[Hpn] Second Chance opens door for troubled renters;Eugene, Oregon;10/27/01
Morgan W. Brown
Sun, 28 Oct 2001 09:09:18 -0500
Saturday, October 27, 2001
The Register-Guard <http://www.registerguard.com>
Local News section
Second Chance opens door for troubled renters
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is one in a series of stories about the United Way of
Lane County, and the programs it funds, during its annual charity drive.
Cari Hansen and her 2-year-old daughter, Aliyssa, begin preparing dinner
Tuesday evening in their kitchen. Hansen is participating in United Way's
Second Chance Renter Rehabilitation Program operated by the St. Vincent de
Paul Society of Lane County.
Photo: MATT ANDERSON / The Register-Guard
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By JIM BOYD
The Second Chance Renter Rehabilitation Program helps people such as Cari
Hansen, a 25-year-old former drug addict, get housing.
Second Chance is an eight-week educational program founded and directed by
Tina Eoff, who once was homeless herself. Taught by Eoff and a group of
volunteers, Second Chance helps people with poor rental and credit histories
learn their rights and responsibilities as renters.
The classes cover such things as how to present yourself to a landlord,
landlord-tenant laws, fair housing laws, understanding the lease, credit
repair, financial planning, budgeting, conflict resolution, improving
self-esteem, overcoming adversity, energy conservation, food budgeting and
food box cuisine, and how to get involved in making public policy.
Graduates receive a certificate backed by a guarantee to a landlord that
Second Chance will pay up to $600 if the graduate should leave owing money
or causing damage within the first six months of occupancy.
The program is operated by the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Lane County
and partly funded by United Way of Lane County.
Hansen's addiction to methamphetamine ruined her housing record at the same
time it almost ruined her life.
Never married, Hansen is the mother of two children and is expecting a
third. The father of her first daughter is married now and has primary
custody of the child. The father of her second daughter is in jail, she
said, and the whereabouts of the unborn child's father is unknown.
"I pray to God every day that I can make it," Hansen said, "and I know that
God wouldn't have given me another child if He didn't think I could do it."
A Springfield school dropout at an early age, Hansen graduated from the Job
Corps in 1994 and moved back to Springfield, where, she said, she became
addicted about eight months after her first child was born.
"I was living in Springfield out on 54th Street, not hanging out with the
best people, not allowing the best people around," she said. "I didn't know
any other way out. And then I moved to Fifth Street in Springfield, and I
was really deep into my addiction and I really had some bad, bad people
around me that threatened me and my kids, and just made me really scared and
I didn't know what to do. And we got raided and my kids got taken away, and
that was the best thing that ever happened to me. ... It saved my kids. It
Having her children taken into state custody put her into deep depression
and, she said, she continued to use drugs for a few months. However,
Hansen's caseworker persuaded her to seek drug treatment if she was to get
her children back. Hansen went into residential treatment for three months,
moved back in with a boyfriend but decided that wasn't working out, and then
moved to a recovery house.
She stayed for two weeks and heard there was a spot open at the Murnane
Mutual Home, where she could be reunited with her baby. Mutual Home is a
residential facility for families undergoing outpatient drug treatment. It's
operated by Catholic Community Services of Lane County, another United Way
During her six months at Mutual Home, Hansen learned about Second Chance and
had her caseworker at Oregon Adult and Family Services refer her to the
program. AFS has a contract to pay Second Chance a fee for each referral who
completes the eight-week course.
Hansen completed the course, and she and a roommate from treatment were
accepted for a three-bedroom rent-subsidized unit at an apartment complex in
northeast Eugene. Their apartment sharing lasted only from April to July,
when Hansen moved in with her pastor to await the availability of a
two-bedroom apartment in the same complex.
"I had to reapply like I was a new renter there," Hansen said. Ironically,
this time the apartment management turned her down despite the Second Chance
guarantee and a packet of endorsement letters. "They said they had done some
checking into my apartment history and it wasn't so good."
