Issue #48 January 2023
CSS Board Member Donna Jackson is a former client and a resident at our first transitional housing property, Shields House.
Community Supported Shelters
CSS's Monthly eNewsletter for Volunteers, Advocates, & Donors
Dear CSS Supporters,

As we approach Community Supported Shelters (CSS) 10-year anniversary of incorporating as a nonprofit, we give thanks and sincere acknowledgement to all the people who have made this endeavor possible. With the help of those who believed in the CSS model for supporting the unhoused, CSS has grown to become larger than I ever dreamed it would be.

Kristin Fay and I began building and promoting the Conestoga Hut in 2011. Since the beginning, we’ve put one foot in front of the other, day after day, year after year to build CSS from the ground up. Kristin Fay left the organization last year to pursue other passions and now it is my turn to explore a new frontier. 

These last 10 years have been some of the most memorable of my life…and some of the most difficult. I’ve learned that struggle can give life meaning and purpose. However, it can also wear down one’s energy and spirit over the long haul if there are no real breaks. When Kristin Fay and I began this work we were living in our own Conestoga Hut behind our shop with our young son. At that time, it wasn’t clear to me that we had just embarked on a journey that would grow this large. I honestly thought we’d build a few Conestoga Huts and we’d move on to something else, but life had its own plans.

When COVID hit and many people were stuck inside, CSS was growing. That’s because we had already been doing non-congregate shelters for people and the demand for them increased rapidly. We always knew the importance of people having a space they could call their own for physical and mental health reasons. COVID was our big opportunity to grow CSS and test its scalability as a model.  

I knew a few years ago that I was ready for a change. It was important to me to see the expansion that came along with COVID all the way through and that there was new leadership that the torch could be passed to. For a long time I acted as if this work was a sprint. It only recently dawned on me that no, this is no sprint…this is a marathon.

There are so many people to thank, it is impossible to do it in such a small letter. My plan is to be at the Annual Benefit Dinner on April 27th to give a more proper thank you to CSS supporters and to provide a reflective slideshow of the past decade.

Hope to see you there!
Erik de Buhr
CSS co-Founder
Feature Story
Donna Jackson: “People Really Did Care”
Donna Jackson (at right, with Mark Douglass and Chris Plourde) started as a client at the Roosevelt Safe Spot Community. Now she has moved on to transitional housing and serves on the CSS Board of Directors.
In the winter of 2013/14, Donna Jackson and her 26-year-old daughter Melissa got kicked out of an apartment where they were staying. Their last source of income, donating plasma, had dried up because of health problems and other issues. They couldn’t get into the Mission because they had been smoking pot and couldn’t pass the drug test. They tried Opportunity Village (OVE) but were told the application process to get in took two weeks. 
“We had nowhere to go and we were desperate,” Donna says. “I was bawling, sitting on the side of the street. If that camp hadn’t been there . . .”
“That camp” was the Roosevelt Safe Spot, the first CSS transitional community that had been started a few months earlier and was just around the corner from OVE. At that time, people looking for shelter could fill out applications at the camp itself. Donna and her daughter filled out an application and headed toward Springfield, where a friend had said they could crash for one night. But they got a call from CSS before they got there telling them they could move in to Roosevelt the next day.
The Roosevelt camp had just a few Huts then. Most residents slept in tents on platforms to keep them off the ground. Donna and Melissa moved into a shared tent. They had both come out of abusive relationships and were newly clean and sober former hard drug addicts. 
Donna appreciated how quickly they got into a place where they had some stability and security. “It was a great place to be rather than being underneath the bridge,” she says. But Donna couldn’t avoid dwelling on some negative feelings: “I’m 60 years old,” she said in an interview in 2014, “and I’m in a tent camp. I was very disappointed with myself, very unhappy with how my life turned out. It took me a month, month and a half, to finally realize that this is OK.”
Nine years later, as CSS celebrates its 10th anniversary, Donna is living independently and paying rent at the CSS-owned Shields House. She became the volunteer coordinator at the Roosevelt Camp, mentored many of the members who came into and successfully left that community, provided office support at the CSS headquarters office, and helped establish the Shields House as a “next step” in the transition from the streets to stable housing—and in the fall of 2022, she was named to the CSS Board of Directors.
Spotlight On Our Volunteers and Staff
Mark Story: Mr. Firewood
Mark Story in front of an impressive wood pile at the CSS Eugene Mission wood facility.
Mark Story is a busy guy. The kind of guy who will tell you that “he likes to get things done.” The kind of guy who believes that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. Just the kind of guy who would eventually become an important CSS volunteer focused on developing a sustainable model for a critical CSS resource: firewood.

About ten years ago, Mark and his wife Judy were living in Oslo, Norway, where he managed a team of international software developers. They decided to move back to the U.S. and, having learned about Eugene from a co-worker, packed up and relocated sight unseen and continued his software career. The early morning phone meetings with international teams soon took its toll and eventually he decided to quit. His college degree from Vermont was in education, and he eventually began substitute teaching in local schools. 

