ShelterCare’s Uhlhorn Program celebrated its 25th anniversary on Sept. 10 at the Uhlhorn Apartments in Eugene amid a party atmosphere, delicious food and stories highlighting why the program is both so unique and important to the community.
Among those in attendance: ShelterCare consumers and former Uhlhorn residents, agency staff and governmental officials, including Nancy Pierce (on behalf of Congressman Peter DeFazio), Mayor Kitty Piercy and Oregon District 13 Representative Nancy Nathanson.
“What’s special about the Uhlhorn is that it provides a safe, supportive living situation for people with brain injuries, which continues to be a challenge for many people,” said Danielle Uhlhorn.
The program, which opened in 1990, was a unique investment by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It represented the federal government’s commitment to providing affordable housing to a population with special needs. It was unique in its small scale — HUD typically funded much larger projects but was willing and committed to investing in the project (20 units at the time, compared to 39 today). While those funding streams no longer exist, the impact of that federal investment continues to reverberate today in the many lives over the past 25 years that have been restored.
Ken Collins, a former VISTA volunteer and brain injury survivor who was instrumental in the program’s creation, said Uhlhorn transforms the lives of its participants.
“It brings opportunity and hope,” he said. “The residents of Uhlhorn help each other with peer mentoring and peer support. There is no other environment like this in the county.”
During the event, Deb Holloway, Uhlhorn director, spoke of the program’s beginnings and her gratitude for its creation: “Thank you to Bill and the Uhlhorn family. Know that his legacy and the dream of so many lives on and makes a real difference in people’s lives.”