COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER - July 14
11 THINGS WORTH HIGHLIGHTING THIS WEEK . . .
NEW SHOWER TRAILER DONATED
A brand new, three full bathroom shower trailer has been finished and delivered to Village of Hope. This trailer was designed, built, & donated by Habitat & Hope Village, a local non-profit working “to better the lives of their unsheltered neighbors.” Read more about their work below.
Showers are essential to offering services that are dignifying, as well as providing guests with services that will help them obtain employment. Thank you, Habitat & Hope for your generosity!
STAFF HIGHLIGHT : RYAN
Ryan is a part of our Safety Team. Here is what Ryan’s manager, Lisette had to say: “Ryan is an excellent example of what it means to work in partnership with our guests and residents at C@P. His calm and gentle demeanor help ease even the most tense situations, and Ryan works diligently every day to ensure the safety of everyone in his care.”
Big shout out to Ryan for making our sites a place where people are safe and secure!
THANK YOU TO SACKCLOTH & ASHES
A huge thank you to Sackcloth & Ashes for donating 140 blankets to our guests this past week. Sackcloth & Ashes is a mission-driven company that donates a blanket to a homeless shelter for each one purchased. This is the second time we have been blessed by these beautiful blankets!
If you are not familiar with them, check out their website.
OPEN HOUSE AT THE NEW VILLAGE OF HOPE
In case you missed the news, the Village of Hope micro-shelter site will be moving to 1210 Center Street in August. We will be having a Grand Opening celebration at the site for neighbors, donors, and other interested parties to come and see the new site.
The event will be on Sunday, August 21st from 1:00PM to 3:00PM and again from 5:00PM to 7:00PM
HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS
A faithful and active member of our community for years, Stuart routinely brings life and hope to dark places. Just about everyone has a story of a time Stuart helped them: a ride, the money out of his pocket, mechanical help, or sage counsel for life’s challenges.
At C@P, we believe the best in the people around us, and Stuart consistently embodies a capacity to extend grace, patience, and curiosity toward others who might be easy to judge.
“My goals all my life have always been to be a part of the solution instead of the problem,” he says, “and helping steer others in that direction.”
MICRO-SHELTER FAQ ZOOM EVENT
The focus of our Micro-Shelter Communities is the provision of a safe, sanitary, and supportive environment for guests to take the next steps towards housing and employment. With 24/7 staffing and on-site services, C@P seeks to maintain an environment of hope, dignity and holistic care. Our Church at the Park staff is well-trained to support those facing the challenges and realities of homelessness. By providing a stable living environment and support, we have seen many people exit our shelter into permanent housing and gainful employment.
If you or someone you know has questions for the City of Salem or C@P about micro-sheltering, you can attend a presentation today from Noon to 1:00PM, or Thursday, July 14 from 6:00-7:00PM with DJ and the City of Salem’s liaison for houselessness and unsheltered residents, Gretchen Bennett. The meetings are both on Zoom.
MYTHS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS
“People are homeless because they have a drug problem.” Or, “They’re all addicts!” These are statements we hear on a regular basis. A few things seem to be implied in those statements. First, the reason that people became unsheltered is due to drug use. Second, the reason that they remain unsheltered is due to drug use. And third, there is often an unspoken assumption that people who use illegal drugs deserve to be homeless until they can “clean up their act.”
In 2021, over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 struggled with a substance use disorder. Recent estimates suggest that there are at least 550,000 people who are currently homeless in the United States. If all of those 550,000 people had a substance use disorder (they don’t!), that would mean that there are roughly 19.5 million people who have a substance use disorder who are not unsheltered. The overwhelming majority of people who struggle with substance use disorders remain housed. According to Matthew Doherty, the executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, “What’s important to remember is that most people who have mental health issues and most people who have substance use issues are successfully housed in our communities, so it’s not those issues in and of themselves that necessarily result in homelessness.” C@P has served about 500 unique individuals since July 2021. Of those, 12% had a drug use disorder, 3% had an alcohol use disorder, and 8.5% had both a drug and alcohol use disorder. Out of the 500 individuals, 118 struggled with substance use, or about 24%. Here are some things we do know: the same factors that are root causes of substance use disorders—trauma, broken relationships, mental health, stress—are even more prevalent for people who are unsheltered. A significant portion of unsheltered people with substance use disorders state that they did not start abusing substances until they became unsheltered. It became a way to cope with the constant stress of survival, or a way to self-medicate, especially for those with mental health issues.
