Ashland family saved from eviction

An outpouring of community support has saved a mother and daughter from eviction and helped replenish the coffers of the HOPE Chest, a community emergency fund designed to help other Jackson County residents in need.

"I honestly, from the bottom of my heart, want to thank the community and the HOPE Chest," said 17-year-old Anja Hein, who lives in a small trailer with her mother, Pamela Hein, 42.

"This has been a miracle," Anja said. "It has restored my faith in humanity."

Pamela and Anja each suffered multiple broken bones as passengers in a vehicle that rolled down a ravine on Sept. 25. Anja spent six days in the hospital. Pamela was hospitalized for 11 and needs further surgery to repair her fractured collarbone.

Unable to work and already behind on their rent, the two were facing a Wednesday eviction hearing in Jackson County Circuit Court initiated by Pacific Properties owner Ron DeLuca.

DeLuca owns about 25 multiresidential properties, mostly apartments, as well as The Pines Mobile Home Park off Siskiyou Boulevard. The Heins moved in about three months ago. Their monthly rent is $565 for the one-bedroom mobile. And they have been behind each month, said DeLuca.

The Heins were slated for eviction unless they paid $1,053.66 in back payments, plus $251 in court costs, by Wednesday, he said.

"They had a bad break. We feel really bad for them," said DeLuca. "But we have payments to be made."

A recent story in the Mail Tribune on the Heins' plight drew a flood of response. The HOPE Chest fund has a new balance of $7,320, and more checks are promised, said Dee Anne Everson, United Way director. And every penny donated will be spent to help those who are struggling to survive, she added.

"The United Way is taking no administrative fees out of this fund," she said. "We are cutting checks right and left to help."

Cash, cakes, cookies and even a block of cheese were pressed upon the two women as total strangers found their way to the Heins' doorstep, said Pamela.

DeLuca's property manager, Linda Brown, said the Heins' back rent and fees were paid in full by a donation from the HOPE Chest this week.

The eviction proceeding will be dismissed, said DeLuca.

"We didn't get our check in time to dismiss it on Wednesday. So we'll do it on Monday. I just wanted to make sure I had my money first," he said.

In fact, the Heins have a $148.72 balance into November, said Brown.

In addition to the HOPE Chest funds, the Heins were surprised to receive a $1,000 check from a man passing through on his way to California and smaller amounts of cash totaling less than $500 from other good Samaritans. They said they will apply the additional donations to future rent and medical expenses. And they have been promised an ACCESS representative will call to help with longer-term solutions on Monday, Pamela said.

A recovering addict with a conviction for a single charge each of methamphetamine possession and second-degree theft, Pamela has been clean for more than two years, thanks to court-ordered treatment programs and her daughter's love, she said.

"Unfortunately, I was involved with a guy who was into drugs," Pamela said. "And I fell into it, too. My daughter said 'you need to get clean.' "

Anja said she gave her mother an ultimatum a few years ago.

"I told her it was me or the drugs," she said. "I packed my stuff up and left."

It took awhile to rebuild trust, but Pamela is once again "the mom that I had," said Anja.

"I've been so proud of her," she said. "I want people to know it is OK to ask for help. It is OK to be afraid. Everybody needs help once in their life."

Pamela praised her daughter's courage to fight for them both.

"She is my rock," said Pamela, fighting back tears. "She is amazing. And I am so proud of her."

Both want to thank those who sent donations pouring into the HOPE Chest. And urge those who have not yet given to please help.

"We want everybody to get help," said Pamela. "It's not just us. We want to make sure that other people get what they need, too."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 776-4497 or e-mail sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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