ridden environment with their two children. Their savings depleted, they had come to First Place Family Center and the generosity of the Night Shelter churches looking for a new start.  

With the help of First Place and Self-Sufficiency Services they found an apartment in West Eugene.  Once settled, they were surprised to find themselves less than happy and even a little scared. “We couldn’t find peace, and yet we had it all,” Eric said.

FPFC staff reminded them of the next critical steps: Don’t get complacent. Use your energy to move forward. Break the cycle of poverty!

Eric and Brooke were hungry for a supportive community. “It’s so easy to slip back into isolation and old habits,” Brooke said. A fellow bus rider suggested the Wayside Open Bible Church. It turned out to be a good fit.  Eric has taken on a remodeling project, and Brooke assists in preparation of a weekly community dinner.

It’s all part of setting and attaining goals as FPFC teaches in their classes. Now Eric and Brooke stick to the program they know will bring continued success.

United Way's Opportunity Conference held in late summer gave Brooke the initiative to enroll at LCC where she is a full-time student of Human Services. “They said 'you are standing on a platform; now build your dream',” she said. “That changed everything for me.”

Mostly she and Eric are glad they persevered even when the process seemed hopelessly slow.

“First Place is not like an agency; you become part of it,” Eric said. “When you trust in it, it all works.”
The Jeralds today are prospering