Like many other organizations, the Jesus Center operates within her mission statement and is anchored in her core values. Just as a quick reminder, the core values are: Christ-Centered, Collaborative, Accountable, and Restorative. These four run like flowing rivers through all we do, all we are, every decision, policy, and strategy.
As we have celebrated our move and the changes of the last two months, we look forward to our Phase II project to construct 40,000 more square feet designed to host 100 more shelter beds for some of the most vulnerable and special needs sub-populations in our midst, collaboration is ever present.
Collaboration is multi-faceted. It is the work with other like nonprofits. It is our synergy with churches. It is the public private partnerships with the city, the county and the state in projects like Project Roomkey. Collaboration
is our approach to staffing and volunteering. And collaboration is also intrinsic to the experience of a participant in our shelter program or our housing program. We are in this together. We need each other, and we are better together! And, if we are to build a community that is healthy, we must learn to work together, rely on one another, trust each other, and contribute to each other’s growth. Trust me, living in a congregate shelter or in shared housing relies on a collaborative approach.
Collaboration in all of these iterations is not easy. There are days when it would be easier to operate as an island: whether that is the Jesus Center, the staff, the participant, or the partners in the community. Working together takes shared goals, trust, honesty, hard conversations, and a dose of pragmatic compromise.
I know I often speak of collaboration, but today I wanted to walk you through how collaboration works at the level of helping a human find the pathway to health and housing.
A participant named “Roxanne” started at Sabbath House, moved to our Lily House (supported by St. John The Baptist Catholic Church, and members of their church for pregnant moms), and then to our home for families called Myrtle. While in Myrtle, she received assistance from the Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services through their Housing Support Program, (HSP). HSP offers a sliding scale benefit to help Roxanne on her path to independence. The Butte County Department of Behavioral Health is also involved, and has partnered with Roxanne through their Stepping Stones program to provide support for her mental health and substance use issues. Most recently, the Jesus Center had an opportunity to secure 10 emergency housing vouchers through the Housing Authority of the County of Butte (HACB). This housing voucher which will launch Roxanne into her own place with the stability of a long-term subsidy, her minimum wage job stretches further as she manages her young family.
Collaboration is each partner doing their unique part based on access to resources and the unique needs of the participant. Collaboration helps people like Roxanne navigate her way to stability!
“Sandy” entered our program as a senior. She began her journey back to housing at our Sabbath House and then moved into a shared room at House of Hope, our original community supported transitional house for women. When we opened our house for senior women, Sage House, Sandy relocated there. She gained employment through an AARP program allowing her to use her customer service skills at
the front desk of the Jesus Center Resource Center. Sandy was excited to be a perfect candidate for the Emergency Voucher Program (EHV) offered through the Housing Authority County of Butte and can use that long term voucher for independent affordable housing for seniors or a studio in market housing. As a senior on a fixed income, this opportunity gives her the long-term stability she has been seeking.
Each pathway for our participants requires collaborative. Collaboration is the most successful approach for them and the most sustainable for those of us offering services. We don’t strive to duplicate one another, rather, we work to complement and stretch our resources for the good of the participant.
Collaboration is the hallmark of Phase II of the Renewal Center. Designed to offer 100 beds of shelter on the top floor, the bottom floor will be a celebration of collaboration featuring a clinic (including mild-moderate mental health services and addiction support services) operated by Elijah House, services from both Butte County Department of Employment and Social Services (DESS) and Butte County Department of Behavioral Health, a resource service operated by Butte/Glenn 211, as well as others. Enloe Medical Center will be collaborating for medical respite. Butte County Office of Education, Elijah House and the Jesus Center will build a back to work program. Vocational resources will center in a vocational training lab unlike anything we have seen before including a small retail shop to sell what is made and created.
And it is with collaboration with our community is what will bring this Phase II to reality. You can be an active collaborator by making an operational gift this month. You can also be a strategic collaborator by joining us as a capital campaign contributor. If you’d like to visit our new facility and hear about our plans, please reach out and make an appointment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura R. Cootsona