SafeSleep United has continued to grow and adapt successfully this past month, most notably hiring two part time staff members and a full time graveyard shift lead. This was made possible through State Homeless Assistance Program grant funding, which SafeSleep applied for and was awarded for the 2021-2023 biennium. With the addition of new support staff, more energy can be put towards education, outreach, and case management. These efforts are becoming more and more important as the crisis of homelessness continues to grow.
Staff have also been working on implementing a new Homeless Information Management System (HMIS), used by many Homeless Alliance Continuum of Care service providers. The HMIS enables SafeSleep to check guests in and out, record which bed is assigned to each guest, enter services provided provided to each guest, and identify when guests have moved to a more permanent shelter or home. This is a huge step up for the shelter, automating many summaries that have been created manually up to this point.
With all this expansion, SafeSleep needs more volunteers! Homelessness has increased to the point that it is a humanitarian crisis. Homeless women are at high risk of being victims of assault, robbery, sex trafficking, and rape. SafeSleep United's mission is to change that by providing a safe place for as many women as possible to sleep at night. The shelter is open from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am every day. If you have a few hours to volunteer for opening or closing, please get in contact with Lynelle Wilcox at email@example.com or call 971-570-4213 to schedule a time.
The Value of "Normal"
For a long while in my life, I equated "normal" with boring, everyday, mundane, ordinary, cookie-cutter sameness. Wanting "normal" as a desirable setting on my dryer, but not a desired thing for my life. SafeSleep United guests had the option to go to Inside Out's retreat in the country at the end of August. Most of our ladies went and everyone had a wonderful time. When they came back, we asked if they missed us. The resounding response was [of course not]! At the retreat, they could swim, hike, hang out at any time of the day or night, and sleep in as long as they wanted. What's not to love about that? For many good reasons, our shelter can't operate that way. Yet we are so grateful they had a chance at something so amazingly fun, instead of daily survival life. And it's a vivid reminder how the normalcy that sheltered life offers may be more underrated and precious than we remember to realize. What if everyone could have the normalcy of a safe place to sleep each night, the option to hang out with friends at any time they wish on days off, the freedom to sleep in for hours sometimes? "Normal" now seems like an amazing luxury that could change for any of us at any time. Now, instead of feeling negative about "normal" and shying away from it, I am so grateful for any normalcy we have the ephemeral richness to have for now. And I wish the gift of "normal" for everyone.
-Lynelle Wilcox, Program Manager
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