Donate Your Change to Make Change

ShelterCare and Dari Mart are partnering up to create change.

Look for the change banks at all Dari Mart stores to donate your change to ShelterCare throughout the month of September. Your change will be used to help people keep, recover and stabilize their housing.

IMG_0178

Fred Meyer: Fostering Relationships Also Helps Bottom Line

Christopher Pond said his company's decision to partner with ShelterCare was an easy one. 

"Helping a locally based organization that does such positive work benefits the entire community, and we are happy to have a small part in that," said Pond, Santa Clara Fred Meyer Home Manager. "It is my job to foster relationships that will help my business grow in any way possible, and I look forward to helping again when I can."

Santa Clara Fred Meyer representatives Christopher Pond (center) and James Young with ShelterCare Supported Housing Office Manager Jessie Johnson at the Center for Programs and Services. Fred Meyer provided ShelterCare clients with deeply discounted household goods (pictured), as well as $2,000 worth of plant seeds for client gardens.

Over the summer Fred Meyer stepped up in a big way, providing the agency with an assortment of deeply discounted household goods for agency clients, as well as $2,000 worth of plant seeds. 

"Coming down and touring [the ShelterCare Center for Programs and Services] was a great experience. It helped to solidify what your scope of work and purpose really is," Pond said. "It is awesome that you were able to get all of your offices under one roof to streamline the process and help even more people in the area."

Fred Meyer was founded in Portland in 1922 and acquired by Kroger in 1999, Pond said. 

"But we are still run with a local feel," he said. "We are still based out of Portland and were one of a handful of companies that provided benefits to part-time employees before it was cool. We employ over 700 associates in the Eugene/Springfield market alone, and support numerous community organizations."

Fred_Meyer_logo

Fred Meyer employees recognize that investments in the community and nonprofit organizations make for a better place to live.

"Together we support a vast number of community organizations," Pond said. "We work directly with Food for Lane County with both direct donations on perishable products as well as food drives in our stores. We have a huge Relay for Life team at both the corporate and local levels. Susan G. Komen/Race for the Cure is also an organization that garners support at both levels."

Fred Meyer customers even have a say when it comes to nonprofit donations, he said.

"Fred Meyer not only directly supports nonprofit organizations, but we let our customers decide where their share of our support will go," he said. "They can choose through their rewards card which organizations will receive funding based on purchases they make."

Pond pointed out that ShelterCare is one of the organizations that people can select to support from their rewards account online.

State Program Paves Way for Agency’s New Home

ShelterCare’s new Center for Programs and Services has been up and running since late 2014, but it might not have been possible without the help of a state program called the Low Income Community Jobs Initiative, more commonly known as Oregon’s New Markets Tax Credit program.

Out with the old...
Out with the old…

The state’s New Market Tax Credits allowed ShelterCare to secure the necessary financing for an extensive remodel and expansion of a former timber warehouse purchased in 2011, transforming the old lumber building into a new hub for Eugene and Springfield services.

…and in with the new.
…and in with the new.

Located at the center of our 11-facility network, the Center for Programs and Services offers the benefit of having a variety of specialists located under a single roof – streamlining access to services for our clients, and enhancing our capacity to engage with partners to develop new programs that address homelessness, mental illness and poverty in our community. The new services hub also created seven additional full-time jobs.

Oregon’s New Market Tax Credit program was created in 2011 with a goal to create jobs in low-income areas by attracting new investors to the state and helping to fill financing gaps for organizations.

Like the federal New Market Tax Credit program, the state’s NMTCs are designed to enable job growth and retention in communities that historically have been underserved by traditional sources of investment capital. Since it began, Oregon’s NMTC program has helped to fund dozens of projects in economically distressed and underserved communities across the state.

ShelterCare Makes Big Difference for Former Pro Athlete

It’s pretty easy to see that Dennis E. is a thankful person. But he admits that hasn’t always been the case.

Dennis says he is very grateful to ShelterCare employees, including his former counselor Linsey Johnson.
Dennis says he is very grateful to ShelterCare employees, including his former counselor Linsey Johnson.

