Love INC prepping to reopen shelter
Ministry Bed bug infestation forces the replacement of nearly $6,000 in equipment, reorganization of shelter's model
A bed bug infestation forced Love INC (In the Name of Christ) to shut down the Newberg Community Shelter July 24, but thanks to several generous donations, executive director Jodi Hansen expects to reopen the facility in the next three to four weeks.
After disinfecting the shelter, Love INC raised more than $5,700 to purchase new beds and bedding, but the situation has also spurred the organization to change the model of the entire operation.
Because it will implement a new and slower intake process for clients in order to prevent re-infestation, Love INC has elected to switch from an emergency shelter to what it is calling a life transformation program.
In the past, weve provided a safe bed and a meal and a little bit of support, but mostly it was up to the women themselves to address the issues that got them into the circumstance of homelessness, Hansen said. What we want to do now is to get more involved in walking alongside women and changing the circumstances that led to their homelessness.
Love INC is still working to finalize its intake processes, but it will include requiring them to shower and disinfect their clothing and belongings for bed bugs before they can enter the shelter.
Throwing your clothes through a dryer is enough to keep bed bugs from entering the premises, Hansen said. So theyll need to get a shower, and their clothes will be washed and dried. We learned from the Portland Rescue Mission that anything that cant go through the wash can be frozen, that also kills bed bugs.
Client will no longer be able to just show up at the shelter and receive a place to stay. Rather, they must schedule an intake interview, which will go deeper into their needs so as to lay the foundation for creating a success plan that will get them out of homelessness, she said.
In the past, Love INC did not have the staff necessary to work so closely with clients, although it has always referred them to available services in the community, like drug and alcohol counseling.
Love INC reached out to the social work department at George Fox University to meet that need and has hired social work student Haley Bellows to become its shelter coordinator. Half of Bellows 20 hours per week at the shelter will be done as an internship, with the other half as a paid position.
People may recognize Bellows name from her Eff Cancer campaign, which drew considerable attention after she was diagnosed with cancer for a third time in less than a year.
I think shes going to be a phenomenal asset to our organization and this particular aspect of the ministry as well, Hansen said.
The shelter will still rely on volunteers to stay at the shelter one night per month and is currently recruiting to fill the final four open slots so that it can re-open.
Well still have volunteers spend the night there, but having somebody whos more connected to each and every woman and helping them develop a plan so that this is not a long-term type of solution, Hansen said. Thats just such an integral part of our mission, to mobilize the church to transform lives and communities. Haley will be the point person in working through that transformation, but the volunteers from the community will still be an integral part of creating relationships.
Having just taken over as executive director this summer, Hansen was shocked at how quickly the community mobilized to donate the funds necessary to purchase new equipment, which cost $700 per bed, including bedding.
At one point last month, she received several queries as to the progress of the fundraising, which she reported at $3,100. By the next day, the goal had been reached.
In the meantime, several people wrote checks for $700, a church came through with a couple grand, and a couple others donors pitched in, Hansen said. We were shocked because we were right there. It was truly amazing how quickly happened.
As part of George Foxs annual Serve Day event, a group of students will be on hand Wednesday to assemble the furniture and set up the shelter to receive clients.
For more information, or to volunteer to be a shelter host, call 503-537-3999 or visit loveincnewberg.org.