COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER - December 4
10 THINGS WORTH HIGHLIGHTING THIS WEEK . . .
Anytime we sincerely try to fill in that blank, whatever we tend to say is likely going to be untrue, inaccurate, harmful, or incomplete. This is not just true for unsheltered people, either. “Democrats are all ______ .” “All Christians are ______ .” “Duck fans are all _______ .”
Blanket statements and generalities are disfiguring forms of speech. All of us do it. It sometimes feels true in the moment. It helps us to make sense of the world. Generalities get attention in political speech, in the news, and on social media. If we catch ourselves, or others doing it, we can ask follow up questions. Are we simply trying to control a situation that feels chaotic by naming, or labelling it? Are we responding to a problem that causes us to despair?
This topic was partially addressed in Myth #5—”When it comes to homelessness, what we see on the street or in the news is representative of what’s really going on.” We see stories or narratives on the news, someone amplifies those stories on our social media feed, we have a negative encounter with an unsheltered person, and based on those types of events, we make blanket statements about other human beings.
Items #2 and 3 in this week’s newsletter dispel some of the common generalities that we hear. The first story talks about people who are working full-time jobs and are still unable to afford rent. The second story talks about the prevalence of domestic abuse victims who are unsheltered because they are fleeing from an abusive relationship.
Maybe there is no myth to dispel here, but there is an opportunity for all of us to check our speech and to be willing to speak up when others are using blanket statements to talk about human beings.
”Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.” — Mother Theresa
MORE PEOPLE LIVING IN CARS
A recent article in the Statesman Journal highlighted the rise in the number of people living in vehicles on public lands. From the article: As Oregon’s housing crisis spills from urban centers onto forest lands, what it means to be homeless is changing.
Gerald Blair and his wife, Adrian, spend their days working at the Sno-Cap drive-in in Sisters, Oregon. After work, the couple head to their home—a trailer and three cars parked in Deschutes National Forest. Blair’s family is not alone. Other residents in the campsite cluster work in Sisters but can’t afford to live there. One, a woman who lives in a tent, also works at Sno Cap. A few hills over is another one of Blair’s coworkers. While numbers fluctuate, up to 100 long-term campsites can surround Sisters, according to Jeremy Fields, a forest protection officer in the Sisters Ranger District. “I don’t consider myself homeless," Blair said. "We’re just houseless, right? We’re working houseless.”
TIGHT HOUSING MARKET STRAINS WOMEN'S SHELTERS
The Salem Reporter wrote about the struggles of some of Salem’s women’s shelters in finding housing for their guests. Our team of case managers at C@P can identify with those struggles.
From the article:
Across Salem, a tight housing market with few affordable rentals means women are staying longer in local shelters, and the agencies running shelters are spending more staff resources trying to help people find housing.
That comes as Salem already has an unusually high share of homeless women, counter to state and national trends.
Advocates have said a lack of women’s shelter space is one reason for the trend — and longer shelter stays mean fewer beds available to get women off the streets. Domestic violence is a major contributor to women’s homelessness, and survivors often face additional challenges finding housing when abusers have taken identifying documents, caused survivors to get evicted or forbidden them from working or having their own bank accounts.
The Center for Hope and Safety opened a larger shelter, Mosaic, in a converted motel late last year.
One year later, the average length a woman of family stays there has nearly tripled, from three to four weeks to an average of two or three months, said Sara Brennan, program manager. Finding housing is typically what keeps someone from moving out sooner.
ROOM IN THE INN - CHRISTMAS at CHURCH@THEPARK
We are excited to share our new
The C@P team is available to provide a table, announcement, or small presentation to your Church or small group about participating in Room In The Inn.
Send us an email to get on the schedule.
ROOM IN THE INN 2022 Vision:
More Stories & More Relationship = More Transformation
3 ways for individuals, churches, and businesses to get involved—
SERVE! Meals - Cook & deliver one of the 6 boxed Christmas meals - a full Instruction Sheet will be provided. Activities for kids - individually packaged craft / activity bags that can be given to-go.
GIVE! Commit your Church / Business to serve as a donation site for the Christmas Gift items: (1) Blankets (2) Pillows (3) Sweatshirts, (4) Socks & Underwear, (5) Gloves (6) Boots/Shoes, (7) Children’s Gifts Purchase & drop off NEW items - sign up by visiting the link, and deliver item(s) to one of the donation sites.
DONATE! If you would like to contribute a monetary donation, C@P has a $48,000 year end goal to match our gifts to the Benevolence Fund for: Rent deposits, sleeping bags, appointment gas cards, phone chargers, and car repair. Use the donate button at the end of the newsletter to contribute.
GIVING TUESDAY UPDATE
Thank you to everyone who participated in our “Giving Tuesday” campaign. We had five goals and we surpassed some of our goals and came up short on some others.
