August 2020 Newsletter

Hope and Healing Transforms Lives

The Mission’s Mobile Outreach and Rescue Shelter initiatives offer a helping hand to our unhoused neighbors.

I have always been humbled and moved by the example of the friends in Luke 5:18-20, which reads:

The Mission’s Mobile Outreach and Rescue Shelter initiatives offer a helping hand to our unhoused neighbors.

I have always been humbled and moved by the example of the friends in Luke 5:18-20, which reads:

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to take him inside to Jesus, but they couldn’t reach him because of the crowd. So they went up to the roof and took off some tiles. Then they lowered the sick man on his mat down into the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, ‘Young man, your sins are forgiven.’

The friends demonstrated their faith in Jesus by being willing to take the steps needed to deliver the paralyzed man to Jesus. Their love for this suffering man and their faith in Jesus overcame any reservations they might have had about the crowd, the physical barriers of the building and the seemingly hopelessness of the man’s condition.

The Eugene Mission has taken this passage to heart.

Far too many of our unhoused neighbors suffering on the street have heartbreakingly deteriorated physical and mental health. Many of these precious individuals are paralyzed by devastating behaviors such as addiction and coping mechanisms borne of trauma that render them unable to escape their present circumstances on their own.

One of the greatest challenges we face in caring for our unhoused neighbors is the “bottleneck of the unready”. Far too often access to vital resources becomes blocked by individuals who are not yet ready to take the next step. Available capacity is often filled by individuals who are more “street-wise.” As a result, thousands of individuals who are ready to do the hard work of recovery are left without options.

It is for this reason that the Eugene Mission started our Mobile Outreach and rebooted our Rescue Shelter. Our Mobile Outreach provides Hope and essentials and its primary goal is to encourage our unhoused neighbors to take the next step off the streets. Our Rescue Shelter provides a short-term stabilization stay and its primary goal is to encourage our guests to enroll in life transformation in our R3 Academy and Life Change Program. It’s our way of cutting through the crowds to help our unhoused neighbors access Hope and healing.

As in Luke 5:26, we are seeing remarkable things here at the Eugene Mission! We are delighted to share how God is working and hope you will be encouraged!

Sheryl Balthrop
Executive Director

Crisis Accelerates 2020 Vision & Transformation

We are so excited to see how God will use His Mission this upcoming year! We have a 2020 Vision outlining how the Eugene Mission can permanently change lives by serving as a transformational campus.
Sheryl Balthrop,
Executive Director, January 2020 Eugene Mission newsletter.

At the time of the January newsletter publication, we could not have imagined the global pandemic of COVID-19 and the accelerated opportunity to re-boot the Eugene Mission in the summer of 2020 that would result.

On Monday, March 23, 2020, after giving notice to our guests, volunteers and the broader community, the Eugene Mission closed its doors to the public to observe pandemic precautions. This meant a suspension of new guest check-ins and drop-in services as we stretched to care for the health, safety and well-being of the hundreds of guests sheltering within our walls.

Joy in the Midst of COVID-19 Captivity

Over the last few months, while following recommended precautions and stay-at-home orders, the Eugene Mission staff has been amazed by the joy and growth in our guests despite uncertainty and daily challenges. With a secured campus, those inside the Mission began to develop community and flourish in beautiful new ways! We’ve observed a marked improvement in engagement and goal-setting inside our doors without hundreds of people wandering in and out. We know each other by name as we say “hello” in the hallways and work side-by-side. Theft has been non-existent and our need to call 911 for safety reasons has essentially stopped. We have seen our guests rise to the tasks that daily operations at the Mission require. We’ve seen tremendous growth in our residential guests and are inspired by the transformations happening right before our eyes—and all this in the midst of a global pandemic!

Hope on First and Blair

The experience of observing recommended precautions and following stay-at-home orders in a shelter has informed our future format and we are excited to re-boot as the “new and improved” Eugene Mission. The interruption in daily operations for 15 weeks has provided a unique opportunity to strategically accelerate a planned service model. As detailed in our January ‘Vision 2020’ newsletter, our new approach will address the root causes of homelessness by sharing Hope and by offering programming tailored to the specific needs of each guest. This model is called “Rescue + Revitalize + Restore” (R3). We have received good news from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for funding this new approach, which replaces transactional “hand-out” services with relationship-based transformational services, classes and life-skills training.

Rebooted Rescue Shelter Opened July 6th

On July 1st the Eugene Mission announced we would be welcoming new guests to our re-booted Rescue Shelter beginning July 6, 2020. We are utilizing a stabilization and transformational programming model that provides a path off the streets. This model is COVID-19-informed and strikes a delicate and dynamic balance between providing urgently needed shelter and the ongoing challenges of safeguarding the health of hundreds of vulnerable individuals living and working on our campus.

We will continue to observe recommended pandemic precautions with de-densified dormitories and living spaces, a campus reconfiguration, health screenings, required mask use and heightened sanitation. We will also implement operational pivots as the COVID-19 situation changes and evolves.

Our low-barrier Rescue Shelter is in a dedicated wing of our facility and can be accessed at our west campus gate on 2nd and Chambers Street via a 9 a.m. check-in (or lottery) time. A Rescue Shelter stay will be capped at seven consecutive days per year. A Rescue Shelter guest will have the opportunity for continued shelter and services at the Eugene Mission if the guest chooses to continue with our programming.

R3 and Life Change

The next step of a guest’s stay at the Eugene Mission involves transition from the Rescue Shelter to a 21-day Pre-Program in either our Men’s Center or our Women’s Center, which will be sober and secure.

(Please note there will be a separate check-in procedure and program for mothers with children that can be accessed at the Eugene Mission Mothers & Children’s Center.)

There are two primary paths for our guests after their Rescue Shelter stay: Life Change and R3 Academy (Rescue + Revitalize + Restore). If a person’s primary barrier to permanently leaving a life on the streets is addiction, Life Change is an 18-month faith-based relapse-prevention program designed to provide the tools for a meaningful life in sobriety including supports for securing employment and housing.

R3 Academy, by comparison, is a six-month program with a series of tracks designed to address a range of barriers and goals unique to each individual. A person is not restricted to only six months in R3 Academy. A person with steep barriers or circumstances beyond their control (such as availability of affordable housing) would continue with the R3 Academy even after their completion of six months as long as they are continuing to make progress toward their goals. Mission staff and volunteer instructors will work with guests on life skills and provide mentoring and coaching for the duration of a guest’s stay at the Eugene Mission.

Mobile Outreach & Community Partnerships

The Eugene Mission has begun and will continue weekly mobile outreach efforts rather than re-opening drop-in services for food, clothing, showers and hygiene products for non-residential guests. We are working closely with community partners to support their residents who might have accessed the Eugene Mission’s drop-in services prior to COVID-19. We will deliver resources to people in-need either through mobile outreach directly or through coordinated partner transfers and LERN (Lane Emergency Response Network) alerts. As we welcome new guests, services on the Eugene Mission campus will be for residential guests only. This assures a safe and productive environment on many levels, including one of a COVID-19-informed Mission.

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
3 John 1:2

Remember the Eugene Mission in your Estate Planning

Planning for your future? Leave a legacy! Please remember us in your will. For those wishing to designate Eugene Mission as the beneficiary in a will or other instrument.

Please Reference: Eugene Mission,
FEIN #93-0563797.

When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and for the foreigner residing among you. I am the LORD your God.