Hansen then consulted Eoff.
"She told me to write them a letter saying what I've done to change my life
- everything I've worked so hard on - and let them know that I planned to
keep their unit clean and pay my rent on time," Hansen said. "Two days later
they called and said I was approved."
St. Vincent de Paul not only helped Hansen get an apartment, it has provided
her a job as a clerk at one of its thrift stores. She hopes eventually to
take classes at Lane Community College and perhaps become a counselor for
those suffering from drug or alcohol abuse.
Eoff, the director of the Second Chance program, knows firsthand the
difficulties her clients face. She was divorced, not getting child support
checks regularly and finding it difficult to pay the rent in 1992. She
wanted to move into low-rent housing and discovered that homeless people got
a higher priority that those with housing.
"So I went homeless on my own," Eoff said. "I gave a 30-day notice to my
landlord and moved out to Armitage Park with my two children and spent the
She got placed in subsidized housing just before community college classes
started that fall. She went back to school and did an internship at Clergy
and Laity Concerned, where she came up with the idea for Second Chance and
CALC's Marion Malcolm helped her get a grant from United Way to start the
Today, United Way's Community Solutions Fund provides $13,357 or 20 percent
of the Second Chance program's $66,030 annual budget. The program's other
revenue sources are the class fees paid by AFS (and some individuals) and
The Second Chance budget runs in the red each year, with St. Vincent de Paul
making up the deficit from its thrift store and other revenues. The
projected deficit this fiscal year is $34,490, and Anne Williams, the St.
Vincent de Paul housing programs director, is scrambling to find ways to
balance the budget.
A $25,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Foundation will be used to develop a
marketing program that will encourage caseworkers to refer more clients to
Second Chance. The grant also will be used to develop procedures for
retaining potential drop-outs, because Second Chance gets paid only for
those who complete the course. The program's drop-out rate is significant,
with about 160 graduates out of the 350 who enroll every year.
United Way funding is critical to Second Chance because it helps pay the
salaries of the program director and program coordinator, Williams said.
"Literally, without the United Way money there would be no way that St.
Vincent de Paul could carry the program," Williams said.
Fund Drive Report
Donations to United Way of Lane County's campaign have reached $841,579 or
17.5 percent of the goal to raise $4.8 million for local human services.
Campaign volunteers have identified 87 new givers this week for a total of
236, or 8 percent of the way to the goal of 3,000 new donors.
Employees from Kingsford Manufacturing Co. gave the largest employee gift
this week with a donation totaling $15,488, a 17 percent increase over last
year. Employees at Luvaas, Cobb, Richards & Fraser PC gave $11,060, up 42
percent; Clear Lake Elementary School employees gave $3,380, a 65 percent
increase; Shopko-Bailey Hill employees gave $2,233, up 28 percent; Cascade
Middle School employees gave $1,900, up 45 percent; Womenspace employees
gave $1,889, up 24 percent; and Carter & Carter Financial Inc. employees
gave $1,795, up 26 percent.
In addition, EcoSort LLC employees gave a new gift of $1,313 this year;
Shasta Middle School employees gave $2,105; and McFarland Cascade employees
U.S. Bank topped the list of corporate gifts this week with its $39,270, up
2 percent over last year. Kingsford Manufacturing Co. gave $12,511, up 140
percent; and Lane Electric Cooperative matched their employees' gift with
$9,077, up 5 percent.
New corporate gifts came from A & K Development with a gift of $1,000; and
Giustina Land & Timber with a gift of $500.
Individuals giving through the mail contributed $46,419 this week.
HOW TO GIVE
Volunteer or donate by contacting 741-6000 or at www.unitedwaylane.org
Donate by payroll deduction
Donate by check made out to United Way of Lane County, 3171 Gateway Loop,
Springfield, OR 97477
**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**
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Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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