COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER - July 28
10 THINGS WORTH HIGHLIGHTING THIS WEEK . . .
HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS
Meet Bob. Bob and Lilly first started attending meals in 2007 while living out of their car in Cascades Gateway Park. They were the type of people who immediately wanted to help with setup and clean up. They also started inviting others they knew to come to the meal and connect with resources. It was not long before Bob found work as a landscaper and an RV location for them to stay in West Salem.
Bob and Lilly continued to come to meals and soon started volunteering. The Christmas retreat we call "Room in the Inn" was a place they found a special place of belonging and acceptance. After being married in the chapel at Aldersgate on Christmas eve both Bob and Lilly continued to serve those without homes with both meals and rides.
We are continually grateful for relationships like this that we get to form with people.
TAKE A VIDEO TOUR OF VILLAGE OF HOPE
The Statesman Journal recently shared a video tour, along with an interview with our Chief of Operations, Josh Erickson.
DONOR THANK YOU'S!
Melton's Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. generously donated the new HVAC system at our Turner Road site, just in time to beat the summer heat. Greg and Randy Melton have headed up the family-owned business for over 30 years.
Big thanks to Greg and Randy and their wonderful staff for helping to make the Turner Road site a little more comfortable!
A big thank you for a large donation of toys from United Way Mid-Willamette Valley’s Good360 program. We currently have 34 kids living at our CCS Micro-Shelter Community. We will make sure the toys are put to good use!
OPEN HOUSE AT THE NEW VILLAGE OF HOPE LOCATION - DATE CHANGE!
We are continuing to work with the city and various contractors to get the Village of Hope micro-shelter site moved to 1210 Center Street. In order to accommodate all of the work being done at the site, we will need to change the date for the previously announced grand opening.
The new date for the grand opening will be on Sunday, September 11th from 1:00PM to 3:00PM and again from 5:00PM to 7:00PM.
The grand opening is a time for neighbors, supporters, and other interested parties to come and see the new site and to hear from staff about how the site will operate.
Meet Taylor. Taylor is one of our overnight shift leads at the CCS site. Here is what Chris, one of our managers, had to say about Taylor: ”We are incredibly lucky to have someone like Taylor working on our team. She has shown an exemplary ability to engage in discussions and grow within her role. She has even grown into a new role as one of our overnight Shift Leads! She embraced this position head on and has been very adaptable during her transition. Taylor has proven time and time again to provide a calm and supportive presence to our guests and staff alike. We both participated in the same week-long orientation many moons ago. What has stood out to me since that training is that she has shown a dedication to stay true to our mission and provide great services to our guests. She is also a certified black belt which is super cool. Thank you Taylor for all of your hard work!"
Big shout out to Taylor for being such a calm and supportive presence for our guests!
"THEY THINK WE CHOOSE TO BE THIS WAY. NOBODY WOULD CHOOSE THIS."
The Portland (Maine) Press Herald recently ran a profile of a family living in a van in Kennebunk, Maine. The story is not an uncommon one, but it is worth the time it takes to read it.
MYTHS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS
In our previous newsletter, we explored the topic from the above image. Our staff storyteller, Sterling Cunio, wrote the following short piece about the same topic: Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are examples of easily recognized myths, yet, all cultural myths don’t resemble fairy tales. Some live as popular societal ideas not rooted in material facts, confirmed evidence, or data.