Having family members with mental illness makes Mark and Judy acutely aware of the fragility of that population, who constitute a significant portion of the unhoused community. In addition to his teaching, Mark and Judy began to visit various homeless camps in the West Eugene area, where they offered to pick up and haul trash in his pickup. He eventually acquired a dumping trailer and continued visiting camps during the weekends, picking up trash and even preparing and serving weekend brunch from the back of his truck.

When COVID emerged in 2020 everything changed. Schools closed and Mark lost his substitute job. And, due to potential COVID risks, he stopped visiting camps. But doing nothing was not an option. Mark had some experience in the firewood business from work he had done in Vermont, so he decided to start that line of work in Eugene. “When we first began, we were delivering cart loads of wood,” Mark recalls. Over time, his production grew to hundreds of cords of wood.  

The Huts that CSS provides to its community residents provide a dry, safe, and secure space. They are not wired for electricity and the heat source for each of the 14 sites is provided in the community areas by a wood burning stove. It is estimated that CSS sites require about 70-90 cords of firewood annually. Sourcing wood is a critical task.  
Editor’s Note: CSS is again building capacity to collect firewood from people's wood lots. We can once again get crews out to wood lots to collect downed wood to supply firewood for the camps.

If you have firewood for pickup (including downed wood for collection), please contact headquarters by calling 541-683-0836 Monday through Friday between 1 pm and 4 pm.
Giving Gratitude to Our Supporters
We recently invited folks to become recurring donors via our Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who pledged a monthly gift! We’ve also had a number of stellar supporters host fundraisers for us on their own Facebook page. Lauri Watkins, Deacon at the Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, held her second birthday fundraiser for CSS and raised $275. To everyone who has reached out to their social networks on behalf of CSS: thank you! 

Hosting a fundraiser for your favorite charity on your personal page is a great way to celebrate your birthday, but you can also start one any time! 

There are no transaction fees or processing charges for nonprofits, which means 100% of the donations you raise through your social network will go directly to fund our work. Just select Community Supported Shelters as your chosen nonprofit, set a $ goal, and share your fundraiser with your friends to invite them to donate.
Shout out to Ernest Packaging Solutions, whose employees and partners donated 100 pairs of underwear for our clients.

It takes a community! We’d like to thank Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Euphoria Chocolate, and Oregon Ice Cream Company for their recent in-kind and monetary gifts for our Ice Cream Social.
A warm and heartfelt thanks to local artist Sarah Finney who donated $1,615 from her recent First Friday Art Show. She also made tons of Snowman Soup (AKA hot chocolate) gift pack mugs for our Safe Spot Community members. Thank you to everyone who helped make these holiday treats!
Local artist Sarah Finney
Engagement Opportunities
Save the Date
CSS Annual Benefit Dinner
(In-person again!)
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Unitarian Universalist Church

Volunteers needed for multiple roles (see below). 
Contact Pujita at to learn more and volunteer.
Planned Giving: Leave a Legacy
Did you know that more than 80% of Americans donate to nonprofits but only 8% chose to continue their support through a bequest?

By making bequests and other “planned gifts,” you can help your charity of choice and leave a legacy. There are many ways to make a planned gift: Bequests, Charitable Gift Annuity, Charitable Remainder Trust, Gift of Stock, Donor Advised Funds, and IRA Rollovers. Designate Community Supported Shelters as your beneficiary and continue to rebuild lives for years to come. Learn more about leaving a legacy by contacting Heather Quaas-Annsa, CSS Director of Philanthropy, at
Volunteer Opportunities
Community Supply Shed Shower Assistant

We’re looking for a volunteer assistant to work with our Shower Steward during operating hours at our Reboot Station shower trailer. This person will help to organize the supply shed and distribute clean clothes, shoes, and hygiene products to clients. If interested, email to learn more.
Annual Dinner Volunteers

Help make our annual fundraising dinner in April a success! We have multiple positions to fill, including a Volunteer Coordinator, Planning Team members, folks to organize a Silent Auction and Dessert Dash, Dinner Prep, and volunteers to help during the Dinner. There's something for everyone! Email Pujita at
Employment Opportunities

We are seeking a talented, forward-thinking individual with proven success in coordinating non-profit donation strategies to join our team in a part-time capacity. You will be responsible for researching and writing grant proposals on behalf of our non-profit and will also maintain a grants calendar to track deadlines and monitor the application and reporting process.

The Shop Manager serves the CSS mission by supervising the development and maintenance of critical CSS infrastructure. The Shop Manager reports to the Director of Operations and provides oversight to CSS shop employees, vendors, and volunteers as needed.

This position serves the CSS mission by routinely visiting CSS Safe Spot Communities, building trusting relationships, and modeling positive social skills with new/existing clients. The position’s main purpose is to set a social tone that is aligned with organizational values and expectations, while helping program participants transition from street life to community life.

If interested in these positions, please email a resume and cover letter to our Personnel Manager, Caiti Morrell at
Community Supported Shelters is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization 
(EIN #: 46-2377054). All donations made to CSS are tax-deductible.

Thank you for your ongoing support!