The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection in Eugene, Oregon, has built a cluster of 6-foot-by-9-foot Conestoga huts that have been occupied by a succession of otherwise homeless people.
The Register-Guard reports:
The experiment, allowed by the city of Eugene under the umbrella of St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County’s overnight parking program, has been so successful for both the residents of the huts and the churchgoers that the congregation is planning an upgrade they’ll call Hospitality Village.The plan is to replace the basic, unheated and unlighted Conestoga shelters with 12-foot-by-8-foot tiny houses with heat, light and enough headroom for even their taller occupants to stand up inside.
They will use donations of money and materials to construct the structures, estimated to cost somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 each.
“I believe Resurrection was the first church to have the Conestoga huts,” said Brent Was, rector at the south Eugene church.
“This congregation has been participating in homeless programs for 20 years — the philosophy is that the way to change the world for the better is through relationships.”
The benefit goes both ways, Was and his wife, Windy Dayton, agree. The couple have been at Resurrection Episcopal for four years and along with their members have made homeless issues an integral part of their ministry, “but not anything preachy,” Was said.
“We know that the transition from being homeless is difficult, so we have upgraded the advocacy part of our relationship with our Conestoga residents,” Dayton said.