The Eugene Rescue Mission, not all it’s Cracked up to be.

Posted: June 15, 2011 in really!?!?, Uncategorized

In all of Eugene and Springfield Oregon there is only one general purpose shelter for the homeless, the Eugene Rescue Mission. A place for the homeless to rest their heads and to get a bite to eat at the end of the night. All it costs you is $2 a night, after your first three which are free, and your dignity.

Before I go any further I want to be fair and honest with my readers, I have an ax to grind with this place and in no way support it as a viable shelter for any one who had respect for themselves and/or the will to make it on their own. I have no respect or love for this place.

The Eugene rescue Mission is a part of the national group of missions that reach across the country providing shelter and food for the homeless. They provide things such as a bed at night, dinner, lunch and breakfast and some clothing when available. On the surface this is a great deal, but when you look at the system of religious blackmail, slave labor and discrimination shown by this organization it really starts to show its true colors.

Let me walk you through the process of the mission, and as someone who has spent a couple of years there in the past I understand this place fairly well. so, do not think this review comes from someone ignorant of this establishment and its operations.

When you first get to the mission you must check in with the front desk in order to have a file card made with your name on it. This card will contain everything you do here that requires notice be made. If you are disruptive it goes here, if you are banned it goes here. This card is the staffs source for all things you. Fair enough and very logical really. You must be in by 6:45 pm each night or risk not getting in. At 7 pm the chapel meeting begins and you must set through an hour of service from any of various Christian faiths. The chaplains vary in how well they present themselves and how good they are. some are very good while others, well, at least they try. I have nothing but respect for those who come to share their faith expecting no compensation except the knowledge that they might have got through to someone this night. I can respect that even if I do not follow the belief they preach.

After the chapel service you line up for dinner. This can consist of various things and is typically on the level of jail food. Not great but it is edible and it’s not terrible. I have become sick eating at this shelter in the past and will not eat there again, but many do. my advice is eat at your own risk. Once dinner is complete you may go into the back courtyard and smoke if you do so choose to do so. At 8:30 pm they begin bed call. The way this works is if you stayed there the previous night you are able to get right into line and will be given your bed from the night before. If, however, you are on your first night you must wait until the regulars are all in then you will be assigned a bed and allowed to go up stairs.

Once you are upstairs you will be given a box to put your things in for the night. you must keep all of your items in this box except for medication and glasses and such. you will notice that above the door to the storage room there is a sign informing you that in case of missing property the mission will not and can not be held accountable. The staff that work this area are other residents of the mission, homeless and as in need of money as the rest of those staying there.

After your group shower in which you use soap that has been used by 20 other people to wash the various body parts in need of scrubbing you put on a pair of mission pajamas and go to your bed area. The sleeping area is a dorm that hold a bit over 200 men. A good portion of whom snore, cough yell in their sleep and at times urinate or vomit in the walkways on the floor. You are in bed by 9:30pm and are woke up promptly at 5:30am the next morning. You may eat breakfast is you wish and if not you are not required.

This all sounds good right? So what is my complaint about the mission? Allow me to explain.

1. Religious blackmail:  I am a firm believer that people should have the right to choose their faith and to choose whether or not they participate in that or any other religion. You lose that choice in the mission. You are expected to go to a Christian church, set through a Christian meeting with Christian chaplains and to be subjected to Christian teachings. Again, this is fine, if you’re a Christian and share those beliefs. If not this is an atrocity. Forcing your religious beliefs on a person is a form of spiritual rape. I hold traditional Celtic beliefs, because of this is am deemed a Pagan and a witch, and we all know what the bible says about witches

Exodus 22:18

”  Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. ”

And what of followers of other religions? Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam etc?bulletIn the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) God is recorded as punishing ancient Israelite individuals and members of other tribes for following the wrong religion, or deviating from “proper” religious practices. In some cases, the victims are viewed as having no right to continue living. In the book of Joshua and elsewhere, God instructed the ancient Israelites to commit what would be termed genocides and “mass crimes against humanity” in today’s world. The victims were newborn, infant, child, youth, and adult Canaanites and other nearby tribes who followed Pagan religions. 1 Samuel contains accounts of genocides perpetrated by David and his men.

