Locals are concerned about the large population of homelessness in the Jefferson Westside Neighborhood, but also mention it is moving forward.
By Haoyi Lu
Walking around the Jefferson Westside Neighborhood (JWN) is like being in a well-painted picture with nice living environment. Fresh air, plenty of plants, characteristic houses, proper combination of residences and businesses all show that this is a mellow and harmonious residential neighborhood. However, people who are familiar to the JWN have their concerns about the issue of homelessness.
The large number of homeless people in the JWN is upsetting the residences and business owners. It has become the No. one problem in the neighborhood. Local people notice that homeless people sleeping under apartment building windows and on the store porch, using private and commercial properties for their own purposes.
There were tall bushes around theLincoln School apartment building before, but they were removed because the gap between the bushes and the building became the party and bedroom of homeless people. Kris Harry, who has lived in the apartment building since it was remodeled, said, “It was so scaring, you can hear weird noises and people screaming outside the building all night.” Harry also said that people who lived on the first floor were frightened and annoyed by the homeless people who slept under their windows. The beer bottles and trash cans that these homeless people left threatened the sanitation of the neighborhood.
Laura Betty, the owner of Euphoria Chocolatesthat is located on West 17th Avenue and Willamette Street, asserted that she found some homeless people sleeping in front of the store and using the store properties as the bathroom. For addressing the issue, Betty said, “We should look at the motivations and intensions, instead of being greedy and money and stuff. We should be looking at loving, kindness and being generous.” Betty also mentioned that the homeless people needed places to clean themselves, but the society was lack of these facilities.
Shelia Scanlon had personal experience of how hard to be homeless after losing her job and lived in her car with her mother for six months. Then, she and her mother got help from the Catholic Community Services and used the Shelter Care in Springfield. “The Shelter Care helped us get back on our feet,” she said. “We do have more resources here than they do in other towns. I came from the coast and they’ve got nothing down there.”
The Uhlhorn Program, established in 1997, located at W.689 13th Ave. in the JWN is a part of the Eugene Shelter Care system, which focuses on the brain injuries. Brenna Burton has volunteered with the Uhlhorn Program for five years, and worked with the program for another three years. She said that the Uhlhorn Program serves low income individuals who have survived a brain injury and are regaining the skills necessary for independent living. The program also provides a long term residence option for people with affordable rent. The Uhlhorn Apartments is home to the program and offers residents more intensive services and training. For more information, please visit the site: http://www.sheltercare.org or contact the number: 541-686-1262.