• Church@thePark

COMMUNITY NEWSLETTER - Sep 22

10 THINGS WORTH HIGHLIGHTING THIS WEEK . . .


1.

GRATEFUL FOR PARTNERSHIPS

On Labor Day, a group from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints came to our CCS site with food, supplies, and some fun activities for a BBQ. Our families at the site, along with our staff had a great time. A group from Salem Police Department stopped by to join in the festivities.


Families were able to get some back-to-school pictures in a photo booth, along with some back-to-school supplies for the school year.


We are grateful to be a part of a community that cares!




 

2.

"THANKS FOR BEING MY FAMILY"


Jennifer, a member of our Case Management/Navigation Team, recently shared a great story, along with a photo of a cake.


Here is what she shared: A senior gentleman experienced some hardships that put him in our pods at Village of Hope. C@P staff accompanied him on a tour at a senior living home and it was a hit! He accepted the room and moved in two weeks later. He was so grateful for the support and help we offered that he bought a cake. It read "Thanks for being my family" and shared it with us. Yumm!


We are grateful to walk alongside folks as they take the next steps in their journey. And we are extra grateful when we get to celebrate those steps with cake!

 

3.

PEOPLE MOVING ON TO POSITIVE DESTINATIONS


Our team of Case Managers frequently share updates about people moving out of our shelters. Here is a recent example from Ashley, Case Manager at our CCS site, that we thought was worth sharing:


The last two weeks at CCS have been busy, but good busy! We had four families move out, all to positive destinations.


One family found a spot for their RV at their family-friend's storage facility outside of Salem! Not only do they have an environment that is better fit for them, they are also providing security and groundskeeping in exchange for rent.


A single mom and her son were finally approved for an apartment with their housing voucher. They love being able to have a place to start fresh, feel safe, and build a community of support around them. She is hoping to return her gratitude to us by volunteering on occasion as well!


Another single mom and her son were provided housing through her job! She is also providing groundskeeping and security in exchange for rent. This is allowing her to focus on her many health issues and become more stable for her child.


Last but not least- ANOTHER mom and her child (yay strong women!) were accepted into an Oxford House and are thriving! They were both very excited for this next step in their journey, and she is even thinking of continuing her education to become a phlebotomist one day.


I hope something in the brief snippets of these families lives reminds you that the hard work we do is worth it. Whether you're behind the scenes or in the action, you make a difference.


Thanks to Ashley and the rest of our staff for the amazing work being done to help people take the next steps towards stable housing. Keep up the great work!

 

4.

HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS


This is Jason.


For those of you that came to our first Humanity of Homelessness Storytelling event, you’ll remember Jason.


On the night of March 28th, Jason awoke to the sound of screeching tires and screams when a drunk driver plowed through his camp of houseless sleeping friends. A tragedy that touched Jason so personally that he organized a memorial among those living on the streets. With assistance from Church at the Park, Jason designed and distributed flyers around camps, parks and local gatherings inviting those without voice to come grieve the loss of the four people who died that night. He gathered donations in nickels, quarters and occasionally dollars until having enough to buy flowers to place among the tree stump memorial.


The day of the memorial, Jason was surprised by the amount of housed Salem community members that showed up. There were Council members, faith groups, caring citizens and more that showed up to offer presence, support and comfort. Having been in a cycle of homelessness, he had lost faith that anybody cared and accepted his caste as fate. Yet, community presence and compassion shifted his belief and inspired him to believe that there are those who care and are willing to embrace those experiencing crisis. Inspired, Jason wanted to not only get off the streets for good but also help his peers along the way.


Since then, he has enrolled in Chemeketa to become a welder, started working at Subway and is months into a new sobriety. He has been volunteering to help others and has been sharing his story publicly to both have voice and contribute to a rising awareness for the humanity of those who live without shelter in our city. While Jason often credits the support of C@P and others for his inspiration, it is we who are inspired by him and his journey.


