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5th VHP House Testament To A Caring Community

Categories: Email Newsletter, Housing, Environment, Recycling, Veterans, Volunteers
Author: SVdP Staff
Date: Thursday, April 24 2014
Founders of the Veterans Housing Project

Photo at left: Charter members of the VHP are the City of Eugene, represented by City Manager Jon Ruiz, Mayor Kitty Piercy, and Community Relations Director Jan Bohman; the Home Builders Association of Lane County, represented by Executive Vice President Ed McMahon; St. Vincent de Paul, represented by Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Wilson, and EWEB, represented by General Manager Roger Gray. In front, far right is Barb Ruiz, also of the VHP.

Showers that so kindly watered new landscaping stopped for a while on April 24, giving supporters just enough time to celebrate the completion of the fifth house acquired and rehabbed by the Veterans' Housing Project. The immaculate abode bears virtually no resemblance to the dilapidated structure that was towed across the fairgrounds last June in its move from 13th and Tyler east to a lot on Jefferson. See the moving day slideshow.

Men in uniform with flag.The ceremony opened with presentation of the Colors by VFW Post 3965 and remarks by Jon Ruiz, Eugene City Manager, veteran, and the inspiration behind the Veterans' Housing Project.

Chair Pat Farr of the Lane County Board of Commissioners called it a great week for veterans, given the groundbreaking for a VA medical facility on Chad Drive and the completion of a home for the family of a veteran returning from deployment.

Man holding microphone.He spoke of his own peacetime service with the 2nd Batallion, 162nd Infantry, based in Lane County. The unit, whose motto is “First to Assemble” has been deployed four times in Iraq and Kuwait. The audience listened with heads bowed as he read the names of those who did not return.

Commissioner Pete Sorenson recalled a now-abandoned plan to remove the houses along the west side of Jefferson in favor of a wider, faster thoroughfare. Preferring that the fairgrounds be good neighbors instead, the county has made the structures and properties available for single-family homes.

people watchingThat delights Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy who noted the progress made by occupants of the four existing VHP houses, which can be rented affordably for up to two years while the veteran reconnects with family and community. One veteran has accessed his service benefits and transitioned to permanent housing, one is saving to start a business, one is working toward home ownership, and two are pursuing higher education.

She heralded House No. 6, located on Hansen Lane and purchased with a donation from Northwest Community Credit Union, and urged the community to be on the lookout for other prospective houses and volunteers, saying, "The homes in the Veterans' Housing Project are testament to the power of a caring community acting together to get things done."

For more information visit the Veterans' Housing Project website or contact St. Vinnie's volunteer coordinator at 541-743-7147 or by email.