Do not get me wrong, this is not a condemnation of Christianity, not at all. There are some beautiful things in the Christian faith. Were i not for the Christians Churches here in town we homeless would have a lot fewer options, however, the forcing of religion is an ugly, unacceptable thing meant  used as a weapon by tyrants and hypocrites. Is the religion forced here? Don’t the homeless have the choice to opt out of the sermons? Of course they do, but if they choose to do so they will not be allowed to sleep there or eat there. Nowhere in the bible did Christ refuse healing or shelter or food to someone who did not believe the way he did or follow his teachings. They will be denied everything the mission offers at the end of the night.  So, while they do agree to go through the sermons, its done in duress and nothing signed into or agreed upon bears any weight in the court of law if it is done so under duress. Which brings me to my second point,

2.Lack of Constitutional Protections: As a private organization the Eugene Mission is not bound by the constitution in many areas of their operations. They are free to demand religious participation and to use that as a means for discrimination.  Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000) made this the standard in our country of equality. You either attend their Christian services or you can and will be excluded from all benefits offered by the mission. It is because of the right-wing leanings of the supreme court during the time of the above case that the mission can use religion as a means of blackmail, a weapon.

3.Total Disregard for the injured and disabled: If you are mentally disabled, or physically injured to the point that you can not serve in the missions “Work Rehabilitation Program”, more on this later, you will be disallowed. The mission has no regard for those among us who are the most needy. If you are a person who they need to watch over they want nothing to do with you. They discriminate on disability and mental disorders to a ridiculous amount.

 

John 5:1-47    

After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” …

 

The very thought that they would refuse a class of people who need their help more than most and yet still claim to be a Christian organization is ludicrous. Several years ago during another stint as a homeless I was staying at this shelter and while there I hurt my leg to the point I could not hardly walk. After gong to the Emergency Room at Sacred Heart I was given an order for bed rest and light duty for a week. I was told by the powers that be at the mission that I had one week if I were not better in that time I had to find a new place to sleep. Another person who was in a wheelchair, but could make short trips of about 5-10′ left his chair for a few feet to grab something and was told by the mission that he was lying about his injury and he was kicked out from the mission. Yet another individual, who was going through some difficult times, cut his wrist off of the mission property. Nowhere near it matter of fact, however, when he returned to thee mission and his bandages were noticed he was given a permanent ban from the mission by the administration.  These bans and kick outs are all ordered by……………….

4. Richard Savage: I am not sure what his official title at the mission is, but this man has no regard for anything or anyone. He seems to be the general manager of the place and he lords it over those staying there with a tyrannical hunger for power that disgusts me. His style of dealing with the homeless at the mission is one of an overlord looking down from his throne at someone, more like something, beneath him. His tone and attitude is one of disdain for those he is supposed to be there to help. The sheer arrogance of this man is enough to earn the mission a place in the hall of shame. The pure disregard for others this man shows has put him on the hit list of many people staying at the mission. He is the most despised person working there and he does not care. He has authority and this is all that matters to him. Authority that he wields like a weapon used to cut down the self-respect and dignity those staying at the mission need. This man is a horror of inhumanity. The mission should be scorned for his continued employment through them.

5.Work Rehabilitation Program: At the mission they have, what is called in their newsletter to donors, a work rehabilitation program that is changing lives and giving people the skills they need to be successful in the workplace……………..Excuse me while I try not to laugh.

This program consists of this. the main focus of this “program” is the newspaper recycling center. This brings in a bulls share of all income for the mission each year and is not only is an important aspect, but a required aspect, of their operations. Without the income from this they may very well fall flat. At this center those who are regular members of the mission population give two hours of their time towards making the place run. Without this labor the mission would be pressed to make the money they do here. The work consists of packing the paper bundles from incoming trucks and stacking them so that when the outgoing trucks come in they can once again be packed from the stacks onto the trucks. During slower times the loose newspapers need to be bundled and tied, giving the clients something to do during this period of time.

The other area of work for this program is on the “Program side” of the mission. this is all of the people who have decided to basically volunteer at the mission in return for a bed. Well, in all honesty it’s not really volunteering as they get bed, board and $25 a week for working a full-time schedule. They handle things such as the cooking cleaning, warehouse operations, driving and such. Again, this does not sound too bad, but here is the issue.

this work rehabilitation program has no on thee job training, no vocational councilors, no job referrals and no rehabilitation of any kind. They do not provide you with references, they do not teach or train you in any form of work skills (they want you to have experience in the areas you apply for.). nothing. they do nothing to be considered a program of anything other than human exploitation. minimum wage in the state of Oregon is %8.50, one of the highest in the nation. The two hours of work in the recycling center should earn the person $17, instead, they get a voucher for one nights stay at the mission. A $2 value. The program workers get a room that is still under the missions basic rules (no playing cards, no visitors) and $25 a week. Far less than the full-time schedule they keep for the mission would earn them in a real job. Also, if the person gets hurt on the job, no compensation and they will be removed from the program side and lose their job. Even if the mission was responsible for the injury.

those who are looking for work while living at the mission are no better off. They must look for work that takes place only during the day shift as the mission will not grant late passes for work ,nor will they do wake up calls or let you have your property before the main wake up call. So you are forced to limit your job hunt to times only to times when every one in the city is looking for them. Day shift.  The entire work issue at the mission is a fraud and only exists to make the mission money and to exploit those forced to work the place for their nightly bed.

