Everyone Village: Hope for the Future
article by Kelly Rush | Director of Communications, Eugene Chamber of Commerce
An innovative Safe Sleep Site, Everyone Village, offers more than shelter to the unhoused – it gives its residents hope for a future beyond the trauma of street life.
Pastor Gabe Piechowicz, who helps lead the site, explained to the group of business leaders how the Village is breaking down barriers, healing traumas, and restoring residents to a healthier place through programming that covers everything from integrating into society, to banking, to job skills training.
The Village, founded in late 2021, is based on a similar model out of Austin, Texas, that aims to group the shelters, tiny homes, and RVs into pods with space for gardens and meeting places. About one-third of the site remains undeveloped; Piechowicz said planning remains ongoing.
Piechowicz noted that 3.55 acres for the West Eugene site were donated by Rexius, which recycles and processes organic waste and wood residual materials, among other services, and whose owners have deep roots in Eugene. Additionally, the warehouse facility located adjacent to the property where operations are conducted was purchased and donated to the Village by a local business leader. The acreage, the warehouse facility, along with support from the city of Eugene, made the site possible.
He said these kinds of partnerships are great examples of how the business community can act as an essential partner in the work to create unique shelter communities in the region.
Some of the Village’s successes so far include:
- 4 Villagers have transitioned to more stable housing, and more than 10 have found employment
- Transitional employment pilots are in development, including a coffee roasting company, farm to table gardening project, and partnership with Oregon bottle recycling program
- The creation of a villager committee, which models governance and citizenship practices aimed at increasing residents’ self-worth and helping with reintegration into society
- Numerous neighborhood cleanups where Villagers can engage in volunteer work and local community members can see the Villagers in a positive light as they serve the community
- Cottages of Hope are being built to have more substantial shelter in partnership with churches and Lane Community College
For more information, please visit their Facebook page.