COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER - April 7
Our hearts are broken following a tragic accident in our community this past week.
Luke Cagey was one of the victims living at the site of the crash.
From the Statesman Journal:
Those who knew Kagey at the encampment remember him as an at times immature and odd young "kid" who was excited to become a new father and deeply cared about others.
Kagey was excited to become a dad.
"Him finding out we were pregnant was just so amazing. He was so excited and started doing all kinds of research. He wanted to know all he could before she got here."
Kagey had been working as a tire mechanic at Discount Tires since September, according to his Facebook page. On social media, Kagey shared sporadic updates about his life and struggles and photos of his favorite musician, Juice Wrld. Kagey idolized the artist, said one friend. [One friend] considered Kagey his "brother." The two met at the Union Gospel Mission shelter downtown. Losing Kagey was like losing his brother all over again, he said. "He was a crazy little kid but he was great too," he said.
We invite you to continue to grieve for and with our unsheltered neighbors.
A SPACE FOR MOURNING AND GRIEVING was held at the site of the crash this past Saturday. Below is a brief write-up of the event from KGW, along with some videos about the event and one of the victims.
WHAT DOES C@P MEAN BY “LOW-BARRIER”?
One of the questions we get asked about at C@P is what do we mean when we say that our services are “low-barrier”? This is a question that we often wrestle with as an organization. One of the things that is helpful to consider is what are the reasons that people give for not wanting to enter certain shelters.
REASONS WHY PEOPLE AVOID ENTERING SHELTERS, according to a poll done by the National Association to End Homelessness:
Too many rules
They are full
Can’t be with my family/partner
They don’t accept my pet
Nowhere to store my stuff
Shelter is too far away
Can’t stay with my friends
As much as we are able, we want to meet people where they are and to invite them on a journey towards health and stability. We try to remove as many barriers as we can. We allow people to bring their pets, we try to make space for people’s possessions, our staff works hard alongside of our guests to make sure that shelters are clean and bug-free. We do not require people to be drug or alcohol free before entering our shelters.
Do we screen people? Yes. Our goal is to screen people in, not out.
For us, low-barrier means that our shelters are open 24/7. Many of the jobs that our guests are eligible for are graveyard jobs.
Low-Barrier does not mean there are no rules or expectations. Our sites prioritize safety for our guests, staff, and neighbors.
We continue to discuss and define and re-define what we mean by low-barrier in an effort to meet people where they are and to give them an opportunity to take their next steps toward stability.
Renata, Shift Lead at Village of Hope
When she was 18, Renata found herself “staying on the streets.”
“I remember how afraid I was and how I would go stay with anyone just to feel any sense of safety.”
Renata says that it was through Jesus that she was able to find healing and restoration.
Since she was a child, she’d been wanting to find a career helping people. Before coming to C@P she worked at Unity Shelter in Corvallis, as well as Bridgeway and Options Counseling.
In her role at C@P, Renata appreciates that she is able to help get people connected to important resources like financial help, food, mental health and addiction counseling, and sheltering.
She says, “one thing I absolutely love about my role is meeting with residents and guests every day, building relationships, walking alongside them and being there for support whenever I’m needed.”
“I truly love every one of these people, how hard I work every day to make sure each and every one feels valued, listened to, appreciated and important.”
For self-care, Renata likes to spend time with her grandbaby, take walks, listen to soft music, go to church, and hang out with friends and family. Renata says that she hopes people “understand that anyone facing homelessness is just like you and me.”
We are in need of Volunteers at our Donation Center to sort and fold clothes. Let us know if you or your group are interested.
PET SUPPLIES NEEDED. We need pet food, litter and litter boxes, leashes, collars, toys, flea & tick medicine, beds, and other dog and cat supplies. Drop off at the CCS site (3737 Portland Rd NE, all the way in the back).
WEEKLY TOUR - Join us on Thursdays at 1:30PM for a tour of our Micro-Shelter Community at our CCS site. This is a great way to connect with our leaders, meet some of our wonderful staff, and see how our sites operate. Let us know if you have questions or want to schedule a tour. Individual or group tours are available.
Each week, C@P invites our staff and guests to engage with a reading in the Gospels from the lectionary, along with art, reflections, and questions. Please consider reading along with us. This week’s text is the story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem found in Luke 19. Jesus enters the city riding on a donkey as people shout out words of praise. The religious leaders tell Jesus to silence the people and Jesus replies, “If they stop speaking, the stones will cry out.”
At C@P, we believe in the value of seeing people as people, in honoring the dignity of every human being. Like Hagar in the book of Genesis, we believe that God sees each and every one of us, regardless of whether society deems us worthy or valuable or important.
Philosopher Martin Buber wrote, “Every week, each one of us has contact with hundreds of people who never look beyond our surface appearance. We have dealings with hundreds of people who the moment they set eyes on us begin calculating what use we can be to them, or what they can get out of us. We meet hundreds of people who take one look at us, make a snap judgement, and then slot us into a category so that they won't have to deal with us as persons. They treat us as something less than we are; and if we're in constant association with them, we become less.”
In the wake of last week’s accident, there was a quote shared from Derrick Hart, one of the hospitalized victims of the crash. He said, “WE ARE ALL PEOPLE. WE ARE ALL LIVING [ON THE STREET] FOR DIFFERENT REASONS, BUT WE ARE STILL PEOPLE.”
Amen. We hope to live in a world where words like Derrick’s no longer need to be spoken.
If we forget to be a witness to the goodness of all of God’s creations, may the stones cry out and remind us.
In one of his speeches, Father Gregory Boyle said, “You stand with the demonized so that the demonizing will stop. And you stand with the disposable, so the day will come when we stop throwing people away. And you stand with those whose dignity has been denied. And you stand with those who’s burdens are more than they can bear. And you stand with the poor and powerless and the voiceless. Make those voices heard.”
Below is an excerpt from a poem by Galway Kinnell called “Saint Francis and the Sow.”
The bud stands for all things, even for those things that don't flower, for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing; though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness, to put a hand on its brow of the flower and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely
(Read the rest of the poem here.)
Sometimes it is necessary to re-teach a thing its loveliness. In your context, who or what needs to be re-taught their loveliness?