Some myths, like bulls being enraged by the color red, are easily debunked (they are red/green colorblind). Others, related to complex social relationships and human behavior can prove enduring, such as mental illness and addiction being the cause of our homeless crisis. A recent article in The L.A. Times entitled “Causes of Homelessness? It’s Not Drugs or Mental Illness” examined research delving into homelessness around the country. They found “many other common explanations—drug use, mental illness, poverty, or local political context—fail to account for regional variation.” In fact the data shows “how absolute rent levels and rental vacancy rates are associated with regional rates of homelessness.” At Church at the Park, a faith-based and empathy-centered organization in Salem, Oregon that is outwardly focused on developing and operating micro-shelter communities for the houseless, we see numerous homeless myth busters. Take Michelle, for example, a sheetrock construction worker and horse trainer who lived and worked on farms for 47 years before a stroke put her out of work at age 61. One year before her benefits kick in. Without work or savings there was no rent. Unable to locate an affordable place to live, she turned to Church at the Park for help. We were honored to get to know her and support her through her tribulations. She is most known for her stubborn independence, gruffness and affectionate reminders to “wear your seat belts.” She’d talk horses and dry wall all day long and treated her companion kitten like a loving country grandma. She didn’t do drugs or suffer extreme mental illness—she was older, disabled and broke. She is one of many whose life crisis placed affordable housing out of reach and led to homelessness. The danger of myths attributing homelessness to personal attribute or moral deficiency is the risk of failing to look at social context and structural construct. Therefore impeding the scaling of proven solutions such as more affordable housing options that benefit everybody. Another risk of these myths is the “othering” which blocks empathy, leading to apathy. Making blame easy and loving difficult.
OPB: "Oregonians once feared their state would be wrecked by out-of-control sprawling development."
Fifty years ago, Oregonians feared their farmlands and other open spaces would be overrun with urban sprawl. This eventually led to the state's unique land-use system.
OPB started a new podcast series about some of Oregon’s unique laws which affect the current housing and homelessness crises.
Use the link below to listen to part one in a six-part series describing how this happened and explaining why it affects so many things you might not have thought about. The link also takes to you to the website if you want to read the transcript of the show instead of listening to it.
READY-TO-EAT FOODS/SNACKS NEEDED. We have a need for non-perishable foods and snacks that are ready to eat. We provide our guests with one cooked meal per day. Our sites also provide snacks and ready-to-eat foods, along with microwaves available for guests to use throughout the day. We are currently running low on food items such as: microwavable mac and cheese, soups, noodle cups, etc. Donations can be dropped off behind the Catholic Community Services building at 3737 Portland Rd. NE.
MEAL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED. We are looking for volunteers to cook meals at our sites. You can sign up as an individual or as a group. You can sign up to do it one time, once a week, or monthly. If you are interested, please contact us by using the button below.
TOUR ONE OF OUR MICRO-SHELTER SITES. One of the best ways to see and learn about the work being done at C@P is by joining us on a tour of our CCS Micro-Shelter Site. If you know someone who has questions or concerns about what we are doing, invite them to join you on a tour. You’ll get to converse with one of our leaders, talk with some of our on site staff, and see firsthand what life at one of our sites is like. Tours are offered every Thursday at 1:30PM. Use the link below to email Krystal to inquire or sign-up.
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 August 31st from Noon-2PM. We have a bus with comfy seats for 12. Bring your own lunch. If you or your group are interested, send Krystal an email.
Each week, C@P staff engage with a reading in the Gospels from the lectionary. If you are interested in following along, let us know. We send out the reading, along with some reflections, at the beginning of each week. Here is this week’s reading, along with a reflection and link to a song from one of our staff pastors, John. Luke 12 Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “tell my brother to divide the family property with me.”
Jesus replied, “Friend, who made me a judge or umpire between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against wanting to have more and more things. Life is not made up of how much a person has.”
Then Jesus told them a story. He said, “A certain rich man’s land produced a very large crop. He thought to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have any place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. I will store my extra grain in them. I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain stored away for many years. Take life easy. Eat, drink and have a good time.” ’
“But God said to him, ‘You foolish man! Tonight I will take your life away from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
“That is how it will be for whoever stores things away for themselves but is not rich in the sight of God.”
It's easy to believe that the good life is achieved with bigger bank accounts and more stuff to play with. But when wealth is our goal, we'll use people however we need to get what we're after. People become means to an end, and those with power around us can quickly become vehicles of coercion. But all is dust in the end. Including us. And our wealth won't save us.
The goal then is to make abundance about today, not tomorrow. And the easiest way to do that is to make people our goal, and to use what wealth we have to bless those around us. Here. Now. Today.