Volume 14, Number 20 | October 15, 2020 | www.citygatenetwork.org  


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This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by:

The Merriam Agency - Insurance

 

 

Monthly Public Reading of Scripture Now Open to All Citygate Network Members
On the fourth Tuesday of every month, Citygate Network has been partnering with the Grace & Mercy Foundation to offer Public Reading of Scripture (PRS). Until now, it has been open to just CEOs; but starting on the 27th of October, everyone is welcome to participate. Tune in to hear purposefully chosen portions of Scripture read aloud, accompanied by appropriate sound effects and music. The words will be on the screen in the New King James Version, but you can follow along in your favorite translation or paraphrase. There is 20 minutes of just scripture and an equal amount of time for informal discussion. If you have not experienced this powerful, focused way to start your day, you need to check it out. Citygate Network is committed to it.

You need to register ahead of time to get the link and a reminder.

 

COVID-19 Reporting Criteria Changes
Back in April, we set up an online system for all Citygate Network members to let us know their COVID-19 infection numbers (guests and staff), which included letting us know even if they were COVID-19 free. Weekly, we have been passing on that information to USICH in order to give the entire Homelessness Task Force a picture of what’s happening from coast to coast. But as numbers have diminished, some of our members are no longer reporting. So, starting next week, we will be asking you to please notify us only if: (1) your number of new COVID-19 cases in a 48-hour period exceed three percent (3%) of your mission/ministry population; and/or (2) you have any new staff infections. Numbers of new cases meeting this criteria can be reported in the same place as always. Your faithful reporting is appreciated.

 

Are You Experiencing Increased Pushback from Local Government?
Citygate Network is hearing from a growing number of members who are being told they will be excluded from specific funding (e.g., Emergency Solution Grants) or not allowed to participate in emergency shelter programs due to discrimination in hiring or non-compliance with equal access provisions being written into city or county agreements. Individuals at the U.S. Department of Justice are currently looking into some of the cases that have been presented to us by members. We’d be happy to include your concern if you think you’ve been discriminated against in a similar fashion. Please explain your situation in writing and include any documents you’ve been asked to sign or letters of denial you’ve received. Send them to Alice Gifford at the Citygate Network office.

 

Citygate Network Board Meets Next Week
Our board of directors will soon be gathering in Oklahoma City for the second of their two in-person board meetings of the year. (The first was in New Orleans in February, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.) A significant item on the agenda this time is a thorough review of the 2020 major survey. The group will look at this fresh data to determine how members feel they are positioned for the future—their biggest concerns and what they believe their greatest opportunities might be. Many other newly discovered facts will be reviewed. All of this will have a bearing on what member services Citygate Network will offer in the days ahead. Please be in prayer for the group as they meet together from October 19 – 21. While in town, the board will also briefly tour our two member organizations there, Jesus House and City Rescue Mission.

 

Ripple Effect Goes Online this November
Citygate Network's top-rated program for ministry boards and CEOs, Ripple Effect, will again be offered via Zoom, November 12-13, 2020. The online launch event includes expert instruction on governance, inspiring meetings, the board and money, godly decision making, succession planning, and more. Plus, your registration includes an online repository of governance resources and personalized coaching for several months, provided either on-site or virtually. Board guru and author Bob Andringa will be among our guest instructors. Thanks to a grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, this program, which would typically cost several thousand dollars, is available to Citygate Network member ministries for just $795 per ministry! Some 70 member ministries have already taken advantage of Ripple Effect, with 35 individuals joining us virtually for the spring cohort. To learn more, email Ripple Effect Program Director Ed Morgan or by phone at (917) 576-6604. Click here to see the basic schedule and/or to register.

 

Practical Information About the Eviction Moratorium
Your mission or ministry may have noticed an influx of guests due to the number of people who have experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic and shutdowns. In September, the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order temporarily halting residential evictions for non-payment of rent if certain conditions are met. When appropriate, be sure to provide this information to tenants, lessees, or residents of residential properties that come to you because of their inability to pay rent. To invoke the CDC's order, these persons must provide an executed copy of the “Declaration” form (included at the end of the Eviction Moratorium document below) to their landlord for each adult listed on the lease, rental agreement, or housing contract. The order runs through December 31, 2020. For more specific information, access the National Eviction Moratorium: FAQ for Renters.

