A: Unity Shelter is the umbrella organization that will include programs that share its mission to "Provide Safe Shelter Through Collaborative Care". Programs such as The Mens Shelter, SafePlace, Room at the Inn and future programs that fit into Unity Shelter's vision. Each of these programs will have their own leadership team and staff; however, Unity Shelter will provide the overarching fiscal and operational leadership/management for each of the programs.
Q: Why was it necessary to create an umbrella organization such as Unity Shelter?
A: Multiple local religious institutions were previously acting as the fiscal agents and sponsors of The Mens Shelter, SafePlace and Room at the Inn. By bringing these programs together, we are able to support one executive director and spend less money on “overhead”. The same is true from a communications perspective, such as this website. Writing grants together will also create synergy while supporting all of our programs. We believe these collaborative efforts will be appreciated by grantors and increase our success securing grants, community support and government assistance. As these programs come together, we will be seeking ways to align each program and to provide more integrated approaches to service offerings, policy and operations. This collaboration strengthens our ability to fulfill our shared mission of providing safe shelter through collaborative care.
Q: Is homelessness really a problem in the Corvallis area?
A: Over 1,000 of our friends and neighbors in the Corvallis area are experiencing homelessness. Please download and read the PDF report "Homelessness in Corvallis & Benton County" prepared by The League of Women Voters for more information. It is not an option to ignore the situation or suggest that individuals experiencing homelessness need to figure it out on their own.
Q: How should we refer to people experiencing homelessness?
A: Please refer to these individuals as our friends and neighbors. Those experiencing homelessness are members of our community. We would like to emphasize that these individuals are "people first" and want our language to convey love and respect for them. Homelessness does not define anyone so always begin with a description of the person first and then follow it with "experiencing homelessness". For example, "Mike, my friend experiencing homelessness, is looking for a place..." We plan to put together a more comprehensive guide with recommendations on appropriate language in the near future, which will be published on this website when it is complete.
Q: When was Unity Shelter formally established?
A: Unity Shelter, Inc. officially registered with the office of The Oregon Secretary of State on January 31, 2020. On April 16, 2020 Unity Shelter, Inc. officially registered "Unity Shelter", "Mens Shelter", "Unity SafePlace" and "Room at the Inn" as Alternative Business Names (ABN's).
Q: Is Unity Shelter a non-profit organization?
A: Unity Shelter is in the process of securing its own "501(c)3 not-for-profit status". Unity Shelter is a registered corporation as noted above and can engage in its operations now. Although COVID-19 has slowed the IRS' application review process, we anticipate that Unity Shelter's not-for-profit status will be approved before the end of 2020. Until that status is confirmed, Unity Shelter will operate under with the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis (a registered non-profit) as a fiscal agent.
Q: How is Unity Shelter organized?
A: Unity Shelter currently has 11 board members who are united in their desire to care for others. The Unity Shelter leadership team is comprised of altruistic volunteers who enthusiastically share their diverse talents, skills, faiths, backgrounds, education and experiences to provide shelter for those who have none. The board has selected an Executive Director, which will be formally announced once Unity Shelter has raised enough money to hire the individual who has committed to fill the position. Each of the individual programs (currently The Mens Shelter, SafePlace, & Room at the Inn) may have its own program manager, advisory council, staff, etc. as needed to fulfill their individual missions.
Q: Will Unity Shelter bring other programs into its organization?
A: It is possible that other programs that share and fit into Unity Shelter's mission to "provide safe shelter through collaborative care" could join its organization. Unity Shelter's organization, leadership, branding, website, etc. were designed with that possibility in mind.
Q: What should I do when I see someone experiencing homelessness?
A: First, smile and make eye contact :-) The Community Housing Partnership has published a PDF flyer entitled "What To Do When You See Someone Experiencing Homelessness" and you can download it here. This document outlines 11 excellent suggestions.
Unity Shelter Frequently Asked Q & A
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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.