On Monday, March 23, 2020, after giving notice to our guests, volunteers and broader community, the Eugene Mission closed its doors to the public to shelter in place and observe pandemic precautions. This closure 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.
We are delighted to announce that on July 6, we officially launched the new 2020 vision to the public and began welcoming new guests through our expanded “Rescue Shelter”. We would like to take this opportunity to share some highlights of our new transformational programs at the Eugene Mission.
Over the last few months, in the midst of sheltering-in-place, 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! There has been 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. Theft has been non-existent and our need to call 911 for safety reasons has essentially stopped. We have seen our guests delight in being part of the hustle and bustle of daily operations at the Mission. We have 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!
The experience of sheltering-in-place in a shelter has informed our future format and we are thrilled to enter this new season as a New Eugene Mission. The interruption in daily operations for 15 weeks has provided a unique opportunity to strategically “re-boot” our service model for the future though implementing it now. As detailed in our January Newsletter ‘Vision 2020’, 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. Our 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.
As we “re-open”, to new guests and the public, we will continue to observe pandemic precaution with de-densified dormitories, a campus re-configuration, regular health screenings, masks and heightened sanitation. The significant change will be the new “Path Off the Streets” for our unhoused neighbors. This path begins with access to a 14- day stay in our low barrier Rescue Shelter. The shelter can be accessed at our west campus gate at 2nd and Chambers Street via a 9 a.m. check-in (or lottery) time. The Rescue Shelter stay will be capped at 14 days. A Rescue Shelter guest will have the opportunity for continued shelter and services if the guest seeks admission to our transformational programming.
The next step of a guest’s stay involves transition from the Rescue Shelter to the 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 programs for Mothers with Children that can be accessed at the Eugene Mission Women & Children’s Center.)
There is a path for anyone who is willing to work on themselves and who is safe to be a part of our community here at the Eugene Mission. Our Revitalization Programs are welcoming and provide a personalized plan based on the individual’s goals and social, vocational, mental, and physical health challenges. The individualized plans will support our guests in addressing barriers.
There are two primary Revitalization paths: Life Change or R3 Academy (Rescue ~ Revitalize ~ Restore). If a person’s primary barrier is an addiction, Life Change is an 18-month relapse prevention program designed to provide the tools for a meaningful life in sobriety including supports for securing employment and housing. R3 Academy is a 6-month program with a series of tracks designed to address a range of barriers and goals. A person would not be restricted to only 6 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 graduation at 6 months provided they are continuing to move forward with their goals. Mission staff and volunteer instructors will work with guests on life skills and provide mentoring and coaching for the duration of their stay at the Eugene Mission.
Rather than reinstituting our Drop-In Services of food, clothing, and hygiene products for non-residential guests, we have begun and will continue weekly mobile outreach efforts. We will deliver these resources to people in need either through mobile outreach directly or through coordinated agency transfers of essentials (e.g. clothing, hygiene products, food support). 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. As we re-open to 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 COVID19-informed Mission.
Guests entering our Rescue Shelter will stay in a dedicated area for a maximum of 14 days. These guests will be screened for safety upon arrival and will be required to stay onsite for the duration of their stay. Guests who are ready to take the next step off the streets will transition to a 21-day Pre-Program and will continue to remain onsite 24/7. Accommodations will be made for medical appointments and verified employment. This intentional procedure limits the traffic in and out of communal living spaces and provides a safe and supported environment.
We are excited to welcome new and familiar faces in need of safe shelter beginning on July 6th with the official opening of our new Rescue Shelter! We will open in a coordinated fashion with a 9 a.m. check-in time (and lottery if needed) daily. We request that applicants not arrive more than 30 minutes early or disrupt area neighbors or businesses. People who loiter or camp near the Eugene Mission will not be eligible for services.
As our community continues to re-open in phases, and as it is safe for you to do so, we welcome you for a tour and conversation about the R3 transformation program at the Eugene Mission, our future vision, and how you can be involved. Details of our programs and services are on the rest of our website under the “Find Help” section. We will also be scheduling regular small group meetings and ZOOM calls to answer questions. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule!
~ Blessings ~
Eugene Mission Family