 

Looking Down the Street

  • After an absence of five years, Citygate Network is pleased to welcome back into membership Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley (Youngstown, Ohio). Please email CEO John Muckridge and welcome him to the network.
  • After leading The Los Angeles Mission (Los Angeles, California) for 15 years, Herb Smith will officially retire on October 31. He and his wife Kathy plan to relocate to their lake house in Washington State, near their son and his family. Herb’s successor, Troy Vaughn, has already started and getting further phased in every day. Feel free to reach out to Troy and make him feel welcome.
  • The Rescue Mission (Fort Wayne, Indiana) relocated to a new downtown facility, made possible by their recent capital campaign. The greater capacity, on-site clinic, counseling and resource centers, social service agencies, continuing education, and vocational services allow them to offer even better services to their community.
  • During the recent shutdowns, Wayside Christian Mission (Louisville, Kentucky) completely gutted their restaurant to re-create the dining experience. The new Cardinal Crossing Café has now opened with features specifically designed to comply with all the COVID-19 protocols. It even sports University of Louisville Cardinal décor!
  • Light of Life Ministries (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) will offer tour groups of 15 a one-hour, behind-the-scenes tour of their new Voeghtly Street Mission location this coming Saturday. It houses a kitchen, dining room, chapel, men’s emergency shelter, and their very first women and children’s shelter. They hope to open to guests by Christmas.
  • Winston-Salem Rescue Mission (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) just lost their men’s transitional housing due to a fire. They suffered no injuries or loss of life, but the building has been condemned. Local churches have stepped in to temporarily house the men. Please be in prayer for interim CEO Lou Carrico as he leads his team through this. Perhaps you can send him a note of encouragement.

TELL US: Do you have news to share with other network members? Send a blurb to Alice Gifford. Include as many details as possible. We’ll handle the editing.

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Administration Advocates for Awareness in Critical Areas
As the world continues to combat the Coronavirus pandemic, statistics show that domestic abuse has increased exponentially. On October 1, the Trump Administration issued a proclamation designating October 2020 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, calling for the protection and support of those who have found themselves not so “safe at home” because they live with an abuser. The Proclamation declares: “Now more than ever, we must do our part to provide domestic violence survivors with the tools and resources they need to escape their abuse and secure justice for the harm inflicted upon them.” 

An additional Proclamation from the administration designated October National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, renewing their commitment to breaking the grip of alcohol and drug addiction while acknowledging that the isolation caused by the pandemic has had a negative impact on mental health, and the misuse of legal and illegal substances. The Proclamation specifically names a number of initiatives, along with “actions taken by state, local, tribal, and territorial stakeholders, including faith-based organizations” to help families and communities save lives “by engaging young people most at risk of developing a substance use disorder.”
Consider: Perhaps you can use these Proclamations to bring awareness to these destructive behaviors that play such a big part in bringing many guests to your facility.

 

Governor Warns Religious Institutions to Comply or Be Shut Down
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a warning to community leaders that the state could move to shut down religious institutions who do not agree to comply with restrictions on mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than relying on local officials to enforce the restrictions, he said that state officials could take over the enforcement of mandates to limit building capacity, wear masks, and maintain social distancing amid a spike in coronavirus cases. “We know mass gatherings are a super-spreader event,” said Cuomo, who has been an outspoken critic of groups that have violated previous directives. However, recent protests in New York City and other locales have clouded the state’s enforcement efforts.

 

Housing Project Morphs
California has introduced Project Homekey as a follow-up to Project Roomkey, which funded hotels and motels to house the most vulnerable homeless individuals during the Coronavirus pandemic. The new version concentrates on converting hotels, motels and other properties into permanent housing for those experiencing homelessness. The governor announced additional funding for 12 California cities and counties to take on 20 such projects, in order to provide a total of 1,109 units. The funding comes with a tight deadline for jurisdictions, requiring the properties be purchased by the end of the calendar year. However, Project Homekey has its critics, considering the problems that surrounded Project Roomkey.

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Resources Providing Financial Hope Amidst Pandemic
ECFA just published the findings of their recent survey revealing how Christ-centered churches and nonprofits are adjusting to move forward in ministry despite the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic: Optimism Yet Again, Financial Hope Grows Despite the Prolonged Pandemic. The survey collected information from 661 churches and 932 nonprofits, including rescue missions, between August 26 and September 11, 2020. In addition, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), in partnership with Grey Matter Research and Christianity Today, conducted a State of the Plate poll in both April and August to measure the financial and giving impact of the shutdowns.

