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New Women’s Center Set to Open

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EUGENE, Ore. — A new building at the Eugene Mission is shining bright.

Outside, the flowers are planted and the landscape is in. Inside, workers are busy checking off the last-minute to-do list, putting up hooks for coats and installing a security system.

After more than a year of construction, the new $1.6 million women’s center is nearly complete. It can house more than 100 women like Shawna Helton. She came to the Eugene Mission in January.

“My job, I was a long-haul truck driver, and that was my home as well. When I lost my job, I lost both,” Helton said.

She’s finding hope and help.

“I’m totally grateful to have a warm space to sleep. Otherwise, I would be under the bridge because I have no family to go to,” Helston said.

Right now she and other women are provided shelter in the old women’s center. If you walk into the dayroom, you’ll find it’s packed. The mission is currently housing about 70 women–what it typically sees in winter.

And yet the numbers are holding steady, reflecting the homeless women’s population is growing.

“I think the greater obstacle right now. We have mattresses on the floor in our dorms,” said Holly Woodward, Eugene Mission Women’s Center Manager.

There are also mattresses on the floor in the new center, but only until volunteers make the beds this week, topping them off with handmade quilts.

There’s even room to grow. Showers are spacious. There’s a kitchen area and a laundry room. All appliances in the facility are donated. The center is also handicap accessible.

The grand opening is scheduled for May 11. Shortly after, Helton will move in to her new temporary home.

“I’m getting help from Goodwill and White Bird, getting all my ducks in a row so to speak,” Helton said.

A place to sleep, pray and get her life back on track.

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