We got 11 new recurring donors and our goal was 20.
We received $4,000 in one-time donations, which was far short of our $25,000 goal. However, we received pledges for an additional $30,000.
Lots of folks signed up to volunteer and to donate items. We haven’t calculated that data, yet. But we are encouraged by the number of responses.
We are grateful for all of the tangible and intangible ways that we get to partner with our community! We could not do the work that we do without you. And if you still want to participate, it’s not Giving Tuesday anymore, but it’s not too late. Click the button below to give a one-time gift or to set up a recurring monthly gift.
STAFF HIGHLIGHT : Calvin
Calvin is on our Outreach Team, going out into the community to connect with people who are residing in places not meant for human habitation. Here is what Sean, our Chief Clinical Officer, had to say about Calvin: "Calvin's ability to connect with others and meet them where they are at is helping build trust and relationships for the young adults he meets that are currently living in places not meant for human habitation. His natural and kind way of being with others inspires me, and I'm deeply grateful for his willingness to step into the hard places to find good news."
UPDATE FROM OUR OUTREACH TEAM
Our Outreach Team had the chance to partner with three different community groups this week!
Backbone, a local youth-advisory board that is working to end youth homelessness, is playing an instrumental role and providing invaluable feedback to our team as we work to open our new youth-focused Micro-Shelter site. Our Outreach Team accompanied members of Backbone as they made contact with some of Salem’s unsheltered youth.
The Salem Drop is safe space in downtown Salem for young people to feel heard, supported, and capable of creating change. The Outreach Team regularly connects with youth at The Salem Drop and they are grateful to be welcomed into that space.
The Outreach Team was also joined in their efforts this week by VetCare. Here is what Bianca, one of our Outreach Case Managers, had to say about working with VetCare:
”VetCare is for veterans experiencing homelessness and they provide shelter such as transitional housing to help them get back on their feet. Chanel from VetCare joined us at Fisher Rd where we met with an individual we have built a strong relationship with. We caught him on his way out to his classes and you could tell it was a heavy day for him. There were tears ready to come down and we offered to pray with him and he said yes so we did. Although it was a small gesture, a prayer, he was grateful for the encouragement to keep going.”
PARTNER HIGHLIGHT : The Furniture Bank at Salem Alliance Church
The Furniture Bank is a ministry of Salem Alliance Church that collects and provides new or gently used furniture for people who have recently moved into new homes or apartments.
Recently one of our guests moved from into a townhouse with her three kids. She reached out to her C@P Case Manager asking if we had any connections to furniture, especially a dining table and chairs so that they could all eat together.
The Case Manager reached out to the Furniture Bank and arrangements were made for a table and chairs to be delivered.
Thank you to the Furniture Bank and Salem Alliance for such a creative ministry to the community!
WE NEED BLANKETS, SLEEPING BAGS, AND COATS. We are in need of warm, new or gently used blankets, sleeping bags, and coats. Donations can be dropped off at our CCS site (3749 Portland Rd NE)
TAKE A TOUR OF OUR CCS SITE - Taking a tour of our CCS family site is a great way to see what C@P is all about, to connect with some of our leaders, and to meet some other staff and guests. Tours happen every Thursday at 1:30PM. Email Krystal if you or your group is interested in taking a tour.
The reading for this coming week is Matthew 11: 2-11. John the Baptist is in prison asking if Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus tells John’s followers to report back to John what they’ve seen: “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.”
There is a line in a Christmas poem by WH Auden: “Nothing can save us that is possible.”
At Advent, we celebrate the impossible: a virgin giving birth to the son of God. The list that Jesus shares with John in this week’s reading is no less a litany of impossibilities.
In situations where there is no hope, Jesus invites us into a radical hope. The homelessness crisis can feel like a hopeless situation, but there are many people who are embracing that radical hope. People who are believing and working, hoping against hope that things can be different.
Thanks for reading.
Here’s an Advent reading from Fleming Rutledge:
Advent begins in the dark. And these are dark times…Advent reminds us: human incapacity is the condition in which we find ourselves—our inability to gain any lasting victory of light over darkness. It is from beyond human capacity that the announcement comes: “Behold, I am doing a new thing” (Isaiah 43:19). The Light that shines in the darkness (John 1:5) is not the light of religion, not even the light of religious faith. It is the uncreated Light, not part of this darkened sphere at all, not bound by it, not contiguous with it, not limited by it, not projected from it, not coexistent with it but rather, God from God, Light from Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not created. Therefore the New Thing is not just generalized religious comfort, but the Incarnation itself—the invasion of “this present evil age” (Gal 1:4) by the Deliverer who arrives from a sphere of power entirely independent of and qualitatively greater than the powers that dominate and ravage this world.