COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER - May 21
HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS
Raymond is a single father of 3 kids. He and his kids have been staying at our CCS micro-shelter site for about a year. Walter had a strong support network in the Silverton area, and he had been working hard to return to that area. Through the Mckinney-Vento program, which provides assistance and support to children who are unsheltered, his kids were able to be transported from the CCS site to schools in Silverton, so that they could remain connected to their community.
Raymond recently received a housing voucher through the HUD-VASH program, which is a partnership between HUD and Veteran’s Affairs. HUD provides a housing voucher and the VA provides support services. He is still trying to find an apartment in the Silverton area for his family, but they were recently able to move into St. Joseph Family Shelter, which is operated by Catholic Community Services, in Mt. Angel. This will allow him and his kids to be closer to family, schools, and other supportive resources. We are grateful for strong partners like Catholic Community Services and St. Joseph Family Shelter. And we are thankful to have been able to get to know Raymond and his family, and to walk alongside him on his journey.
Say hello to Jess, our new Chaplain!
Originally from NY, Jess lived and worked in the Middle East before moving to Salem 7 years ago. She has “an awesome family - a great husband and 4 kids ages 15, 17, 19, & 20.” She joined C@P because she wants to be a part of community that “treats all people with dignity and respect.” She will be the Chaplain at our CCS family site, providing spiritual care for staff, guests, and volunteers and building relationships with the community. Jess said that she is “excited to be working with such a diverse group of people who care for each other.” For fun, Jess likes to dance, be in nature, hang out with family and friends, and reading. Jess doesn’t have anyone specific that she would want to share a meal with, but if she could choose which meal they would eat together, it would be NYC pizza! And if she could eliminate any food from the world, it would be zucchini, except for when it is in zucchini bread. We are excited to have Jess on our team!
POLK COUNTY SHELTER SITE UPDATE
Christ’s Church Methodist and Presbyterian United approached C@P about using a portion of their vacant property for a managed micro shelter community. The board has been considering, with input from the congregation and neighborhood, possible appropriate uses of the church’s vacant properties, which often focuses on some form of housing. Christ’s Church Board has resolved by majority vote to take the next steps with C@P to collaborate in a project involving the establishment of a micro-shelter community. Christ’s Church considers the safety of the neighborhood, particularly its children, and the entire community of utmost importance. The project will still need the approval from the church’s denomination, continued zoning conversations with the City of Monmouth, and a formal lease agreement with Church at the Park. You can check out some of the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Polk County shelter site by clicking below. Here is on example of a frequently asked question: Q: Who will be eligible to stay in the Polk County managed micro-shelter A: Rural Polk County adult residents who have been screened and who meet the criteria. Individuals from Salem, Portland, or other communities without connections to rural Polk County will not be eligible to stay. In January 2023, the community conducted the annual Point-in-Time Count. The results from that count are in the graphic above. When there are openings, we will pull from our existing list, prioritizing people who are most vulnerable. Key vulnerability factors considered are age, chronic health conditions, and those fleeing domestic violence.
WHAT'S ON THE LINE AS THE CITY FACES $11M DEFICIT?
The Statesman Journal recently ran an article about the conversations that city leaders are having about the upcoming budget shortfall. According to the article, “city leaders are considering adding an operations fee and an employee-paid payroll tax to address the deficit.” Salem City Council will hold a public hearing on the budget and other proposals on June 12. Community members are encouraged to attend to share their thoughts. If anyone wants to testify about the importance and value of micro-sheltering for the community, we would love to see you there.
MID-WILLAMETTE VALLEY HOMELESS ALLIANCE
The Mid-Willamette Valley Homeless Alliance exists to prevent and end homelessness in our region. They are one of our most important partners here at C@P. We rely upon them for funding, connections to other funding sources, training opportunities, and supportive relationships. They recently released a video which provides a wonderful overview of the work that they do, along with some great testimonies from all of their different community partners, including C@P.
HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS - STORYTELLING EVENT
We are eagerly anticipating our next Humanity of Homelessness storytelling event. The event is an opportunity for community members to hear stories from people with lived experience of homelessness. The Humanity of Homeless project is an invitation to come, sit at the table with those experiencing homelessness and those who have overcome it, and see with fresh eyes the humanity we so easily turn away from.
The next event is at the Salem Library Loucks Auditorium on June 28th.