6. Inequality of the Sexes : There is a big disparity in how the women and men are treated at the mission. For one, the women are only allowed one year to stay there in their life time. After that year is up they must move on to other places. The men, however, can live out their entire lives there, and many plan on it. The reason for this is that the men do all of the work that actually makes the mission money (nearly $500,000 profit a year). It would not be prudent to evict your main source of free labor. the women do not work in these areas so they are an unneeded commodity. The men must work for two hours a day in these money-making areas if they need a bed for the night whereas the women only work around 15-20 minutes and doing things that i’m sure many feminists would love to blow up the mission for. Typical “women’s” work. Cleaning, dusting etc. On the women’s side, if one of them gives the other their lighter to use both can receive a 7 day removal. They may not let another lady have possession of their things or its a ban. The women must be at t he mission by 5pm if they wish to eat, thus cutting the time they spend away from the place down. Men do not eat until 8pm. the women are made to wake up 30 minutes later than the men. These and many more differences in the way the sexes are treated exist at the Eugene Mission.

7. Basic depth and level of the fraud they are perpetrating against society and their donors: This will draw me a level of anger and retaliation if they are ever given the chance, but its my opinion and i will voice it. the Eugene Mission is a hoax. A fraud, a scam to its investors. All of the things they put in their newsletter to donors are sent through the spin doctor to make sound as good as possible. All of the discrimination and hypocrisy leads me to believe one thing concerning the place, they are only Christian in their public image. True Christians would desire to help those with ailments, not turn them away as being too much of a bother. True Christians would never turn you away were you to not participate in their sermons. True Christians would care more for their fellow-man than for the money they can earn exploiting them. So why then the mask of being a Christian organization? My best guess is this, people will give to Christians organizations. There is money to be had from the exploitation of the true Christians generosity and giving spirit. It all comes down to the money in the end. The Eugene Mission brings in around   $1,845,913 a year, of which 90% of this is from donations. Of this money they spend    $1,477,721 of it leaving an after expenses profit of    $368,192 a year. their assets come to a bit over $8,628,509. All of this for a charity that Charity Navigator ( http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=8316)  rates as below average in almost every category it rates charities on!! It was the only 2 star charity in the mission category i found. In short it is a waste of donor money and a place that , even though it provides a place to sleep in a warm bed and food for those who need it, does so using tyrannical tactics and a fascist mindset. It’s policies are very reminiscent of what I’m sure it was like during the inquisition period and the crusades.

8. Political Ties and other Misc: So, why don’t people simply not stay at the mission? Because many have no choice in the issue. In some unholy alliance with the local jail and division of Parole and Probation the Eugene Mission allows these agencies to force their clients into residency at this place. The mission is full of individuals who are on parole or probation for felony convictions. The parole officers are allowed to order their clients to stay at the mission and if they do not they can send them to jail for violating the terms of their parole. Many people who have other addresses they could be staying at but have PO’s who do not like those options are being basically held hostage in the Eugene mission. the jail often releases offenders on pre-trial release and orders them to the mission accompanied by a gps ankle bracelet tracking device to make sure they set there all day long. Those who refuse to stay here are sent to jail to waste tax payer money and jail coordinators time and effort. All over the whims of a court and parole system that has a strong working relationship with the mission. The mission allows this to happen, it knows it is happening as they will report the individuals record of staying there to the parole and probation officers. All the PO needs to do is call the mission and ask and the mission will report to them all of the days the individual stayed there and nights he or she was missing from it. so much for separation of Church and State. This is a vulgar violation of the civil rights of those forced to stay there and an unnacceptable use of thee resources of the Eugene Mission. The mission director should be ashamed of himeself.

I know there will be those who think I am being a judgmental jerk, especially those in the Christian community ans those who like being able to go to the mission and rot heir lives away, but this is how I see the place. others may vary in their opinions, but this is mine and I back it up with provable fact. On a scale of one to 5 the mission gets a 1.5-2 from me.

This is my thoughts on the Eugene Mission, take it for what you will.

 

Respectfully,

 

Eugene Wanderer

 

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Comments
  1. qwilliams52 says:

    Hey there,
    I am the new chaplain at the Mission. Just wanted to apologize for the wrongs you have experienced. We are striving to take things in a different direction. If you would ever like to chat, please feel free to call me.
    Thanks,
    Q

    • wes says:

      Help means help not destroy peoples lives so they can not get back on their feet. This town I was proud of once not anymore!

    • wes says:

      Its not a mission when the guys behind the desk try to help stalk and destroy the family’s of they people who are in need in the building. Allow and help destroy the young people in the mission . kicking people while they are down is wrong and so is holding them there. I have had things taken from me while I was here and even a lock off my locker and they said I had to pay for it or leave. Then they changed their mind.

  2. ocinfoRobert Kent says:

    My advice to anyone who is or may become homeless. It would be better to die on the street than to accept the “help” these people offer. I was homeless for a short time back in 1990 and felt like I was being indoctrinated by the Rev. Jim Jones himself. Their forced bible studies followed by a “meal” that probably wouldn’t even pass for prison food has put me off religion forever. If there is a god, I’m sure it is displeased with the Eugene Rescue Mission.

  3. mattincinci says:

    a captive audience, they dont feed you UNTIL you have heard their preachings, because they know a majority would rather eat than listen to a chaplain go on about the bible and jesus

    i give my dog better treatment

  4. qwilliams52 says:

    Hey Mattincinci, just so you know we changed that. People actually eat now before chapel. We were wrong about that for sure. Trying to make things better.

    • Yes, they have changed that aspect of the program, thank you for at least doing that much on it. It is a start. And just so those of you reading this know, Mr. Williams is the new Chaplain at the mission and seems to be a decent guy, so no attacking please.

      • Anonymous says:

        The devil comes as an angel of light… so what’s the problem with attacking a falsehood that’s DESIGNED to break your spirit and give up? I’ll attack anyone who shows themselves a devil pretending to be a christian; ANYONE.

  5. Anonymous says:

    beggers cant be choosie ur homless so be it its free god has provided it for u its there to help its morre than u had when u came in
    so quite bitchein and thank god

  6. Anonymous says:

    I used to be a firm supporter of the Eugene Mission, even made it my default solution when I was homeless. And, despite the negative rhetoric, I would still be inclined to seek shelter here. However, in the course of my routine dealings in the community, I have heard a rumor of a recent six-figure donation that was received by none other than Jack Tripp himself. And while the details of this donation have not come to light, it just bothers me that if this is true, why are the guests still complaining about the substandard meals, is beyond me.

  7. Bluezy says:

    I photo manipulated a picture to represent what some missions make me feel like. Jesus attracting pigeons with crumbs. I called it Free Lunch And the Word

    The mistake is that lack of faith and God’s wrath has made someone homeless.
    I actually was looking for a mission somewhere as a starting point for a new life. Thanks for setting me straight on Eugene. Scratch that off the list.

  8. I stayed there 3 nights a year ago and had absolutely no complaints. I’m not religious but had no problem attending the chapel services. You’re getting food and a bed for the night. Is going to chapel too much to ask? I also stayed there for just one night about a week ago because my CraigsList rideshare was late by one day. A couple of changes. One, I was told they were full-up but since it was a “weather night” I could stay the night. If I wanted to stay the next night, I’d have to participate in a lottery. Fair enough, I guess, but I was confused why if I got a bed in the bunk-beds for the night how they could be full-up. I expected to be sleeping on a mat on the floor, which would’ve been fine. So whose bed was I sleeping in if they were full-up? Second, you don’t have to go to chapel. Actually, you didn’t have to last year when I was there. The difference now is that if you’re not going to chapel the TV in the main room is turned off and everyone is expected to turn off their electronic devices during this period — which, again, I was fine with. I recognized two people from last year who were doing the same thing I saw them doing last time — oblivious to everything else and watching stuff on their laptops and portable DVD players. I bet these people didn’t look for a job any that week, month, or past year. A shelter is not supposed to be a long-term place; unfortunately, there are lazy people who want to do nothing more than listen to music and watch movies; and I think that’s pathetic, especially when I see able-bodied guys in their late teens and twenties staying there and acting like they’re king of the world. Has this country gotten so second-rate that people want to do nothing more than sate their wants? Oh, and one more change — the place is closed up from 1p-4p, which I think is way too generous. Myself, I didn’t stay for breakfast and was out looking for work during the day. If I were the Mission, excepting the physically and mentally handicapped, I’d boot everyone’s butt out of there by 8a and not allow them back until 4p. What incentive do people have to better themselves if they’re allowed to lollygag at the Mission all day? And, again, many are perfectly able-bodied and could be out looking for work.

