EUGENE, Ore. — Volunteer organizations hope Conestoga Huts can provide shelter and warmth for the homeless community. Volunteers say the huts provide more than just a home,but a sense of community.
“I actually stayed in one Conestoga one night when I first came to town and was homeless,” said Reagan Clark, volunteer.
Reagan Clark is no stranger to the hospitality that comes with staying in a Conestoga Hut.
“It was a good experience. Eric and Fay are wonderful people and they invited me in to try it out for one night,” Clark said.
Even though Clark only stayed one night, it was enough to stay involved in building huts for the homeless.
“Since then I’ve been committed to helping them with their vision where I can of finding safe housing for our homeless population in Eugene,” said Clark.
It’s that commitment that organizers say brings the community together.
“When there’s somebody in need and they’re in your backyard you know what they need you know how they can be helpful, and you can also help hold them accountable for their actions,” said Erik de Buhr, Director of Community Support Shelters.
De Buhr says everyone benefits from the Conestoga Huts.
“Whether you’re on the side of giving or you’re on the side of receiving you’re learning something from this experience,” said de Buhr.
The huts can house up to 40 people and aren’t a huge expense; prices range from $500 to $1100, but most of that is payed for by donations.
Non-profit leaders say they encourage everyone to get involved.
“Not only does it feel good to have these people in our backyard but we’re helping the entire community by doing it,” said Michael Carrigan, community organizer for Community Alliance of Lane County.
Several other churches are in the process of finalizing their plans to host Conestoga Huts.