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Case management and volunteer life coaches are critical parts of assisting the men of CFH. The men enter the shelter with stress, broken support systems, and little hope. Life coaches work with one man at a time, listening, understanding, providing support and advice. As the men begin to regain their confidence and make progress toward stable independent living, the life coach is there to help, and the relationship often continues for many years.
CFH is looking for more people willing to meet weekly for one hour with a man. Training is provided, and life coaches are well-supported by the case management staff. If this sounds like something youíd like to do, contact Bruce Borremans at email@example.com or (425) 985-7233.
Work brings dignity, self-worth, and a road to stable housing. We desire that every man served by CFH would become a man who would benefit the communities in which he lives. We want to empower those who are capable of working to find jobs that are a good fit for them and provide needed services to companies or organizations. For those that have disabilities and cannot work full-time, we want to find a way for them to contribute in some fashion, be it a part-time job or as a volunteer. Men in our shelter that are willing, able and ready to work often cannot find employment, which prevents them from qualifying for our housing programs. The new appointed CFH Job Developer and other advocates will open doors to companies and organizations in our communities that are willing to offer full-time and part-time jobs and volunteer opportunities to men in CFH programs. These men have a wide range of education, experience, and abilities they are begging to be put to good use.
We are currently in the process of hiring a Job Developer to help CFH to build relationships with companies and organizations so that more opportunities will become available to the men in our programs. We are also actively seeking those in our community that would partner with the CFH Job Developer to help open doors for men in CFH programs and advocate for their employment. Business owners large or small or those in positions in companies who do hiring can help open to doors to place the men in CFH programs into employment or volunteer positions. If you are interested in partnering with our CFH Job Developer or in being an advocate for the men in CFH programs please contact us.
There are many heart-warming stories that come from the men who move from the CFH shelter to stable housing. Last month, Sterling Bentsen, Housing Director, received the following letter from a man recently moved into a new apartment. Names have been changed to protect his privacy.
Sterling, this place is wonderful! Everything about it, the floors, the millwork, the high ceilings, the ceiling fan in the living room, the walk-in closet in the bedroom Ė it is all so uplifting. I am so blessed.
It is, of course, not these fine things that matter. I donít have to tell you that what makes the big difference is the sense of self-respect and dignity a place like this restores to a homeless person. It is another world.
My prayer, Sterling, is that you are somehow given a sense of the tremendous, soul-changing work (volunteer work!) you do for others. It is a wonderful thing. What you made possible for me cannot be written. May God sustain you.
For the first time ever the Eastside Winter Shelter stayed open continuously for 113 days, from mid-November till mid-March. During this period we served 251 different men. We had a high of 63 men one night with an average of 40 men a night throughout the season.
After a long search for an appropriate site to house the menís Eastside Winter Shelter, St Peterís United Methodist church graciously invited us to use their church as a host site for the EWS. What a blessing it was. Their church made the shelter and all the men who stayed there feel so welcome. The church opened up early and threw a Superbowl party attended by about 25 men. It was a great time for everyone who came. The shelter men also asked if they could help the church by having a clean-up day. 12 men stayed one Saturday morning and helped clean up and then the church treated the men to a good hot lunch. There were many families and groups that provided hot meals at night for these men. The men were so appreciative for all the community did for them.
So many people worked hard to make this shelter operation successful. Andrea Liggett of Holy Family helped coordinate meals and also their parish donated money for sleeping bags and tarps. The staff worked hard all season to love these men well and provide a safe place for these men to stay. St. Peterís staff and parishioners really showed heart and grace for us this season. And I want to deeply thank the men who were residents of the EWS and thank them for respecting the church, the shelter, and the community in order to make this work.
Some men were able to leave the shelter into stable housing, and about 20 men were able to transition from the EWS to CFH in order to work towards more stability. Overall, I see this as a very successful season, and I hope to see us able to provide more to the homeless men who need this service in the years to come.CFH Employment Workshops Underway
CFH is proud to announce its new employment workshop, currently being held twice a month. This workshop focuses on succeeding in the job search process and access to a computer lab and instruction.
