November 30, 2021

Pastor Gabe shares vision for ‘Everyone Village’

Pastor Gabe and Arlen Rexius meet at the future site of Everyone Village during a recent Open House.

Pastor Gabe and Arlen Rexius meet at the future site of Everyone Village during a recent Open House.

Simone: It’s called Everyone Village.

[00:00:05] Pastor Gabe: Hi, I’m Gabe. So the master plan, if you will, for this location, is to be a mix of a lot of different things, because everybody brings in different needs and has different ideas and emotions on what they want their living situation to be like, as they heal and come back into stable living situations. And so we’d like to be able to serve all this different spectrum of folks and where they come in and what part in their journey they’re at. So there would be Conestogas, likely, there would be tiny homes that aren’t on foundations. There’s likely at some point to be smaller structures that are on foundations that may or may not have their own indoor plumbing and electrical work, and then we could have some transitional area for people with tents. And so they have platforms to come in on a tent.

And then as far as common areas, we do intend to build basic needs in a very meaningful, substantial way. So a brick and mortar bath house, showers, laundry, office space for folks who are serving and doing counseling and those sorts of things, and there’s spaces for that. There’d be a welcome center of some kind, so a front door, a very welcoming front door to this village so people can come in and in the rain or the shine, they have a great way to enter into the space and feel welcomed and resourced and valued.

As far as arts and culture go, I’ve talked to Art City here in Eugene and the Hult Center. Both are very excited to be a part of what we’re doing. One thing I’d like to see here is an outdoor arts space and an indoor art space. So an amphitheater where we can do events and teachings and speakings and concerts and just, yeah. And then a covered indoor space where you can do the same thing in inclement weather.

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And then lots of structures, probably the heaviest structure piece of the story will be the workforce opportunities that Heather (Sielicki)’s been really dynamically leading for our story. And so there may be a wood shop or a textiles building or something to that effect for these different opportunities where we can have people create meaningful things for our community, earn wages doing it and feel valued and start to put all the pieces back to a holistic life where they’re back on their own two feet and they’re doing the thing.

[00:02:00] Simone: You know, I’ve been unhoused myself and I’m very familiar with the unhoused population. What is your plan as far as like the mental health and the addicted problems that go with the unhoused?

[00:02:15] Pastor Gabe: So right away, that’s such a prominent thread in this reality that we’re trying to work in and make better. And so, I want that to be one of the leading edge things that we do here, and I already have plans for that. So right away before we can build real brick and mortar infrastructure here, I’d like to get some contractor trailers on site so we have some warm, dry, powered office space. And right away, I would like to work with PeaceHealth. And I got asks out and local drug and alcohol treatment like Chrysalis and others. I want just some donated time at regular intervals throughout the week where people can just freely access these services here on site.

And then once we do brick and mortar build-out, and we become more formalized and structured over the next year to year and a half, then we’ll really dial in like how robust can we get those things on site here. But if people are struggling with those issues in their lives, that’s step one. As many people are aware, you can’t work on flourishing until you get those sorts of things under check.

So if people bring those into the village—which we will certainly love to receive people that struggle with those—but we have to have things in place here and professionals on site that can help them manage those and get those under control so that we can get to the next step, which is workforce opportunities, flourishing in the community, and potentially even launching out of Everyone Village into sustainable housing of their own in the community. Couldn’t be more excited about an opportunity to bless people that way.

[00:03:32] Simone: That sounds amazing. How big is the space that you guys have?

[00:03:36] Pastor Gabe: So it’s just under four acres and the space has been donated by a local company, Rexius, and they’re just amazing leaders in the community. They’ve been here a long time and they’re excited to now contribute and be a leading force in our community’s response to the houseless crisis here. And so this is their part in the story is to gift us with this great, big, huge opportunity to make a place where folks can start to flourish again.

So as more and more like Rexius join on the side of creative, proactive solutions, the table starts to turn and the scale starts to tip, right? And I think once a site like this really takes off and runs, I’m very hopeful that that scale is going to start going the other way in a very noticeable way. It’s just a matter of getting everybody together, getting all the eyeballs on the site and then everybody to start to do their part, to make this happen in earnest.

And I anticipate with the onset of winter, we’d certainly like to serve some folks here on site before those rains really set in. It will take much longer than that to build out the whole site, obviously, but we want to get right to the meaning of the work, which is to help people who deserve to be helped. So we’ll do as much as we can this year.

And then next year, as the spring starts to thaw and the rains stop, we’ll really get to work here. And I have every reason to believe that one year from now, at the end of the summer of 2022, it’s going to look different out here, especially in West Eugene. It’s going to look different,

As far as people contributing, we need help at every level. So we need people contributing supplies, and all of those sorts of things that would go into building a small village like this, you can imagine it takes just about everything from rolls of toilet paper, to bricks. (And general labor?) And general labor. So volunteers. So human power. We need a lot of financial resource, a project like this is going to take a lot of capital.

I really believe that this only happens if the entire city lifts it up together at the same time—private sector, public sector, nonprofits, the city, the county, successful business leaders, people who are just volunteering some time, those that are experiencing homelessness that are informing our design so that really makes sense for those that will be served here—It’s going to take every little finger and thumb we got in this town to lift this up and I’m excited for that opportunity.

You can email me directly at pastorgabep@outlook.com. That’s P A S T O R G A B E P at outlook dot com. And then my business line is 541-206-0427. I love getting calls from folks who are interested in helping and contributing and all this is Eugene at its best. So if you’re a Eugenian and you want to be part of a breathtaking story that’s about to unfold in this city, I encourage you to reach out and connect and we’ll get you plugged in right away.

[00:06:08] Simone: And if possibly, if everything takes off the way we plan, we could be an example for all the other unhoused communities throughout the United States and elsewhere.

[00:06:17] Pastor Gabe: Absolutely. As we all know, the things we’re working to make better are present all across our country, and especially in this area of the country. But we start here local, and we get it nailed down here, and we take care of our own backyard. And then of course we send out our agents of hope and joy into the outer reaches of the Pacific Northwest. And we say: We bring tidings of solutions!

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