Ten-year-old Dylan Wood confesses he hopes to have his own room someday. But on Monday, he saw the room he will share with two brothers and quietly expressed thanks. That room will end six months spent homeless.
“It’s awesome that we get to have a home again,” he said.
Ten of Eagle Landing’s 54 units — including Dylan’s new home — were expected to be filled by the end of Monday, according to NeighborWorks Umpqua Property Management Director Lynn Dow.
Monday was the first day veterans such as Dylan’s father, Ken Krause, could move into the complex on the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus.
Dow said six more veterans who were homeless or in danger of becoming homeless will move to Eagle Landing today and that the units should be filled in December.
Ken Krause, his wife Melissa and their five children lost their Coos Bay home in the spring. They camped in a tent through the summer and spent two months at a motel before finding a permanent home at Eagle Landing.
The Krauses said they sustained the family on his disability income, food stamps and community kitchen meals.
They tried to make the situation seem like an adventure for the kids. For the parents, though, it was six months of uncertainty.
With their move to Eagle Landing, they exchanged tent walls and motel beds for a spacious kitchen, three bedrooms and a bath. It’s permanent housing and rent will be 30 percent of their income.
“It’s awesome. I love it. It’s hard to explain. It’s just very exciting, and I feel a sense of relief. We don’t have to be in motels and cars any more. Things are looking up,” Melissa Krause said.
She said she is especially looking forward to having a dishwasher and a washing machine.
Dow went over the lease with the Krauses in their new kitchen Monday morning.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to get these guys in here,” Dow said. “We’re so grateful to be able to offer them this opportunity.”
NeighborWorks Umpqua oversaw Eagle Landing’s development. The grounds include a community building, where volunteers will serve a Thanksgiving dinner Thursday, a laundry room and community garden. Most units are one-bedroom apartments. The Krauses have one of the project’s two three-bedroom homes. There are also eight two-bedroom homes.
A case manager from United Community Action Network will help residents set goals to improve their lives.
Ken Krause said he hopes to gain employment with a nonprofit agency that hires people with disabilities and ultimately to be able to buy a piece of property for his family.
His Army career was a short one. He entered the military in 1976 and said he was honorably discharged the same year after a sergeant physically attacked him during boot camp.
Krause said he was disappointed because he had hoped to follow in the footsteps of his father, a World War II and Korean War veteran, and his brother, a Vietnam veteran.
After that he went into construction and then, in his own words, “chose a path in my life that was not pleasing to my family.”
He spent 16 years in prison for burglary and kidnapping charges stemming from a 1982 incident he described as an attempted jewelry theft, in which he and two other men held the owner hostage for four hours.
Krause returned to construction work after being released and has since become a born-again Christian. He met Melissa Krause 10 years ago, and they married and started a family.
Krause said he was injured in 2003 when construction equipment fell on him, breaking his collarbone. He said he also suffers from Gorham’s disease, a rare disorder that causes bone loss.
He said they left their Coos Bay home because they couldn’t afford the rent on his Social Security disability income and because the home had black mold that was causing some of the children respiratory problems.
After that they struggled to get by, moving from campground to campground, sometimes panhandling for money.
Ken Krause said things started to turn around when they moved to Roseburg, where other veterans reached out to help them and they were accepted as Eagle Landing residents.
“This city has really opened its arms to us,” he said.
He said it couldn’t have come at a better time for the kids, who will get a real Christmas this year and a place to put the tree.
Monday morning, the boys carefully laid out bedding to claim the spots where their beds will be. The younger kids raced back and forth through the house’s 1,200 square feet of space. The smallest, Rebekah, 2, crawled into a linen closet to personally inspect the storage space.
Kody, 8, enthusiastically popped bubble wrap as he talked about how much he was looking forward to making use of the Eagle Landing playground.
“I’m excited. I’m really excited about my new home,” he said.
So are his parents.
“We’re just excited about getting settled in to bring some normality to this family, to sit at a table and eat together, to not forget some of the blessings we have in this community, to be thankful,” Ken Krause said. “We’re so very thankful to the community and what they have given us.”
• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.