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Former church to become apartments for homeless families: 'They've had misfortune'

By early summer, work will beging to transform the property's sanctuary into two floors of one-bedroom apartments, 19 units in all, Paul Neville said. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - From a sanctuary for churchgoers to a sanctuary for struggling families: that's the vision for a church building in South Eugene.

St. Vincent de Paul is the new owner of what had been the South Eugene Crossfire Ministries worship center at the corner of West Amazon Drive and Fox Hollow Road.

The $1.2 million purchase was made possible by an anonymous $2 million donation to St. Vincent de Paul.

Aaron Tyler, lead pastor at Crossfire Minitries, initially didn't want to sell the property.

"Just due to financial restraints that made it hard to do," Tyler said of the sale, "but we also agreed with what it was going to be used for."

St. Vincent de Paul has big plans for the property.

In three weeks, the first tenants will move in: 9 families currently living in modular units near the Eugene Mission under the Dawn to Dusk night shelter program.

"This will not be a drop in center," Paul Neville with St. Vincent de Paul said. "Families will come here who have been vetted and screened, and they have authorization to come over here."

By early summer, work will begin to transform the property's sanctuary into two floors of one-bedroom apartments, 19 units in all, Neville said.

The child care program from the First Place Family Center will also make the move to Crossfire, schedule for April.

The goal: to give homeless families a hand up.

"They've had misfortune," Neville said, "and so we want to help them find a way back to housing."

In recent years, Crossfire had attempted to lease land for a cell tower there to help fund operations. Neighbors opposed the plan, and the City of Eugene blocked it. Taylor said that did not drive the sale of the property.

"It would have been a good thing for us, but you know: we want what's best for everyone in the community," he said, "and that's what we've strived to do is to help those that are hurting in the community."

The 19 apartments should be open to families in need by April 2019.

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