On September 29th Jason will be sharing some of story at the IKE Box from 7-9pm (see the invite below).

 

5.

HUMANITY OF HOMELESSNESS Storytelling Event


We are just one week away from our Humanity of Homelessness Storytelling Event. Thank you to our event sponsors, volunteers, storytellers for making it all possible. And thank you to the Ike Box for hosting the event. The event will feature stories from people with lived experience of homelessness, time for Q&A, and an opportunity for people to engage with C@P staff and other community members.

Our first Storytelling event, held in June at Willamette University, was an enriching experience for the community. The event is free thanks to our generous sponsors. Light appetizers and drinks will be provided.


Thursday, September 29 7:00-9:00PM IKE Box - 299 Cottage St NE RSVP required

 

6.

MYTHS



Where do our opinions about unsheltered people come from? Check out this infographic from the Invisible People website. They conducted a survey of 2,500 people across 16 cities about our views of homelessness.



Our opinions about unsheltered people are going to change based on where we get our information. Unfortunately, the unsheltered people who get the most attention are the ones with the most severe addictions, the most severe mental illnesses, and the ones who are engaging in criminal behavior. The people getting the most attention are the ones that are shaping our opinions.

For many of us, our opinions are based solely on our own negative experiences or interactions.


  • “Leaving a restaurant, a guy asked for my spare change. I offered him my leftovers and he yelled at me. If they were actually hungry, they would take what was offered to them.”

  • “A guy was holding a sign that said ‘Work Wanted’ and so I asked him if he wanted to come do some yard work. He said no. They don’t really want to work. They just want handouts.”

  • “We were getting ready for a baseball game at my son’s school and we found needles in the dugout. Homeless people are all addicts and they don’t care about anyone else.”


What shapes your opinions about this topic? How do your opinions and experiences shape how you talk about solutions? ”While expert discussions point to income and the availability of affordable housing as the central issue in discussions of homelessness, public perceptions don’t always align with the views of experts. Driven by local news stories and what people see on the streets, public discussion centers on a few of the most visible negative consequences of homelessness: mental illness and addiction. Whether discussing the causes of homelessness or solutions to it, many in the public prioritize concerns about addiction and mental health over concerns about housing. While issues of income and affordability are part of the conversation, the visibility of addiction and mental illness give them an outsized role in the public imagination.” “The result is a major gap between the public conversation on homelessness and discussions happening in homelessness policy and research spaces. Effective messaging should work to close that gap, using narratives to move public understanding toward the expert consensus around housing affordability and wages.”

Take a few minutes and read the report from Invisible People.

Another article on Invisible People’s website is called “Why Homelessness Isn’t What It Looks Like.” It ties in with this week’s myth. Here are some excerpts:


“The harsh reality is that homelessness doesn’t look like what it really is. For this reason, because we fail to recognize it in its true sense, homelessness is able to plant itself inside of our unsuspecting communities, ripping apart families and ultimately tearing society down.”


”Here in America, homelessness is a school teacher fleeing from domestic violence at home. Homelessness is a war veteran who just lost a coveted retail job. Homelessness is an orphan aging out of the foster system.”

 

7.

SIGNING OF HOUSE BILL 4037


(pictured, left to right:  Representative Paul Evans, Representative Chris Hoy, Senator Deb Paterson, Governor Kate Brown, City Manager Keith Stahley, and DJ Vincent)
(pictured, left to right: Representative Paul Evans, Representative Chris Hoy, Senator Deb Paterson, Governor Kate Brown, City Manager Keith Stahley, and DJ Vincent)

DJ was proud to represent C@P for the signing of the bipartisan House Bill 4037 by Governor Kate Brown. The bill requires Oregon Department of Administrative Services to use reasonable efforts to lease certain unused or underutilized state real property owned by department to City of Salem for use as transitional housing accommodations upon certain terms.


C@P is hopeful that this bill will open more opportunities for micro-shelter projects that will help people move towards stable housing.

