“It is a miracle, to be able to have this.”

VickiVickie has been living in a Conestoga Hut next to the Eugene Unitarian Universalist Church since late March. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy and helping out, as a volunteer, with landscaping at the church, which recently had its grand opening.

“I was staying at the Mission on and off for two years. Before that, I had a house, but things took a bad turn for the worse and my job wasn’t there, my house wasn’t there, and stuff just decided it was going to gradually fall apart. Seems like every time I turned around and tried to fix it, I just couldn’t keep fixing things.

“A friend of mine at the Mission heard about the huts through St. Vinny De Paul, and I thought it would be a good idea since I was going through this chemotherapy. It’s really hard to find the peace and the serenity over at the Mission.

“I was lucky to be one of the early ones to sign up, so I got one of these when they became available. As Erik [de Buhr, Community Supported Shelter’s program director] says, the biggest challenge is not the matter of building them, it’s trying to find places for them. They built these here the same day I moved in. It was amazing. I did cut a couple of stiles for my window and I cut a couple of stiles for the one next door. I’m not a major builder, but I did a little part of it. It was awesome.

“My first impression living in the hut was, I didn’t have to wake up to 60 women snoring all night long like at the Mission. I was going through this therapy, and it was really hard to get rest and to maintain my composure. The hut was a godsend. I could go to sleep. I didn’t have to wake up at six in the morning. I didn’t have to listen to anybody gripe about the window being open. The hut allows me a lot of space for my healing. It’s been wonderful.

“I’ve met a lot of people at the church. I’ve been working with Sara and Gretchen [volunteer landscapers], and I got a lawn mower from the Mission, so I can maintain my own plot of land here and do lawn mowing all along the roadway. I’ve been laying brick over at the church and other things when I feel up to it. I’ve enjoyed my time working at the church. It’s brought me a little closer to the outreach I’ve always liked to do.

“A lot of people at the church ask: ‘Do you need anything?’ ‘Are you okay?’ And I don’t need for anything. Thanks to the good Lord, I have what I need, which is a blessing. I have a hut. I don’t need anything for my hut.

“If someone was to offer me a million dollars right now, I’d probably give a lot away. Keep some of it. but I would not change the course or direction of where my life is, because of what’s been given to me. I’m happy and content. I’m dry. I’m really safe here. I’ve had no problems being here.

“It is a miracle, to be able to have this. This hut absolutely has made a difference for me. It is my home right now. I’m very, very grateful.”