New Playground for Former Homeless Families Thanks to Community

In 2019, Providence in Humboldt County partnered with two local nonprofits to open permanent housing for formerly homeless families with children. The project, Onyx House, now has ten families and over twenty children living in the ten units at the former care home in Pine Hill in Eureka and was the brainchild of Dr. Evan Buxbaum. The former Fortuna pediatrician and chief of staff at Redwood Memorial Hospital was profoundly affected by the death of a baby whose family was experiencing homelessness. 

As a pediatrician, Dr. Buxbaum, saw the impacts of homelessness on his small patients and their parents. In the tradition of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Dr. Buxbaum called on other like-minded partners to join him in ensuring that all children in Humboldt County have a safe place to lay their head every night.

On Friday, March 24, Martha Shanahan, director of community health investment, gathered community stakeholders for a ribbon cutting to celebrate a new playground made possible by donations from local organizations (SW Rotary Eureka, Old Town Rotary Eureka, Strombeck Properties) and other local donors. The celebration had been delayed due to COVID, but on Friday spirits were high as the success of the program was evident by all the bikes and toys seen around the complex.

“The goal of the Onyx House was to provide some place safe for families and children to live and thrive,” said Shanahan.

“Thanks to the generosity of Rotarians and other donors, those children now have some place safe to play as well. We are so touched by how the community has embraced these families and this project."