Dennis, 61, grew up in Cottage Grove, Ore., and developed an early appreciation for sports. The fact is, he excelled at them. Football, basketball, baseball … anything with hand-eye coordination came easy to Dennis.

His high athletic IQ even allowed him to share his insight with young athletes. He began coaching younger kids in baseball when he was just 10 years old and worked with children all the way through college.

Despite this success, he says he still felt like a “scared little kid” — anxious and uncertain. He moved on with his life and from an outsider’s perspective, all seemed well. He even got married and had two kids — a son and a daughter.

His natural abilities led him to play slow-pitch softball for a travel team during his late 20s. The experience allowed him to travel around the United States with a team comprised of men from accomplished sports backgrounds, including former NCAA athletes.

With this lifestyle came challenges and temptations, he said. His desire to fit in as “one of the boys” and excel on the field wore him down, and that “scared little kid” came back into his life.

“It became a situation where I became somebody I wasn’t,” he said. During those softball seasons on the road, gambling and alcohol got the better of him, and soon his family life crumbled.

Today, Dennis admits he has an addiction disorder. At the time, he says he lied to himself and his family about his problems.

“I really neglected my responsibility as a dad, and it was all about me,” he said. Soon he was divorced and health problems crept into the picture.

Before entering ShelterCare’s Supported Housing Program in 2014, Dennis said he had an epiphany. He was in the hospital in Portland, having the toes on his foot removed due to complications related to his alcoholism when he realized he had hit rock bottom. About this time his sister had passed away after a battle with cancer, and he had not gone to see her.

“After neglecting to see my sister, I knew I was sick,” he said. He was ready to change. He was ready for the “scared little kid” to go away.

Today ShelterCare provides Dennis with housing and counseling. He has been given a second chance, and he said he wants to make the most of it.

“You guys [ShelterCare] are selfless,” he said. “ShelterCare has been there every step of the way.”

Ari Hirschstein, a ShelterCare consumer skills trainer, said Dennis has formed a strong foundation to help him move forward.

“He uses his strong Christian faith to provide support to himself and those around him,” Ari said. “He wants to watch the world blossom and be a part of that process. I think that through his faith, he is finding inner peace and drive that will push him forward through his life.”

Since becoming a part of the Supported Housing Program, Dennis said ShelterCare staff helped him connect with health benefits and navigate the complicated system of care for his mental and physical health needs.

“People don’t want a handout, they want a hand up. That’s what ShelterCare has done for me: given me a hand up,” he said.

PeaceHealth and Trillium support have allowed him to deal with his medical concerns (the toes on his other foot also required amputation), and his church and family — including his ex-wife — have all reappeared in his life.

Dennis has asked for their forgiveness and now is beginning to repair bridges. He even wears his wedding ring in the hope that someday he can remarry his wife. But he holds no expectations, just hope. Every day is a gift, he says.

“I want to show God’s love in my actions with whatever time I have left on this earth.”

ShelterCare Scavenger Hunt Wraps Up

ShelterCare's first scavenger hunt, which was organized by ShelterCare supporters Carlos Barrera and Rebecca LaMothe, is officially in the books. The pair challenged ShelterCare supporters to be on the lookout for yard sale, antique store and estate sale treasures to donate to our clients in need.

Don Gulbrandsen, ShelterCare’s Agency Recruiter (right) presented scavenger hunt organizers Carlos Barrera and his fiancé Rebecca LaMothe with a trophy to recognize their efforts in organizing the Scavenger Hunt.
Don Gulbrandsen, ShelterCare Agency Recruiter (right) presented scavenger hunt organizers Carlos Barrera and his fiance Rebecca LaMothe with a trophy to recognize their efforts in organizing the hunt.

Thanks to their hard work, ShelterCare clients will have a nice selection of household goods to choose from when they move into their new homes. Thank you Carlos and Rebecca for "ShelterCaring" about homelessness!

IMG_0194