    Overall, I have high marks for the Mission. Yeah, there are several rules, but they’re in place to ensure that the Mission is a safe haven for those in need. And I support them making you take a shower and place all your belongings in that crate, that way there aren’t stinky people stinking up the dorm, and there are no idiots keeping you awake with their playing around with their friggin cellphones all night long. As for the food the article complained about, hey, it’s free. If people want something better-tasting, hey, get a job and buy yourself a better meal. What, you expected steak and lobster?

  9. Anonymous says:

    Here is the thing about the mission. They are based on donations, originally designed to a CHRISTIAN RESCUE MISSION, most of the donations are from believer’s who hope that those who are lost or struggling will find hope and healing in Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save sinner’s, which by the way, Christian or not, we all struggle with. In asking you to attend a service is a HOPE that you will find Jesus! There is nothing wrong with that, they are offering you a safe place to sleep and food, all provided by Christian folks who hope to not only help you, but help you in the name of Jesus and all that stands for. That is the MISSION.

    When I worked there as a volunteer the mission took in anyone who was in need, and had not already burned their bridges there from doing drugs or drinking. I understand now they are doing drug testing, so you can only be “helped” if you are already straight. I believe Jesus welcomes us to “come as you are”. I understand that they cannot take in drug induced and drunk individuals for the safety of the other guests.

    They no longer have the program of worker’s that live there and are paid a penance. That is sad in my opinion, I knew some wonderful women who worked really really hard and needed the room and board. They worked really hard, night shifts, and one I knew well, was basically disabled and unable to get a regular job.

    I think if you are there you should be required to work in the facility. Such as laundry and change your bed, clean bathrooms, kitchen, mop, vacuum, etc. These are all things you would do in your own home, and should be done by the guests.

    Here is my problem, all the people they turn away now. There are only 3 women and 7 children in the women and children’s facility, which can house many more. People who turned away that need the help, that they have beds for, are turned away. How many abused women and children are on the street or staying in bad situations of abuse, as a result of not wanting to sign up for their year program? I believe fully that this organization is being changed to be something it was never intended. In a mission, you help people, problems and all, and expect God to show up, for the Holy spirit and Jesus to change their behavior. Were there people that abused the system? Yes, but there were a lot of people who found Jesus, and were set free. I wonder if they can get in now?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well now actually the things that are being spoken in this article are now all old gripes! The Eugene Mission has expanded, and is now a whole different program with few similarities to the old and how the things use to be there in routine, therefore this article is now and should be obsolete, null and void! I am speaking from my own experience of having had to stay at this Eugene Rescue Mission at the Women’s Center, this being just very recent, and lucky for me I get to move into my own place on Monday, and I have also spent quite a bit of time there in the past before the new build and expansion occurred, which I will vouch in comparison to other shelters around the USA has always been a satisfactory dignified and clean place to stay, to speak in terms of generality, only because you can’t quite control the behaviors of others no matter where it is you go, everybody should understand you only have control of yourself and your conduct when interacting with others! My reply to the article is just to remind people you’ll never really know any kind of truth to any kind of recommendations or reviews no matter the subject matter, so instead of going on the slandering and bashing on businesses, community, and other people, get off your ass from in front of the computer and go check it out! Let me just say one thing there are a lot of people coming into generation, and over just these last 20 years a lot of these people choosing to be homeless, or even the rest of them, whatever reasons why they are in the circumstances they are in, let me just give my honest opinion about the lack of respect they have had to their environment and all of the people who have been there to help them, a lot of these people in dire straits have trouble owning their troubles and expect to use their issues as a means to get a way with walking all over everybody including the community and it’s resources, which in turn ruins it for the rest of us who respect it and appreciate it!

  11. wes says:

    Its not a mission when the guys behind the desk try to help stalk and destroy the family’s of they people who are in need in the building. Allow and help destroy the young people in the mission . kicking people while they are down is wrong and so is holding them there. I have had things taken from me while I was here and even a lock off my locker and they said I had to pay for it or leave. Then they changed their mind.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There is a very dangerous narcissistic woman there at this time!

  13. No Mater the service – Mission – Free meal – Hand out in the street, It is of the highest honer to serve others. To do so with a complete open heart – for only the benefit of the served – go’s unnoticed and is truly only recognized by the hunger, the chilled, the tired – the hurt. It is not honest or kind to pass judgment on the ones who serve. The same for the served. Scotty LaCroix

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