A quarterly newsletter featuring thoughts, art and poetry created by ShelterCare residents. Voices, August 2016
Carole is drawing again, a passion she abandoned after years of living on the streets of Eugene. “I tried for a while, but my sketches would get wet or destroyed or stolen,” she says. “Eventually I lost the urge to do it anymore.”
Three years ago Carole lost everything when she left home to escape her abusive husband. For several months she stayed with friends, crashing on couches and floors, but eventually Carole ran out of options. Without a roof over her head, 100 percent of Carole’s energy was focused on day-to-day survival.
“Everything takes forever when you’re homeless,” explains Carole. “If I wanted a shower it was a two-hour walk across town.”
Living on the streets is exhausting and dangerous. Homeless people, especially women, are highly vulnerable to sexual and physical assault. While homeless Carole became involved with a man (also homeless), whom she thought would protect her. Instead, he was controlling and violent.
When Carole entered ShelterCare’s Homeless Medical Recuperation program, she had been in the hospital for 90 days recovering from injuries inflicted by her boyfriend. She suffered head trauma, a torn ligament in her knee, and had an abscess on her thigh. When she was admitted the infection was so bad, her doctors weren’t positive they could save her leg.
Carole underwent multiple surgeries to repair her leg, including a skin graft. During her stay, Carole also learned she had schizophrenia, as well as severe anxiety Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). “I had no idea,” she says, “I knew I heard things that other people didn’t,” she says, “but I just thought it was stress.”
Examples of Carole's artwork
At Homeless Medical Recuperation ShelterCare helped Carole get to and from her medical follow-up appointments, provided nutritious meals, and completed a housing assessment, which is the first step to getting on the City’s centralized waiting list for subsidized housing. ShelterCare also helped Carole apply for SNAP and Social Security benefits.
Homeless Medical Recuperation is a 22-bed facility that provides safe, temporary housing for people who are homeless and recently have been discharged from the hospital after an acute medical episode, yet still require limited care. During their post-hospital recuperation, individuals can focus on their health needs while our caregivers help them create sustainable connections to community resources and medical providers.
Carole was placed on two housing waiting lists, and before her stay with Homeless Medical Recuperation was over she got word that an apartment was available through another ShelterCare program. Carole’s physical health continues to improve and she is hoping to enroll in school soon to pursue an art degree.
“I’m in love with my apartment,” Carole says. “Having a safe place to live is allowing to grow as a person and as an artist.” “Here,” she continues, “I have closets. I can plan a meal. I can have art on the walls. I am so grateful for everything ShelterCare has done for me.”
On Friday, June 10, a volunteer team from the Eugene office of Moss Adams LLP spent the day painting offices and spreading mulch at ShelterCare’s Housing, Health and Wellness Program. The project was conducted as part of the accounting firm’s annual Community Service Day, which has become a much-anticipated summer highlight for Moss Adams employees. Partner Brad Smith (who also serves on the ShelterCare board of directors) explained that Community Service Day was developed as a way to commemorate Moss Adams’ 100 Anniversary in 2013.
“Employees enjoyed the day so much that we decided to make it an annual event,” Smith noted.
On Community Service Day, the Moss Adams office closes and every employee who is physically able participates. ShelterCare is one of five local nonprofits touched by the generosity and hard work of the volunteer teams. Last year, a Moss Adams team built raised-bed gardens at ShelterCare's Uhlhorn Apartments; the gardens have become a huge hit with that program’s participants.
This year’s project provided a much-needed facelift, inside and out, to a Housing, Health and Wellness facility that serves homeless families as well as adults living with severe and persistent mental illness. Thank you, Moss Adams, for being an amazing supporter of ShelterCare and our community!
Stonewood Construction is one of the premier residential remodelers and custom home builders in Lane County. For three years running, Stonewood has earned a “Winner” ribbon in the Register-Guard Reader’s Choice awards for favorite home remodeling contractor.
Owners Achelle and Steve Frichette attribute the business’s success to the hard work and devotion of their employees, and their company’s focus on creating lasting relationships with their customers. Steve explains, “We’re there every step of the way, from the design process through the completion of the project, to help them realize their dreams.”
Another way Stonewood Construction is helping people realize their dreams is by partnering with ShelterCare as an event sponsor. Stonewood was a silver-level sponsor for our 2016 Expressions Art Benefit, which was held on May 19 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.
The event raised just over $25,000 to help support ShelterCare’s Homelessness Prevention Program, which helps families avoid or recover from homelessness. Depending on the level of need, families receive case management for one, three or six months to help them regain their stability and independence.
Steve says the quality of ShelterCare’s programs is one of the things that drew them to the organization. “As builders and remodelers, supporting an organization that deals with housing is a good fit,” he says. “However,” he continues, “ShelterCare’s focus on prevention and systemic causes of homelessness was really the deciding factor.”
To learn more about Stonewood Construction and its services, visit stonewoodconstruction.com.
Wow, what a great night! Thank you to everyone who helped make our 2016 Expressions: An Art Benefit for ShelterCare fundraiser a resounding success.
In total the event raised $25,001 in ticket sales, art sales and donations.
The proceeds from the art benefit will support our Homelessness Prevention Program, which helps families who are experiencing or facing homelessness to regain their stability and independence. This important work would not be possible without the support of generous community members like you.
During the event, Homelessness Prevention Program case managers Amber Cowles and Yvonne Pfaff were available to answer questions about their work and the families they help every day, and to take guests on a “Walk of Hope” featuring several success stories as well as information about homelessness and poverty in our community. Art benefit guests have been telling us how much they enjoyed the Walk of Hope experience.
The other big highlight of the event was, of course, the art! This year’s silent auction featured 45 exceptional pieces of art by 30 local and regional artists. We are so grateful to the artists who so generously contribute their work to help struggling families in our community.
It was also a treat to have volunteers from Isler CPA assisting with event check in and check out. Thank you, Gary Iskra and team, for keeping things running so smoothly!
Finally, we’d like to thank our sponsors, who help keep our event costs low. Gold Level sponsor: SELCO Community Credit Union. Silver Level sponsors: Gallic & Johnson Financial, Stonewood Construction and Trillium Community Health Plan. In-kind sponsors: ALSCO, Bigfoot Beverages, Euphoria Chocolate Company, Goldworks, Passionflower and Raven Frame Works.