There's so much wrong going on in the world, it's refreshing to be able to report on something very much right.
Russ and Delana Beaton, long-time advocates for the homeless here in Salem, Oregon, have created an innovative housing opportunity for five previously homeless women.
The Beatons are members of a monthly discussion group that my wife and I belong to, so we've been kept up to date on the progress of their Hood House -- named for the street it sits on in northeast Salem.
Here's how Hood House was described by Delana in an emailed invite to last Tuesday's open house.
Not only could I come, so did my iPhone. It was great to see Mayor Chuck Bennett at the open house, along with City Councilors Chris Hoy and Cara Kaser. Other councilors and City officials may have come before or after my visit. Here's photos of Hood House, along with my commentary.
Inside the front door the Beatons had put up a sheet giving credit to everybody who made Hood House possible. Reflecting their wonderful humility, they'd put their own names way down at the bottom. But of course Russ and Delana deserve the bulk of the credit for this creative way of providing a place to live for five homeless women.
Here's the Mission Statement of Hood House. Click to enlarge. I'll also share the statement below.
It is the mission of Hood House to create a comfortable, attractive, affordable, and safe home for five women, each of whom is age 55 or older, and is of limited financial means. Each woman will have a separate, private and lockable bedroom. All common spaces -- kitchen, living room, dining room, family room, bathrooms, laundry room, front porch, back deck, and lower patio -- will be shared and managed cooperatively by the residents. Hood House is permanent housing, not transitional.
At our last discussion group meeting, Delana had shared the tale of the Too Low Microwave. When an inspector from the City of Salem came by, the Beatons were told that the recently-installed microwave was six inches too close to the stovetop.
So the cabinets above the stove had to be cut down at considerable expense. That was just one of many hurdles Delana and Russ had to overcome to make the dream of Hood House a reality.
The living room is adjacent to a nice covered rear deck. The floors look great. Now. It took a lot of work to remove whatever was on top of the wood, the details of which I've forgotten.
Here's another bedroom. Some of the furniture was donated. But I'm pretty sure the Beatons found most of the used furniture at thrift stores and other places. The energy and enthusiasm they put into this complex house renovation project was amazing.
I'm 70, younger than Russ and Delana are. But whenever they talked about what they had to do to get the house ready for occupancy, I got exhausted just listening to a description of all that work.
After someone brought flowers and set them on a table, I was struck by how well they matched a piece of art in the front room. (My iPhone's camera had trouble dealing with sunlight streaming through the window.)
Lots of people have lots of opinions about how to deal with Salem's homeless problem. It's super-inspiring that Russ and Delana Beaton, who already have been putting in many, many hours of volunteer service to homeless people, decided to go one big step further and bring Hood House into being.