Brian, 38, and Kelly, 35, originally met at Elmira High School, when he was a junior and she a freshman. After going their separate ways when Brian left high school, the pair experienced a series of challenges related to drug use and broken relationships.
In 2012 — nearly 20 years after breaking up — Brian reconnected with Kelly via Facebook. Soon after, the couple was reunited.
Approximately six months after rekindling a relationship with Kelly, Brian received a phone call from his daughter, Jazzmyne, who was living in Ohio with his ex-wife. Jazzmyne, now 18, needed a place to stay after her mother left the Pacific Northwest with her brothers and sisters.
Soon after reaching out, Jazzmyne joined Kelly and Brian in Oregon. However, in 2013, Jazzmyne was placed in a residential treatment facility after suffering severe negative side effects of medication.
To help support Jazzmyne’s recovery, Brian complied with Department of Human Services (DHS) parent training to acquire skills to help the family navigate their difficult challenges. Soon, Jazzmyne was back home and living with Brian and Kelly.
Last year, facing mounting financial challenges and the danger of losing housing, the couple connected with ShelterCare’s SPRF program. SPRF, which stands for, “Strengthening, Preserving and Reunifying Families,” was launched last year in coordination with DHS.
Through this program, child welfare refers families who are unstably housed to ShelterCare. Families benefit from pinpointed financial aid — such as assistance with application fees and move-in costs — and case management.
Since their initial contact, SPRF Transitional Resource Counselor Molly Henderson said Brian and Kelly have worked hard to improve their life trajectories.
“They have gone above and beyond in their efforts to secure permanent housing and better futures,” Henderson said. “I’m extremely proud of them.”
From August 2014 through January 2015, SPRF services provided the family with financial support to help with move-in costs and rental fees associated with their apartment, and eliminate bills to a zero balance.
The payoff: the family has remained together.
“Molly took charge and made sure things went as smoothly as possible with our move-in,” Brian said.
While the family is by no means out of the woods, they are on much firmer ground financially. Perhaps more importantly, they are actively working toward tangible dreams.
For Brian, that means starting what Kelly referred to as a “café cart,” which will feature specialty sandwiches (such as Native American stuffed fry bread). To that end, he recently applied for business loans through the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO).
For Kelly, dreams translate to earning a two-year degree in Human Services from Lane Community College, where she recently started her final year. Eventually, she wants to become a certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.
And for Jazzmyne, who recently obtained her GED, it means starting her life after high school.
Dreams and second chances that didn’t seem possible even a few years ago are now plausible.
“We’ve been really lucky. Molly and Sydney (a DHS case manager) have worked really hard and helped us get to where we are at,” Brian said. “Having case workers who work with you and take into consideration that everyone deserves a second chance is a big help. They have been a wealth of information.”
Brian has no illusions about the challenges that face his family. But he also realizes how far they have come.
“ShelterCare has lit a lot of fires under me. Where we are sitting right now, at this table in this house, is all because of ShelterCare.”
For the first time, the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program is being offered at the new
When was the last time you stepped into Sweet Life Patisserie and it wasn’t packed with patrons waiting to satisfy their cravings?
The Eugene institution is known for its many delectable offerings, including desserts, cakes, pies, tarts, cookies, ice cream and sweet and savory breakfast and lunch pastries.
To ShelterCare and a variety of other nonprofits in the area, it’s also known for its giving spirit.
Catherine Reinhart and her sister Cheryl started the business in 1993, creating wedding and birthday cakes in their converted garage-bakery in the Whiteaker neighborhood. Six years later, they launched their bakery and pastry shop on Monroe Street. In 2004, they moved nearby to a custom-built kitchen.
Now, the bakery is a shining beacon of the local eatery scene and a wonderful example of a business that gives back.
“We really do love to support nonprofits and community groups in the area,” said Cheryl. “That’s where we get our business — the people of the community. And we like to give back that way. It makes us feel invested.”
Sweet Life has contributed in many different ways to ShelterCare over the past few years. The company has supported the organization by donations from in-store sales as well as in-kind treats for agency events. Additionally, Cheryl was a key member of the “I ShelterCare about Homelessness” planning committee in the fall 2014.
In-kind donations are especially beneficial to the partnership because Sweet Life seldom advertises. Cheryl said opportunities to support noble causes while introducing people to their menu is truly a win-win. Last year the business made 400-plus in-kind donations locally that included cakes, cookies and gift cards.
“We like to work with the people who need the most help,” she said. “We think ShelterCare is a great organization that does great work.”
Looking to make a big difference in the community as we start the new year? We have an opportunity for you!
Thanks to several new grants, ShelterCare has access to 83 apartments for permanent housing in Eugene and Springfield. We have successfully moved 30 clients into these units. We are ready to move more clients into the remaining units. While we have the apartments, we are facing challenges when it comes to finding home furnishings.
To help address the issue, we are encouraging individuals, families and groups (churches, businesses, service organizations, etc.) to mobilize and help our clients turn their houses into homes. We are have some urgent needs for the clients who have already moved in, and some on-going needs for the remaining apartments.
If this interests you, we have three ways to get involved:
(1) Review the list and consider making a tax-deductible donation of a needed item at our new Center for Programs and Services (499 W. 4th Ave., Eugene);
(2) make a monetary donation, or
(3) help us get the word out by sharing the #House2Home message on social media with your friends, family and colleagues.
After all, we do this work together.
Questions? Contact us at development (at) sheltercare (dot) org, or call 541-686-1262 and ask for the development department. Thank you!
- Twin/Full beds
- Small loveseats
- Small tables (dining room, end, coffee, night stands)
- Small dressers
- Living room chairs
- Personal hygiene supplies
- Shower curtains and rods
- Double/full-size sheets (both flat and fitted)
- Mattress pads
- Some sort of bed covering
- New vacuums
- Comet cleanser
- Rubber gloves
- Paper towels
- Laundry soap
- Laundry baskets
- Spray cleaner
- Garbage bags