MYTHS OF HOMELESSNESS
This is an idea we hear pretty regularly. Anytime there is money, contracts, or anything else financial-related involved, people can get the impression that money is the motivator for people and organizations. C@P receives funding from a wide variety of sources, including the City of Salem, the State of Oregon, the federal government, foundations, and private donors. We value transparency and we are open, transparent, and accountable in terms of where we receive our funding and what we do with that money. Most of those funding sources are based on reimbursements for services we provide. We are currently in the midst of our annual audit by an outside accounting firm. Once that is complete, we will make that report available to the public. In the meantime, our 2022 financial report can be accessed by clicking the button below. (Please note that the financial statement is unaudited and subject to change as a result of audit procedures.) If you ever have questions or concerns about our funding or about how we are spending our money, please reach out to us. In terms of compensating our employees, the work that we are inviting people to do is challenging and we want to attract and retain people from diverse backgrounds who are both skilled and compassionate. We can create a much more supportive environment for our guests when we develop and train staff to provide high quality care.
To care for our guests well, we have to care for our staff well by paying them fairly, offering benefits, and providing opportunities for development. Doctors, teachers, pastors, police officers, and all sorts of people get paid to care for people and to serve their community. We consider emergency sheltering another vital service in our community, caring for our unsheltered neighbors with dignity and compassion. Our hope at C@P is to be motivated and driven by a desire to live into our mission: To create a table of love and acceptance for all.
PET CARE MATCHING GRANT
Say hello to Nala!
At the CCS site, Nala was a staff favorite. We are both sad and happy to report that Nala recently moved into an apartment with her mom! Happy that they are in a better home, but sad that we will not get to play with Nala. While she was on site, we provided her and her family with supports and connections to resources to ensure that she was as healthy and happy. “The GoldenRuleism Team” has generously offered to match up to $25,000 in donations specifically for pet care at C@P. C@P is connecting guests and pets with local veterinarians who will provide critical care and S&N procedures. Please consider making a donation. Every dollar donated up to $25,000 will be matched by “The GoldenRuleism Team.” Project Partners: MWV Community Action Agency, MWV United Way—Safe Sleep United, Center for Hope and Safety, and local Veterinarians.
TAKE A TOUR: A tour of our CCS family site is a great way to see what C@P is all about. It is a chance to connect with some of our leaders and to meet some other staff, and maybe even some guests. Tours happen every Thursday at 1:30PM. Email Krystal if you or your group is interested in taking a tour.
VOLUNTEER: We are so thankful for a community of people who continue to donate food, clothing, tents, and supplies to our guests at C@P! We are currently looking for volunteers to help us sort through the generous amounts of donations we are receiving! If you’ve got some organizational skills, or just a desire to help, please click the button below.
HOST A PRESENTATION: How can we help you continue and deepen your connection with our unsheltered neighbors in partnership with Church at the Park? A presentation or discussion with DJ, John, Sterling or another member of the pastoral team? More information on volunteer options for individuals or groups to provide: meals, clothing donations or showers? More information on hosting Safe Parking? More information on Micro Shelters?
SHUTTLE TOUR FOR ALL SITES - Interested in taking a tour of all of our sites while having a conversation with DJ, C@P founder? Tours are on the last Thursday of the month. We have a bus with comfy seats for 12, which means we can accommodate individuals or groups. Bring your own lunch. If you or your group are interested, send Krystal an email.
The reading for this past week was a prayer of Jesus for his followers, from the 17th chapter of John’s gospel. In his prayer, Jesus says this about his disciples, “they are in the world.” Seems like an obvious thing to say. Of course they are in the world. Just as we are in the world today. It might be obvious, but maybe it is something that we struggle to accept. Some of us spend a lot of time living in the world of nostalgia, in the “good old days,” some of us spend our time in the future, daydreaming about the good days that we hope are coming. Many of us look around at the world and experience stress and anxiety at how bleak things look. And sometimes our response to that stress and anxiety is to find things that distract us, numb us, or insulate us. So maybe Jesus’ prayer is spoken partially to remind us to be here in this world, this place, at this time. And to allow ourselves to be confronted by the reality of this present moment. This is the world—a weird and wonderful mixture of strife and goodwill, beauty and horror, dark and light, fear and hope, peace and violence. The reading for the upcoming week is the passage from John 20 where Jesus shows up to meet his disciples after the resurrection. When Jesus meets them, they are afraid. Two times he tells them, “Peace be with you.” What do we do when we are confronted with a reality that is difficult to confront? A relationship, or a system, or a movement, or a tendency in our own lives? Do we run from it, hide from, distract ourselves, or find things that numb us? Here is what one author has to say about the world that we are in: “The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is [beautiful], and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.” What would it take to be a person who finds a way to confront reality—in all of its beauty and terror—and not be drowned, or consumed, or overwhelmed by it? To look at things with clear eyes and see a world that is not as it should be? To be a person who can imagine something different, maybe even better? And then to have the courage to live in such a way to make that imagined world a present reality. Frederick Buechner once shared a thought to encourage people to live like that. “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid.”
Thanks for reading.
In the midst of a loneliness epidemic, a “friendship recession,” one person found that helping people host gatherings was among the most meaningful work that he has ever done.