Q: If I make a contribution to Unity Shelter it supports all efforts so I don’t have to choose one?
A: Yes. Contributing to Unity Shelter helps provide the staff support for all programs. The best category for an unrestricted gift to Unity Shelter is literally Unity Shelter.
Q: Where is your greatest need? Monetary? Materials? Other?
A: Staffing is our fundraising priority. Between now and June we seek to raise $100,000 to support the existing and growing staff needs of the Unity Shelter programs. We are being invited to take on greater responsibilities and need a deeper and wider staff network.
Q: Can Unity Shelter accept donations of stock?
A: Yes. Stock donations at this time must be done through one of the partner churches. If you are interested in a stock donation, please contact Shawn Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go directly to one of the host churches. It’s so good to see how our community is working together on issues of homelessness.
Q: Will Unity Shelter be getting federal and state funding at some point?
A: We need to spread the word about Unity Shelter to MANY others! Unity Shelter is beginning to receive federal and state funds, in particular CARES funds during the pandemic. The City and County also have provided US with CARES funds. Our programs receive Community Development Block Grants. These funds have paid for direct program delivery and also have supported the construction of 15 new microshelters as well as some other infrastructure needs for the Men’s and Women’s shelters to transform into 24/7, year-round programs. We are building a strong public-private partnership to fund this work.
Q: What is the relationship between Unity Shelter and HOPE (Home, Opportunity, Planning and Equity Advisory Board). Are they working together?
A: HOPE is an advisory Board, designed to give recommendations to the City Council and County Commission. Members of Unity Shelter board as well as members of program steering committees serve on the new HOPE commission. HOPE reaches out to Shawn Collins, our Executive Director, in particular to discuss how to implement ideas that HOPE is researching, evaluating and advising the City and County on. So, we are very connected. A key difference is that HOPE advises city and county governance, and Unity Shelter is an independent organization which carries out programs.
Q: Do you have a location yet for the next batch of microshelters? How much did they cost and who provided the funding?
A: The locations for new micro shelters are still being sought and negotiated, primarily with faith-based organizations. The cost per shelter is $13,500. The city of Corvallis is covering most of the cost of 15 new shelters.
Q: Is there land available for a larger micro shelter village?
A: That would be wonderful, but there is not any available currently.
Q: Does Unity Shelter have discretion to serve people with criminal records, including felonies? These people are often closed out of programs funded with federal dollars. (As explained by Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow.)
A: Yes, Unity Shelter programs serve individuals with criminal records.
Q: I am interested in volunteering. What are the needs for volunteers that might involve less in-person contact (I’m in a vulnerable group for covid-19)?
A: Overnight volunteers at the men’s and women’s shelters have minimal contact with other people. Also, kitchen volunteers at the women’s shelter have minimal contact with others.
Q: Do volunteers need to go through any kind of training to get involved?
A: For the most part, volunteers will receive on-the-job training, and there are always well-trained staff available to help them “learn” the ropes. We do ask that kitchen volunteers at Room at the Inn review basic food safety guidelines before coming to work. They are posted on the sign-up website.
Q: Thank you for a wonderful presentation! I want our church to get involved and also get information to some of our Alternative Education students. Do you need to be a certain age for the shelters? We have homeless students that couch-surf. Our students can also volunteer but I need to know if there is a minimum age for volunteers?
A: Students can definitely stay at the shelters, and can volunteer at the shelters also. Room at the Inn requests that volunteers be at least 18 years old, although those as young as 14 may help in the kitchen, serving and cleaning up after meals.
Q: I saw PDX is using https://www.palletshelter.com/ which may reduce the cost of the microshelters but not sure. Also given that those experiencing homelessness are likely under the Oregon Health Plan is Samaritan doing more, for example, direct case management to help you out?
A: Our SafePlace production manager researched many microshelter designs and works with local contractors to construct units that provide a safe, healthy environment for residents. Unity Shelter programs include case management, and helping clients to access OHP is always offered. Yes, Samaritan Health partners with us providing several services, including some case management.
Q: I'd like to know more about the camping at the men's shelter.
A: The City has just approved an area around the men’s shelter for a managed camping site. Unity Shelter is helping to design, lay out and eventually will provide services to the people who will move into the managed camp site.
Q: Thank you for this information! Is there any work being done toward offering Safepark to individuals?
A: Unity Shelter is not involved in Safepark options at this time.
To make a donation to Unity Shelter, please follow the link below!
Message from Reverend Jill McAllister, President
Click on the Save the Date image >>>
to watch the recording of the
2020 Tour of Homes
Thank you for your generous support! As of December 17, 2020, we have raised almost $65,000 as a result of the event. These funds will be dedicated to our growing need for more staff, and for staff training, given the steady stream of new projects we're being asked to take on. My sense is that we're having to "ramp-up" this small organization about 10 times faster than we imagined, given the expanding issues of homelessness and stable housing, exacerbated by the pandemic. Between now and June 2021, we aim to raise at least $100,000 to help meet these needs. We appreciate all ways in which you can help us spread the news.
Thank you for your comments and good questions at the end of the event. Below, please see a list of those questions, answered to the best of our ability at this time.
This work belongs to the entire community -- all of us. It depends on strong and effective partnerships between many individuals, organizations and public institutions. On behalf of the Board of Unity Shelter, I extend our gratitude for your part in helping to build this essential network.
With appreciation -- Rev. Jill McAllister, President - Unity Shelter Board of Directors
2020 Virtual Tour of Homes
Thank you for your interest in Unity Shelter's virtual 2020 Tour of Homes! Participants gained an inside glimpse of the continuum of shelters in our areas from Safe Camp to overnight shelters to microshelters to supported housing. Unity Shelter is working hard to provide safe shelter through collaborative care for those experiencing homelessness in the Corvallis area. We are putting "Unity" in community in very practical ways with the support of public and private donations.
Unity Shelter's virtual Tour of Homes was presented live on Friday, December 4th; however, we recorded the virtual event and you can watch it by following this link: Unity Shelter Virtual Tour of Homes or by clicking on the Save the Date image below. The total length of the virtual tour is only about 38 minutes. There are excellent video presentations and an invitation to consider making a donation to help those needing shelter in our community. Questions were asked after the live event. See the answers below or click here.
Please consider showing your support for Unity Shelter by making a donation to Unity Shelter by clicking the orange link below.
Q&A: 2020 Virtual Tour of Homes
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It is the policy of Unity Shelter to provide equal opportunity in employment and services for all persons and to prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, handicap, age or sexual orientation. This policy of equal opportunity applies to and must be an integral part of every aspect of personnel policy and practice regarding employment and service delivery.