August 2017 Newsletter

Download a PDF to read the full newsletter. Or read our featured article below.

Courtyard And Future Building Site

Our master plan for the Mission’s downtown campus continues to be updated according to current circumstances. When we had to demolish our deteriorating Bookstore at the corner of SE Pine St and SE Cass Av, that lot’s usage was changed to be parking spaces. We consolidated parking to the north end of the block and building to the south end. This move opened up the area behind our Thrift Store to be changed from parking to a designated future building site. In the Mission’s 53 year history, it has never built a new building, nor had a city approved future building site. We can now add to our facilities while remaining on our existing campus. However, construction of a new building there is not in our current planning. Though our New Life Program and Transitional Housing Program are generally full or close to it, our transient men’s dormitory has averaged a 60% occupancy rate for years. Even before considering a new building, we would hire additional staff and change the use of existing buildings. In the meantime, the lot behind the store is fenced for security and a finished look, creating a naturally expanded courtyard. Vinyl slats in the chain link provide privacy. On the Lane Av side of the courtyard, a wrought iron fence and gate were added to completely enclose the area.

Now another event is coinciding with our property usage plan. The City of Roseburg has sold the historic Willis House and gazebo to Neighbor Works Umpqua. That property, located at 734 SE Rose St, has changed from public to private ownership and is now taxed. A condition of the sale was to fence the lot to preserve the historic house and gazebo. Homeless people, who have utilized that site for years, are no longer able to loiter there day or night. The City wants to reduce homeless issues downtown. Neighbor Works wants an alternative place for the homeless to go. When a popular gathering spot is lost, people do not just disperse, they migrate to a new location. Eagle’s Park, at the corner of SE Jackson St and SE Lane Av, is a possibility. It is known for a Saturday lunch program, but that site is not without controversy and does not have protection from sun and rain.

As the Mission has developed a larger courtyard, just two blocks away, the gazebo on Rose St has been fenced off. Part of the Mission’s very purpose is to draw homeless people into our facilities and away from other parts of the community. We want to be as inclusive as possible and still have a well organized operation. The Rose St gazebo was generally occupied by homeless men with shopping carts of belongings that camp outside and do not stay at the Mission. They had a sense of ownership, even exclusive rights to that spot.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want” Proverbs 21:5

The occupy Movement wants a place for homeless people to be, occupying the streets or a park, some place of acceptance and hope. Here is the Mission Dayroom and Courtyard to use, but not with tents or camping. We have no delusion that they will all suddenly relocate to the Mission, or if they do that some trouble will not follow. This expanded Courtyard and our Dayroom are options for homeless men to not hang out in city parks, the county library, stores, or the downtown business district. Its the natural location for them to be, whether staying here overnight or not. Our adjacent Dayroom has restrooms, showers, laundry, telephone, and social service help. Across the street, we serve three meals a day, every day of the year. We have decided at this time not to build a large, iconic gazebo, like the one on Rose St, on our future building site. There are other covered areas in the Courtyard. Our Samaritan Inn for homeless women and children already has a courtyard large enough for children to ride bicycles around.

We have had a men’s Courtyard for many years; it is just being expanded to utilize a newly available area. It is still being developed into its full potential. It is open from 6am to 6:30 pm. There is supervision and a policy of no obvious use of drugs or alcohol. Gates are locked at night for security of bicycles, other property, and to prevent camping there. One gate is only locked from the outside, allowing an exit route at any time. There are surveillance cameras and monitors. The combination Dayroom and Chapel is set up with rows of chairs and tends to be a quieter place of reading and computer use. The Courtyard has picnic tables and various patio furniture, both donated and purchased. Some prefer the Courtyard; it is nosier with conversation. There is bicycle repairing, with tools provided. There is a soda vending machine and a pot of hot coffee. Its ok for a person to bring their own food and nonalcoholic drinks into the yard. The daytime areas are shared by all three of our men’s programs, allowing a free exchange of information. There is enough room to move about, even pace, and not feel confined, especially if one has been living outdoors. The Courtyard at the Mission is an invitation to gather, fellowship, explore options in life, and know that there is hope. The new, larger yard provides more opportunity to Rescue Roseburg homeless men from the perils of the streets and eternal separation from the Lord.

Categories Newsletter | Tags: | Posted on July 28, 2017

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply