A family that received some much needed holiday cheer fell on hard times after the holiday, but the alertness of an EPD employee combined with generosity of local property owners to pave the way for better start to 2017: the family will move into a home today.
On December 24, Eugene Police Downtown Bike Team and Patrol Team 50 got together and along with Betty and Cassandra Snowden, surprised a family with gifts to make the holidays special for them. After the family was helped, the Downtown Public Safety Station Manager Kelly Putnam had hoped they had found housing, but on Monday this week, noticed that the family again needed assistance with housing for the night, and it was very cold out. Putnam notified the property owners who participate in the Rental Property Program to let them know of the situation. She started receiving responses immediately. One of the first emails she received was from Amanda Tuski at Bell Real Estate, who said she had a two bedroom unit in Springfield available and that she would put a hold on it. Not only did Amanda waive the application fee, but she put the word out to a network of friends and was able to furnish the apartment and secure other household items. Putnam received several emails from other landlords who did not have available units, but wanted to donate toward move-in costs. One rental property owner, who uses Bell to manage his property contacted Amanda and agreed to pay for a month’s rent. Others have reached out to offer furniture, household items, clothing and food. Others responded with suggestions for additional resources. Overall, the response and compassion from our local rental property owners has been amazing.
The family will be moving into the unit today, January 13. Putnam will be meeting the family at Bell’s Franklin Blvd. office at 4 p.m. and will then transport the family to their new home. At that point she will be able to assess their needs, as she has received numerous offers of household items. First Baptist Church, and employees of the City of Eugene Planning and Development donated money toward the security deposit and first month’s rent.
PREVIOUSLY SENT NEWS FORM 12/25/16
Our Downtown Team first met a couple, Eric and Regina, in September 2016, when EPD Officer Sam Stotts found them sleeping in a local hospital Emergency waiting room with their children (ages eight and nine).
The family had traveled from North Carolina to Oregon to care for an ill relative. But soon after they arrived arrangements fell apart and the family began their journey of homelessness. EPD placed them in temporary housing at a motel in September and connected them with services.
Since that time Eric obtained a job but the local service centers could only house the family separately. The family refused to be apart and they have been living in a vehicle so they can stay together.
Earlier this week the Downtown Sergeant Julie Smith ran into Eric at the Eugene Library. Eric was proud to announce to Sgt. Smith that he had a job with a local company and he thanked her again for helping his family in the past and went about his way.
Sgt. Smith decided to check into the status of the family and discovered they were still without a home and living in a friend’s vehicle.
Upon hearing the status, the sergeant and Officer Stotts immediately pulled their respective teams together to buy gifts, clothing, cash donations, and gift cards, for the family.
Sgt. Smith obtained permission to place the family in a motel in (temporary housing) for tonight and December 24, so they could have a safe warm place to wake up on December 25 morning as a family.
To make things even better, when local business owner Betty Snowden heard about what the patrol officers were doing last night she quickly asked to join in. Betty and her daughter, Cassandra, donated an entire holiday meal and food (ham with mashed potatoes, stuffing, fruit, soup, and more) to provide the family with hot meals for three or four days, along with a payment for the family to stay December 25th night at the motel.