 

Elderly Homeless Crisis
Last year, after analyzing historical records of shelter admissions in three major American cities, a team of researchers published a sobering projection that in the next 10 years, the number of elderly people experiencing homelessness would nearly triple, as a wave of late baby boomers ages. And that projection came before the pandemic hit, which has stretched what remains of the social safety net to the breaking point. Younger members of the boomer generation (born between 1955-1965) continue to make up the dominant homeless population in the United States. While the first half of the boomer generation entered adulthood on the wings of economic prosperity, those born during the second half, faced entirely different circumstances. They struggled with housing and labor markets crowded by their generational predecessors. Higher home prices and lower wages fueled a lopsided competition that made it difficult for the poor and less educated to gain a foothold in the economy.

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More Support Available for Canadian Workers
Canadians forced to miss work because of COVID-19 could start applying for financial support from the federal government last Monday. The new benefits come amid concerns about new lockdowns and job losses as governments try to prevent health-care systems from crashing. Women, in particular, have seen a disproportionate impact on their careers and earnings, with many shouldering the brunt of the burden for child care and home schooling. Canadian households can apply for $500 per week for up to 26 weeks when one person misses more than half a week of work because their child or family care is not available due to the virus. The federal government anticipates 700,000 Canadians will apply for the caregiver benefit. (240,000 had signed up as of 10/13/20.) Canadians can also access a new sick-leave benefit that pays up to $1,000 over two weeks for those unable to work because they have contracted COVID-19 or are forced to self-isolate because of the virus.

 

Food Banks See Noticeable Increase in Usage
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government is doubling $100 million in previously announced aid for the country’s food banks. As the holidays approach, food banks will continue to experience increased pressure to feed those who can’t afford groceries, or are unable or afraid to venture out of their homes to get them. Statistics Canada says food insecurity in households across the country has been significantly higher during COVID-19 and has affected nearly one in seven Canadians. Toronto-based Daily Bread Food Bank says that since the start of the pandemic, visits to food banks in that city have increased by almost 25 percent. In addition to the government aid, food banks have appealed to the public for additional donations.

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Teaching Children to Stand Up Against Racism
The PBS mainstay Sesame Street has a history of explaining the world to children, tackling everything from foster care to substance abuse. In the recent wake of national events concerning race, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit, educational organization behind the popular kid’s program, will air a half-hour anti-racist special titled The Power of We, encouraging families to watch together. The segment defines racism for younger viewers and shows how it can be hurtful. It urges children who encounter racism or hear someone else be the victim of it to call it out. The special will stream on HBO Max and PBS Kids and air on PBS stations beginning Oct. 15. Viewers are offered tips to help their communities unite, including chalk drawings, and making positive signs. It concludes with the slogan “Listen. Act. Unite,” and provides online resources for parents to help guide conversations about race. In June, Sesame Street also contributed to Coming Together: Standing Up To Racism, a CNN town hall special hosted by Van Jones and Erica Hill.

 

Recalibrating Commemorative Spaces
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation just announced a five-year, $250 million investment—the largest project ever undertaken by the arts and humanities philanthropy—to redefine the landscape of public monuments and memorials, according to the New York Times. The recent videos of racial abuse in 2020 have prompted this reflection on the importance of recalibrating the commemorative spaces that represent our country’s multicultural histories. In explaining the Monuments Project, the Mellon Foundation observes, “Statues are not just bodies in bronze, and monuments are not just stone pillars. They instruct. They lift up the stories of those who are seen, dominate the stories of those who are unseen, and too often propagate menacingly incomplete accounts of our country’s past.” Since what is memorialized is often legitimized, there have been errors of both commission and omission in public memorials that deserve national and local attention. This project seeks to promote rational discussion that fosters informed decisions that take all parties into consideration.

