Southern Willamette Valley
Providing Safe and Affordable Housing
If you visit Oakridge Mobile Home Park today, you’ll see clean homes with new siding, white picket fences and neat gravel walkways. You’ll also see a beautifully tended playground with fresh wood chips. It’s a far cry from the park’s condition just three years ago, when it was the source of three or four 911 calls per day in this small mountain community.
“It was a nightmare,” says Paul Neville from St. Vincent de Paul, which bought the property in 2014. “Drug dealers, prostitution. Just an absolute nightmare.” Gienia Baines, St. Vincent de Paul’s social service director, became the driving force for turning that nightmare into dream homes for residents of the park’s 65 units.
“These grants were just life-changing. People took a four-week class on budgeting and learned how to do an IRA. Houses received new floors, new roofs. It’s just really exciting to see the quality of someone’s life get changed through this grant.”
Social Service Director, St. Vincent de Paul, Lane County
With support from OCF donor advised funds, Baines and 90 volunteers removed seven football fields’ worth of debris. Workers renovated homes and built a laundry facility, community center, picnic area and playground. “We’re getting more children in the park, and that was the idea: to make it family friendly,” Baines says. These days, the park accounts for only four or five 911 calls per month.
St. Vincent de Paul hopes to replicate this success at roughly 1,400 other units across Oregon. To Paul Neville, it shows how supporting affordable housing makes a tangible difference in people’s lives. “It’s kind of a microcosm,” he explains. “It went from an area you didn’t walk in, at risk of your safety. And now you can sit and watch the kids and barbecue.”