A newsletter featuring thoughts, art and poetry created by ShelterCare residents. Read the latest issue: Voices, November 2017
Broadening the Reach of Consumer Voices
There have been some exciting changes with ShelterCare’s Consumer Council. I’ve been working very hard, getting the word out to consumers about the Council and what the benefits are for individuals to be a part of the council and to have a voice.
One way I’ve been doing that is by visiting ShelterCare program sites to talk about what the Consumer Council is and why it is important. We discussed the council, Voices magazine, the new Consumer Facebook group and upcoming events. What I learned from taking time to get to know these individuals is that there are several talented consumers. Writers, musicians, artists, and much more.
We have increased the number of consumers coming to council meetings. A few who never really stepped out of their comfort zone have found by stepping out and attending their first meeting they do have a voice and it has value. For the most part it really helped these individuals find purpose and acceptance with their peers. Some are excited to be a part of the Voices magazine. Others were excited to be a representative for their program and for their neighbors who want their voice heard but are not able to join us.
The new ShelterCare Consumers Facebook group is a page for consumers to go to for upcoming events within Shelter Care and local community events.
Consumers have partnered within ShelterCare programs and in the larger community to make Winter gift bags for the Garden Avenue program. I have really enjoyed taking the lead of giving back to the community.
I think it is very important to increase awareness of ShelterCare services and create opportunities to support one another. For example November 20th I took the lead for a consumer-run Celebration of Thanks Potluck at the Afiya Apartments. Several consumers partnered with donors within our community and made a great meal. Turkey, ham, many side dishes, and desserts. I consider this event a great success. Consumers really got involved with the preparing the meal, decorating, and general set-up and clean-up.
I am excited about the upcoming New Year and can’t wait to see where it leads us.
Cameron Gates, Heather Trickett, and Casey Foltz are part of Oregon Community Credit Union’s Business Intelligence Department. To say they love numbers is an understatement. Digging through mounds of raw data is their thing, to look for insights, trends, and stories.
The purpose of the Business Intelligence Department is to improve the lives of OCCU members and employees by transforming raw data into meaningful, actionable information. They do this through database programming, report creation, process automation, and advanced analytics.
Several months ago, at a community dinner focused on housing, the OCCU team heard a presentation about ShelterCare Medical Recuperation and wanted to know what they could do to support this and other ShelterCare programs. They called ShelterCare the next day and were connected to Tim Cling, ShelterCare’s senior director of business operations. After a few meetings, the data analysis project was born.
The goal of the project is to provide a picture of how we’re doing, from our clients’ point of view.
Tim worked with the ShelterCare clinical team to collect voluntary surveys from program participants in our Supported Housing program. Participants were asked 13 questions including “How long have you been receiving services from ShelterCare?” and “Do you feel the ShelterCare staff understands your needs?”
One stand-out story so far—when asked if they would recommend ShelterCare to relatives/friends/people in the community, more than 90 percent answered yes.
The OCCU team is still reviewing the initial data, but the goal is to have the finished results available on our website in January 2018.
The partnership between ShelterCare and the OCCU Business Intelligence Department is ongoing, thanks to OCCU’s commitment to the community. All OCCU employees have the opportunity to volunteer during regular business hours with the nonprofit or school of their choice through the credit union’s C.O.R.E. (Community Outreach for Employees) program.
During this C.O.R.E. time, employees are compensated at their regular wage. This gives OCCU employees the chance to support the causes and organizations they feel passionately about, while fulfilling the organization’s goal to give back to the community.
My name is Jacob Fox and I have the honor of serving on the ShelterCare board of directors. I’m the executive director of the Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County (HACSA), and for many years we’ve partnered with ShelterCare to provide Housing First opportunities for Lane County’s most vulnerable citizens.
I would like to highlight two HACSA-ShelterCare partnership programs that have been tremendously effective, supporting our community’s goal of reducing homelessness by providing housing and services to those in need.
Shelter Plus Care
The first program is Shelter Plus Care (S+C), a federal rent assistance program that is part of the Lane County Continuum of Care (CoC) Program. The CoC Program primarily assists Lane County residents with serious mental illness. It is designed to alleviate homelessness by providing funding to nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families.
