As I write this letter, my weather app reports alarming wind changes today: 15 mph ssw; 17 mph sse; 16mph s... and so it goes all day. One direction; then the other. Cloudy. Sunny. Really windy. I can’t figure out when to take a walk, when to garden, or whether just to go back to bed.
Change these days is like that. Can anyone tell me what’s happening for the holidays this year? How about the end of summer? 4th of July? Next week? NO!! This kind of uncertainty is change run amok.
Fortunately, some change is more like a course correction. Our Renewal Center project has been like that. First, we were simply planning a remodel, then a move. One year later, the city presented an opportunity for both a move and growth, and the Renewal Center was born featuring our services and those of our friends/other organizations. Then, winds picked up. By the time we were ready to get into escrow, The Camp Fire had just ravaged our community, and we faced a VERY unclear future post fire. Finally, after much consideration, more planning and research we looked for a new site and now almost 3 years after the original idea to build the Renewal Center, we have entered escrow on over 6 acres of land a mere 1 mile away from our current location.
Was this our desired timeline? No, not in the least. But there is good news in the midst of this. With all of this delay, our context has changed too! The Torres Shelter has opened a short-term family shelter and expanded their hours to 24/7 focusing on a low-barrier model. Butte County birthed the HHOME department that consolidates their work with housing and homelessness resulting in a more strategic and proactive lead partner.
CHAT has built an incredible master lease program, housing scores of folks. And our own transitional housing program has grown to 7 homes.
Had we rushed ahead and simply rebuilt our current facility in 2017 we would not have seen the lingering effects of the Fire and the new needs that emerged. Had we accomplished our goals before Summer of 2019, we may have built programs that were no longer needed.
With the gift of vision and time, we are now able to steward this opportunity in light of COVID 19. Early projections suggest that homelessness may grow by 45% nationwide due to the economic catastrophe that has accompanied the pandemic. We can see a different future from our vantage point now that will allow us to think differently: building on the strengths in our community and a clearer view of need.
After a crisis or a death, people talk about a new normal. This idea is built on a premise that normal is static and good. The truth is we live in an ever-changing world. As much as we seek clarity—it is the year 2020 after all—we need to keep learning and listening. We will build today and tomorrow on flexibility, collaboration, strategy
“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”
Miracles happen in the midst of turmoil. Creativity is sometimes the biproduct of deprivation. A desire for change and health often comes when we hit our limits.
This is the message that our program is built on and on which we build our good news message for our participants. We invite folks to consider a better life for themselves in the midst of turmoil; in the midst of change; in times of uncertainty. This is where hope is born.
We have chosen to press on into building a community we want to live in. A community where humans have opportunities to flourish even in the midst of crisis and turmoil. A community where we specialize in building complex solutions to complex challenges. A community where we join together to not just weather change, but where we set our course to get healthy even as change is all around us.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
—Philippians 3:12-14 (MSG)
Please join us with a financial gift as we complete our fiscal year. Each gift is like saying yes to health, to strategic direction, and to calm in the midst of chaos. Thank you for joining us, because we simply cannot weather this storm alone.