C@P is working to address all of those factors. We support people as they build and rebuild healthy relational support networks. We are providing a safe, stable, and supportive environment that reduces the amount of stress in people’s lives. We are providing and connecting people to long-term health care, including behavioral health and substance use disorders. And we are actively working to walk alongside people to reduce the effects of trauma in their lives.
"WHERE RENTS ARE LOWER, FEWER PEOPLE ARE HOMELESS."
The San Diego Union-Tribune released an article on the topic of why people are homeless this week, based on a book that came out in March. The authors of the book were curious as to why some places have a higher prevalence of unsheltered people than other places. Through research, they discovered that it wasn’t mental health, or drugs, or services offered that were driving those differences. The basic premise of the book? Where housing is scarce and rents are high, lots of people are homeless. Where rents are lower, fewer people are homeless, even in very poor places.
MEN’S CLOTHING NEEDED. Church at the Park has a huge need for men's clothing and shoes right now. Please consider bringing your gently used items to our donation site! We also have a wish list if you prefer to purchase items!
WEEKLY TOUR - Join us on Thursdays at 1:30PM for a tour of the 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.
SHUTTLE TOUR FOR ALL SITES - Interested in taking a tour of all of our sites while having a conversation with DJ, C@P founder? We are doing tours from Noon to 2:00PM on the last Wednesday of the month. This month’s tour is on July 27. We have a bus with comfy seats for 12. Bring your own lunch. If you or your group are interested, send Krystal an email.
11.NKS TO WILLAMETTE HUMANE SOCIETY FOR CARING FOR PETS AT OUR MICROSHELTER SITES1
A team from the Willamette Humane Society came to our sites this past week to provide care to our cats and dogs. They were able to examine over 35 animals and provide necessary vaccines, medications, and other essential services. Each pet got sent along with new collars/leashes, food, toys, and extra flea treatments. Many of them were scheduled for spaying/neutering, as well.
Thank you Humane Society for caring for our guests and their pets!
Each week, C@P staff engage with a reading in the Gospels from the lectionary. This week’s reading is Luke 10:38-42, the story of Jesus coming in to the home of Mary and Martha.
The story is often framed as a contrast between two ways of being: Being with God, or doing things for God. Which is better: contemplation or action, prayer or acts of service? Anyone who entertains guests in their home understands this dilemma: having a clean and inviting space, making sure there is toilet paper in the bathroom, getting the food and drinks ready. Those things are obviously important and necessary tasks, but if we do those things without taking the time to sit with, eat with, and converse with our guests, we will have missed the mark.
There is another important piece of the story that often gets overlooked. The story starts off with Jesus being welcomed in to the home by Martha. Martha goes about the business that was the traditional role for women—cooking and preparing a meal for guests. But Martha’s sister, Mary, takes a seat at Jesus’ feet to hear his teaching. Martha labors and Mary listens. Many people believe that Mary was transgressing very strict boundaries and expectations. Jesus came into a world that had very defined roles and boundaries for women. Mary is willing to break those rules to sit at Jesus’ feet to hear his teaching.
The same two themes are important for our work at C@P. First, we want to open up the table for those who are marginalized. And second, we want to do so in a way that is rooted in relationship. We provide tangible resources and services for those on the margins, and we do so in a way that is person-centered and rooted in relationship.
We are all created in the image of God. But we can get so fixated on doing things for people, that we end up treating people like objects. Leanne Payne, counselor and author, says, “We either contemplate or we exploit.”