Response to “The Eugene Rescue Mission……”

Posted: June 17, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hello people, I log back onto my Facebook page and i find the following reply to my Mission post.

Carolyn Mendez Howison: What alternative would you suggest?
2 hours ago · Like

Carolyn Mendez Howison :What I mean is: Pls describe what the clients of such a facility would design if they had the choice, given their inside knowledge & experience
about an hour ago · Unlike · 1 person

Carolyn, i think this is an excellent idea.  Note, the only reason i left Carolyn’s name in the paste is because any of you who want can go find it on my Facebook wall anyway.

In any shelter for the homeless there should be an expectation of respect and dignified treatment. An expectation that while staying at the shelter they will be treated as equals, as human beings and without fear of disrespect and exploitation. There should be a knowledge that each and every one there will be treated fairly and as adults worthy of adult responsibility. With this should come the expectation that those who are clients of this shelter will be expected to, and should, behave in a manner that warrants this treatment. Without this understanding by both sides and without the mutual respect there will be very little to no success for any shelter.

Part of the responsibility of adults is the ability to choose when they go to bed. A 7pm curfew that forces the individual into bed  while the sun is still up is not and should not be acceptable. So long as the individual is up be wake up and out of the shelter by the given time their arrival should be of no concern. Any shelter which stresses personal accountability should run less like the Eugene Mission and more like the cold weather warming centers in this area. At the warming centers the clients may come in at any time of the night and leave at any time up to the point when everyone must get up and out. This would be ideal. Under this system those who seek work will be able to do so on their schedule instead of the one the shelter forces upon them. If someone finds work they will b able to do their job regardless of what the hours are. In other words these people would be able to plan and execute a plan for reentry into the norm of society without ridiculous barriers from their “homes” getting in the way. Those who do find work and are looking to make the transition into normal life again should be given incentives to do so. Extra privileges not available to the general population and/or vouchers for dinners at restaurants or some other form of reward for attempting to do something about their situation. The current way of things at the Eugene Mission creates barriers for those seeking work and does nothing to assist them in the effort as far as schedule. Those who are trying to return to a normal existence are treated the same as the person who never leaves the mission and does nothing to improve their lot in life. Those who are trying should be shown that it counts for something.

A shelter devoted to helping those it serves should not allow it’s client to set around at the shelter all day. They should not allow a pattern of lethargy to set in and become habit for those it serves, this does them no good. This only makes it easier to fall into what the British involved in the issue of homelessness refer to as the 4 week rule. This simply put means that it takes about four weeks for someone to become acclimated to the status of being homeless and to become accepting of it. This is not something we should be striving for. By making them leave the property at, say, 9am and remaining gone until 8pm with the exception of what meals you may serve you at least force them to go out and get exercise by walking to wherever they need to be, or choose to be during the out hours of the shelter. Who knows, if they are forced to get out and into the world who knows what may happen. they mat meet someone who as room to let them live with them or who has a job they need filled or any number of other things. But, we can not allow them to simply set around and fade into the scenery. This does no one, the homeless or society, any good.

Being devoted to helping those who are homeless has one very important aspect to it that the current shelter seems to have overlooked, and that is the fact that in order to help those we strive to assist we must first allow them them the right of feeling they deserved to be helped, we need to instill a sense of personal pride and a mindset that says ” I am homeless but human, and i can make it in life”. without that there is no hope for many of these disadvantaged people. we need to give hem purpose, a goal. Shelters should have a counselor who is in the place for one thing, life planning. trying to plan a way for the client to get back up on their feet and to move on from this unfortunate situation. To be available when someone needs to talk or wants assistance of a counseling nature. Most of all this needs to be free to clients of the shelter. This alone will not do it though, there also needs to be things to make the homeless feel active and wanting to do something.  Take 20 homeless, pay them $10 each to clean a 5 block stretch of our streets. This will take less then an hour to do and will cost $200 a day/$10,400 a year to clean garbage off of 100 city blocks a day!! What would this city look like with something like this under way. not only would they get the chance to see the results of their work, but could have pride in the fact that they are ding something good for themselves and the community. they would see the appreciation of those in the city and would know they are capable of making a positive change in them selves and their environment. They would see that, even though they are down at that moment, they have potential.

Clients of a shelter should be allowed the humanity of showering in private, not with 10 other guys at a time, and should be granted the respect of using soap that was not used by 30 other guys before them. allow the clients the respect of keeping their own soap and shampoo and such over night to use the next day. Offer them new soap once theirs is gone. Allow them to dry themselves off somewhere other than 3 feet away from the guy who is defecating in the toilet in the drying area. Allow them to own a pair of shower shoes so they are not walking bare footed in the showers where all of these other people are, risking athletes feet or worse. In the rest rooms keep the floors clean of urine and other such things. It is not pleasant at the mission at night having to wade through the urine of others with no shoes on in order to get to the urinals. Its unacceptable and a good way to spread disease and illness.

There are those who do enjoy the religious aspects of the mission, but most do not. There should be a chaplain but that person should not be mandatory.  Undermining someone as a person with the right to choose their own faith or lack of by forcing them to participate in sermons is not only unconstitutional, (damn Boy Scouts of America v. Dale) its dehumanizing. It says your free choice means 100% nothing to us, do as your told. This is not acceptable or respectful. as well as the volunteer Chaplain there should also be a chance to attend AA or NA meetings at this place. This is yet another way to help the homeless help themselves. Give those who wish to get clean the chance to do it. give them the chance to remove one more obstacle from their lives and to begin making the steps needed to move on in their lives.

How a “shelter” given to “helping” the homeless can turn away someone who is disabled simply because the shelter  is “not a hospital” is beyond me. How do you take someone who is suffering from mental issues or physical disability ands tell them they do not deserve to receive your help and compassion.  This is an answer i can not give you, to get this one you will have to go ask the director of the Eugene Mission as they do this on a regular basis. no one should ever be disallowed due to disability, these are the members of our society who need our help the most, they don’t deserved to be shunned and/or cast off like trash! The shelters should have an area that is for these individuals. This is one of the big reasons i would like to see the Eugene Mission put out of business. The sheer uncaring and discrimination against these people is intolerable and deserves only scorn from those of us who are capable of care and concern for our fellow man.

Those needed to help run the shelter should be compensated for their time and effort. My thoughts would be pay minimum wage minus $250 for rent at an apartment at the shelter, $75 utilities and another $30 for phone service. This not only allows the shelter to find readily available workers, but gives the client a place to call their own and a means of getting themselves into a real apartment and to begin saving money for their eventual return to normal society. Give them assistance in setting up a bank account so they can save the money they earn. Give them the tools to help themselves.

These are just a few things i would implement. Things that would show more better concern for the humanity of those the shelters are supposed to be helping,  things that would begin to build the clients up instead of making them feel as if this is all there is left for them. Feeling forgotten. we need to find ways to build up our homeless and give them not only the sense that they can change their situations, but the motivation and will to try. The way things are now they are seen as nothing but a commodity to be held in order to make money. they are treated as property instead of human beings by those who are supposedly there to assist them. there are many wonderful charities in Eugene who are great with the homeless, but our current shelter is not one of them. we need a change, one that will not be blocked or held back due to political influence or pull. after all, it’s not about the profit we can make from them, it’s about them and their well being.



  1. do they drug test when you first go in says:

    do they drug test when you first go in

  2. Jane Doe says:

    I would like to know if the Eugene Mission takes funds to give preference to keeping Parolees? The same parolees that commit routine crimes against the most vulnerable protected classes whom try to stay there; those with disabilities and the elderly.

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