From Opportunity to Emerald: A new kind of village for the unhoused

      EUGENE, Ore. - Opportunity Village opened its doors in August in an attempt to improve the lives of 31 formerly homeless peole, like Robin Horn.

      "You're no longer homeless," Horn said of the village. "You have a home."

      Residents maintain the property and govern themselves, living in bungalows designed as transitional housing.

      But organizers are planning another project after seeing a need.

      "We have a number of residents here who do have income but they cannot find a place, a decent place to live because there's nothing out there unless they get into Section 8 or some other kind of public housing," said Dan Bryant with Opportunity Village.

      Emerald Village Eugene will feature 15 units costing residents between $150 and $200 per month.

      "Its intent will be more long-term housing," Bryant said. "The individuals who live in that will actually be paying towards the actual units themselves, and they will be building up an asset just the same as any homeowner."

      A permanent home would give people like Horn much more than just shelter.

      "A sense of ownership," Horn said. "A sense of going beyond that being able to take that equity and use it for an apartment or use it for the tiny house we want to build."

      City officials are optimistic the project will benefit more than the homeless.

      "When they are independent and building their own lives and moving up," Mayor Kitty Piercy said, "they are not a cost to our community, they are an asset."

      Community event Saturday

      Opportunity Village Eugene is celebrating the completion of its building projects with an Open House, from 1- 5 p.m. at 111 North Garfield in Eugene.