The first workshop lasted 5 hours and was a real success, with 10 participants attending. Case Managers Stacey Witte and Bruce Borremans presented classes on job search strategies, interview preparation and how to communicate effectively. We ended the workshop with practice interviews which included an evaluation and feedback form.
We also had a computer lab that was staffed by life coach Karin Evensta, to help participants learn the basics of using the Internet for job search and sending resumes. We are looking for volunteers to help with the workshop in the future. You could teach a class, help with computer tutoring, or participate in the mock interviews. Please contact Bruce Borremans at 425-985-7233 if you are interested. Also a big thank you to St. Andrews for graciously allowing us to use their classrooms for this ongoing workshop.
If you have ever been to our office you may have noticed that donations of men's clothing are usually stacked thigh high. We are so fortunate to receive such generous donations from many of you. Because of your donations our men have the opportunity to feel and look good when they apply for jobs, interview or begin their new jobs.
One challenge we are having is getting clothes for our larger men. If you have clothing in hard to find sizes - 2XL, 3XL, 4XL or 5XL men's suits, casual wear, coats or business wear it would be greatly appreciated.
Please contact Stacey Witte (425) 765-1782 to make arrangements for a drop off and for obtaining a tax donation receipt. Thank you in advance for any help you can give us.
By Denise Peeler
Last Christmas, our life group went to feed the homeless men, and we were changed. Changed by a man named Zack. I was compelled to write the story of that day in a poem, and God nudged me to share what He did that day. I am happy to say that Zack is now living in transitional housing with a new job and a new future. It would be amazing to make his poem into a book and have Zack be the illustrator! You never know!
One winter morning families gathered together,
by Karin Evensta, Liaison at Bellevue First Congregational Church
Home. It conjures images of warmth, comfort, and relaxation. Sadly, those are not the primary attributes of the hall in our church where the men stayed in November. It's a big barn of a room, with hard chairs, a tile floor and dim lighting. The men like our church because of the location (near the bus station, library, and several Starbucks), but I really wanted it to feel warmer, too. The men were our guests!
So I talked to Home to Home, the organization that furnishes the apartments and houses that the guys move into, and had them deliver 3 couches, 6 comfy chairs, 3 coffee tables, and floor lamps. The furniture didn't change the room entirely, but it gave the men a place to unwind a little on a cold November evening. The furniture was always in use all month long.
Thanksgiving was another day that is wonderful when you're home, but tough when you don't have a home to go to. The men were able to stay in all day, Sacred Heart brought the amazing dinner, as they did every evening all month, and we put out tablecloths and real silverware and china. The doors were open for the men from CFH housing, and for men off the street who needed a good dinner. There was football on the biggest TV, movies on another one, card games, and it seemed like a pretty relaxing day.
The men were guests in my house for a month. As a congregation, we strive for "extravagant welcome", and I sincerely hope the men felt at least a little of that during their month in our house!
The hustle and bustle of the holidays is in full swing. The twinkling lights, shimmering tinsel and brightly wrapped presents abound. It is a time to enjoy the season, reconnect with family and take time to be thankful for the wonderful gifts all around us.
It can be a difficult time for the men at the shelter so we are ringing in the Holiday season with several activities to build community among the men and remove the barriers between homelessness and moving forward.
Dear CFH Supporter,
Living on the streets is a rough life often filled with shame and self destruction. Once homeless, the road back to stability is long and rocky and impossible to travel alone. Itís hard to believe that we have 300-500 homeless men and women living on the greater Eastside.
Chadís story is one of hope, losing ground and rediscovering his own desire and ability to live a life of sobriety and productivity.
Before entering the shelter in September Chad was gainfully employed and like many people was laid off. Depression and a series of medical complications drove Chad to drinking heavily. It didnít take long and he found himself homeless with nowhere to go. CFH gave him more than a warm, safe place to sleep; they provided him with a place to rejuvenate, a support system and community
After a several months of living in the shelter and receiving case management he started working at the Severe Weather Shelter and transitioned into an apartment with the help of CFH. Today Chad is employed by CFH as a site manager. He remains true to his recovery and his goal of living a productive life.