The S+C partnership between ShelterCare and HACSA began in 1994. The federal grant requires that we serve 48 households a year. Because of the effective partnership between our organizations, however, on average we serve 67 households a year. The reason we can serve so many more households is that ShelterCare provides matching funds from other funding sources and also because ShelterCare is so good at stabilizing these households that we can graduate people from Shelter Plus Care into HACSA’s housing choice voucher program, and create more opportunities for unhoused people to receive assistance from the Shelter Plus Care program.
The second HACSA-ShelterCare partnership supports the Madrone program—another Lane County Continuum of Care federal rent assistance program. In 2016 HACSA was awarded this grant to serve 33 chronically homeless individuals and families. When the original service provider unexpectedly declined the partnership, we approached ShelterCare to help us deploy this rent assistance, help identify housing in the community, and provide the supportive services necessary to stabilize these individuals and families.
Because of the delay in getting a service provider on board, HACSA was in jeopardy of not meeting the grant requirements. ShelterCare has been a valuable partner and integral part of this program’s success. I’m pleased to report that through this program we have successfully fulfilled the grant requirements by housing the 33 formerly homeless individuals and families.
Our community is absolutely a better place because of the critical role that ShelterCare plays. I’m grateful for the leadership that Susan Ban and the entire ShelterCare team bring to Lane County and proud that together we provide homes to more than 7,000 households in Lane County every year.
Sponsor a Family or Individual
Help someone have a happier holiday season by becoming a sponsor. Holiday sponsors purchase gifts for a specific family or individual in a ShelterCare program. There are currently nearly 40 families and close to 200 individuals in ShelterCare programs. All of our clients have experienced homelessness or were on the verge of becoming homeless.
Sponsorships to Date (As of 12/8/17)
- Families: 31 Sponsored, 7 Unsponsored
- Individuals: 121 Sponsored, 75 Unsponsored
How does sponsorship benefit ShelterCare participants?
The holidays can be a stressful for anyone. The families in our programs are working to regain their stability and independence, but most do not have the resources to buy holiday gifts. Many families also need help with household items and food. Our single clients report feeling lonely and isolated during the holidays, especially those who have lost connection with family or have no family in the area. Most of our residents are extremely low income or have no income at all.
How do I participate?
We currently have nearly 40 families and close to 200 individuals in our programs, with many still hoping to be matched with a caring sponsor.
If you, your business, or group would like to sponsor a family or individual, contact us for details.
ShelterCare Holiday Giving
Other Ways to Help
Don’t want to wait for a wish list? Gift cards and practical items such as calendars and planners are always appreciated. We can use these donated items during the winter holiday season as “fill in” gifts for participants who don’t get sponsored, and as gifts and incentives for our participants year-round.
Gift cards help our clients stay engaged in the community and stretch their budgets.
- Movie passes
Many of our program participants have zero income, yet they still need items for maintaining a clean and healthy home. We also have a number of clients with pets who say they would rather be able to purchase something for their animal companion than receive something for themselves. Suggested amount: $25 or less
- Discount store gift cards (Wal Mart is most requested)
- Dollar store gift cards
- Pet supplies gift cards
Our outreach teams often hand out food and coffee gift cards to unhoused community members. Suggested amount: $5-10.
- Grocery gift cards (Winco and Fred Meyer are most requested)
- Fast food gift cards (Subway, McDonald’s, etc.)
- Casual restaurant gift cards (Cafe Yumm!, Chipotle, etc.)
- Coffee shop gift cards (Starbucks is most requested as they also sell food)
Notebooks and calendars help clients keep track of important appointments such as counseling sessions and job interviews.
- Small notebooks or appointment books
- Wall calendars
- Inexpensive wrist watches
Gift cards and other items from this list can be dropped off at ShelterCare’s Center for Programs and Services during business hours, located at 499 W. 4th Avenue in Eugene. Our office is open Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
ShelterCare’s Amazon Wish List
ShelterCare outreach teams distribute about 75 hygiene kits every month to unhoused members of the community. The kits contain items such as clean socks, power bars, shampoo, soap and first-aid supplies. You can purchase these and other much-needed items from our Amazon wish list and have the contents shipped directly to us. ShelterCare’s wish list on Amazon.com