 

8.

STAFF HIGHLIGHT : Sean


Sean has been alternately interning, working, volunteering, or serving as a Board Member for C@P since 2017 and he’s now on board as our Chief Clinical Officer. Sean was born in San Diego and lived in 4 different states before moving to Oregon. “I barely graduated from Hillsboro High School because of living in-and-out of my car/friend’s couches/dad’s, then moved on to a short-lived career as an Avionics Technician in the US Navy. Wasn't in love with the sort of violent patriarchy of the Navy, felt a stirring in my soul to care for people who had rocky backgrounds like me, and began pursuing a degree in pastoral ministry and clinical psychology that culminated in becoming a doctor of psychology!”


Sean says, “I get pretty stoked about a good book, a long-board game, or anything outdoors. If you want to see me come alive, come ride some go-karts with me or play a game of dodgeball! Relieving my stress in friendly competition is sure fired for me to feel joy in the hard.” Sean’s “secret vice” is the Not Another D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) Podcast. “It’s ridiculous, and I love listening to friends make fools of themselves and be proud.”


Working at C@P appeals to Sean because of the “sense of priority I've learned that God has for ‘the least, the last, the lost, and the longing,’ and finding myself belonging in that group. I love what Father G. Boyle says that C@P has helped me experience, ‘Imagine a table of belonging—where everyone is offered compassion for their dignity and celebration for their humanity—and imagine that table leaves no one out.’” In the first few months of being at C@P, Sean plans on highlighting the “revolutionary work of providing a place of healing restoration for staff, residents, and community partners. The big place that will happen is the transitional sheltering we're building at our Turner Rd. site where we will offer workforce development, peer mentoring, clinical services for trauma and chronic stress, and an all-around beautiful community.” The “strengths and resilience [of C@P staff] is awe-inspiring” and Sean hopes to “simply foster those strengths and highlight the miracle of what C@P has done, and the miracles that are coming.” When asked about favorite foods, Sean said, “I'm in flux right now and have been enjoying trying out the many ways salads can be combined with meat. Cobb Salad with buffalo chicken for example.”


If you see Sean out and about, say, “Hello!”

 

9.

INVITATIONS

  • LOOKING FOR GROUPS INTERESTED IN DONATION SORTING. We are looking for groups to sort through donations at our CCS site. Contact us if you're interested!

  • UNDERWEAR (still) NEEDED. We have a need for all types of men’s and women’s underwear. If you need some ideas for what types of underwear, there is a link to our Amazon shopping list below. You can either buy the underwear there, or take a look and buy them elsewhere. Clothing donations can be dropped off at our CCS site.

  • 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.

  • SHUTTLE TOUR FOR ALL SITES - Interested in taking a tour of all of our sites while having a conversation with DJ, C@P founder? The next available tour is on Wednesday, September 28th from Noon to 2:00PM. We have a bus with comfy seats for 12. Bring your own lunch. If you or your group are interested, send us an email.

 

10.

LECTIONARY READING


This week’s reading is from Luke 16, the story of the “Rich Man and Lazarus.” The rich man lived a life of luxury. Lazarus was a poor, sick man who laid at the gates of the rich man’s property begging for scraps. Both the rich man and Lazarus died. And, as Jesus tells it, their roles are reversed in the next life. Lazarus is honored with a seat at the table of his ancestors. The rich man, meanwhile, finds himself in a place of torment What do we do with the good things that we have? Rich Mullins was a very successful musician. He was concerned about how his success, and the wealth that came with his success, would affect him. So, he instructed his accountant to pay him what the average American made and to give the rest away. He spent the last few years of his life living in a trailer on a Navajo Reservation in Arizona and teaching music to children. Here is a quote from Rich at one of his last concerts, before passing away in September of 1997: “I’ve come to think that if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ…the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor.”

“Christianity is not about building a secure little niche in the world…Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.”


 

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