The secret to successful case management is being able to stabilize the men in a safe environment where they can let down their guard and allow the healing and help to begin. CFH provides access to shelter, permanent housing and case management services to 135 of formerly homeless men each year. Residents receive job skills training, life skills building, access to mental and physical health care, and advocacy to access other needs as identified. CFH has a long history of success, one we plan to continue.
We are only able to do this work thanks to the 3,000 volunteers that help us annually and support from generous people like you. Your help is needed today to continue to turn homeless menís ďdark, cold winters into warm springsĒ filled with hope.
IIt is the menís tenacity and our stable presence for when they are ready that make Chadís story a successful one. Your gift of $1,000, $500, $250, $100 or even $50 will make the difference for homeless men living in our community. You can donate by going to our Donate page here and clicking the "Donate" button.
Your generous response will be the difference in the lives of homeless men looking for a better, more productive life.
Last Friday I decided to attend an opportunity for learning more about Pottery from the Streets. Of course I had my preconceived notions of the sorts of activities that went on there but I also had delusional ideas that somewhere inside me lurked a pottery master.
The first thing the facilitator Julie discussed was the goals and itemized priorities for works in progress. Evidently there is a need for hand crafted soap dishes and I was immediately show the appropriate way to create master pieces that could then be painted and sold.
Unbelievably, I seem to have the appropriate skills needed to make even Henry Ford proud when it comes to assembly line magic. I was able to lovingly create 17 hand crafted soap dishes, each unique in its own way. Soon they will be painted and photographed to be offered up to a lucky buyer.
The fellowship and support provided for me to find my inner artist was perfectly matched to overcome my dilapidated self-esteem. I had copious amounts of fun while working and watching others work clay on the wheel. I am inspired that someday I to may feel confident to try my hands at making a vase or cookie jar! Sometime on the road of life it is difficult to find direction and purpose, its also good to have successes along the way, Pottery from the Streets has touched my life in a positive way and for that I am grateful.
It is potteryfromthestreets.com belief that every person deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and most of our clients, if provided with a chance to become productive, will take steps to greater fulfill their potential. The purpose behind potteryfromstreets.com is to create opportunities for displaced members of our community to ground themselves in a social enterprise that is directly connected to the housing lifeline provided by Congregations of the Homeless and its partners.
We believe that participants can develop and harness the qualities needed to create, those skills can then be directly translated into the foundation needed to transition into more challenging opportunities. A little success can go a long way in rebuilding a self-esteem that has been damaged by difficult life challenges.
We provide a opportunity to become a part of Potteryfromthestreets.com to all that have the willingness to do so. Creating the opportunity isn't enough in some instances, many of the people we attempt to serve need encouragement and support to become interested in trying something different. Love and tolerance are the principles that guide our hearts to be inclusive at every opportunity.
We are here to teach the inexperienced or the experienced to work in clay and all its therapeutic aspects and still create a way to put real dollars into their hands. Socially, mentally, economically and spiritually the chance to change their lives is truly in their own hands to make with it what they may.
For many itís a second chance to be a part of a whole, to reunite with a family of fellow humans all on the same path, a place where synergy can produce grown in financial and social manner. By standing together as a cohesive team we can create art and at the same time recreate lives in tangible ways. Our ability to become a part of the business world is directly related to our success in partnering with businesses that buy our pottery for resale. 65% of profits go to the homeless artists to help them with everyday living expenses.
For most of us, the results of 2010 for Congregations for the Homeless are best reported in the stories we share with you every issue. However, for those for whom statistics are important, here are the year's results.
We were able to serve 127 different men in our shelter and provided 10,793 bednights (one man for one night) and 32,379 meals all supported by over 3,850 volunteers from 12 host congregations and 31 support congregations. Together we provided 3,665 case management hours, 432 dental procedures, 209 visits to our in-house nurse volunteers, and found jobs for more than 22 men. 20 men attended our bible studies. We were able to place 68 men in housing which was 73% of the men who left the shelter. This brings the total through 2006 to 252 men who have left life on the streets for permanent housing and a transformed life.
Heartfelt thanks to the thousands of you who served in person or made contributions of food, clothing, blankets or funds. It has made a real difference.
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