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Market Street

Business Director, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA

Care Support Specialist, Light of Life Ministries, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA

Chief Program Officer - Men, Wheeler Mission Ministries, Indianapolis, IN

Cook, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Counseling Program Manager, The Rescue Mission Tacoma, Tacoma, WA

Custodian, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Development Director, Home of Grace, Vancleave, MS

Development Manager, Bread of Life Mission, Seattle, WA

Director of Operations, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Director-San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, Rescue Mission Alliance, Oxnard, CA

Driver, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Executive Director, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Executive Director, Geauga Faith Rescue Mission, Chardon, OH

Executive Director, Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission, Toledo, OH

Family Recovery Program Director, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Food Service Support, Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries, Kalamazoo, MI

Grants Administrator, Stability First, Inc., Martinsville, IN

Guest Services Manager, Shelter KC, Kansas City, MO

Infant /Toddler Lead Supervisor, Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries, Kalamazoo, MI

Lead Recovery Coach, Shelter KC, Kansas City, MO

Maintenance, Kalamazoo Gospel Mission, Kalamazoo, MI

Major Gifts Officer, Union Rescue Mission, Wichita, KS

Manager of Donor Relations, Lexington Rescue Mission, Lexington, KY

Member Support Manager, Citygate Network, Colorado Springs, CO

Men's Shelter Support Staff, Kalamazoo Gospel Ministries, Kalamazoo, MI

Mental Health Counselor, The Rescue Mission Tacoma, Tacoma, WA

Nonprofit Management Department Chair (online), City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Operations Manager, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Part-Time Counselor (Youth-Focused), Seattle's Union Gospel Mission

PRN Residential Care Mentor, Shelter KC, Kansas City, MO

Program Advisor, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Program Director: Justin's Place Women, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Residential Coordinator_Cornerstone Manor Facility, Buffalo City Mission, Buffalo, NY

Resource Advocate, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Safety Coordinator, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Safety Team Member, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Short-Term Living Coordinator Men's Ministry, Lebanon Rescue Mission, Inc., Lebanon, PA

Social Work/Clinical Manager, Denver Rescue Mission, Denver, CO

Vice President of Programs, Career Cross Training, Colorado Springs, CO

VP of Recovery Programs, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Women's New Life Growth Manager, Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, OR

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Don’t Get Distracted

Yes, feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm…
That’s how you once behaved, characterized by your evil deeds. But now it’s time to eliminate them from your lives once and for all—anger, fits of rage, all forms of hatred, cursing, filthy speech, and lying. Lay aside your old Adam-self with its masquerade and disguise. For you have acquired new creation life which is continually being renewed into the likeness of the One who created you; giving you the full revelation of God.

Colossians 3:2,7-10 (TPT)

Over the last seven months, we’ve witnessed a vast range of human emotions and behaviors. Under stress and pressed outside our comfort zones and routines, humans can expose some less-than-endearing qualities. Our emotions linger right beneath the surface, more prone to bubbling up. We’re edgy and more likely to implode or shatter at the slightest provocation. We experience fear and feel ill equipped to face the unknown.

Extreme circumstances often cause us to re-evaluate our priorities. Much like a terminal patient whose focus on the most important issues becomes laser sharp in their last days, the Coronavirus has had the same effect.

Unfortunately, it can lead to further division and discord. Rather than practicing grace and softening our criticism of others who choose and prioritize differently, we pounce and pick each other apart, widening the divide between “us” and “them.” When we feel threatened or compromised politically, relationally, and/or spiritually, our instinct is to erect a defensive wall, to protect ourselves and barricade others out.

So then, surrender to God. Stand up to the devil and resist him and he will turn and run away from you.
James 4:7 (TPT)

Our heightened state of emotions through the pandemic, the racial unrest, and the impending elections, gives the devil an open door to wreak havoc by capitalizing on fear and insecurity. Like the Grinch, he voraciously watches, eager to bask in the chaos his mean-spirited meddling could generate. He loves the volatility and disconnectedness that stress brings on because it undermines our faith and confidence in a sovereign, loving God. He stirs it up and distracts us from pressing in to shine an otherworldly light on a population reeling with anxiety and panic.

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.
I Peter 5:8 (MSG)

Written by Alice Gifford, Citygate Network

To contribute: If you would like to write a devotional thought for StreetLight, please make it about 200 words, include at least one Bible verse or passage, and submit via email.

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Street Smart is provided to you as a member service of Citygate Network, and is published on the 1st and 15th of each month (unless those dates fall on a weekend or holiday). The content does not necessarily represent the views of or imply endorsement by Citygate Network. To submit items for publication, email editor@citygatenetwork.org.