Volume 14, Number 24 | December 15, 2020 | www.citygatenetwork.org  

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This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by:



Vaccinations Have Begun
Yesterday morning, an Intensive Care Unit nurse in New York was among the first Americans to receive the vaccine against COVID-19. This batch was developed by Pfizer. Other pharmaceutical companies will soon be bringing their version of the vaccine to the battle to prevent the further spread of the Coronavirus that has so far claimed the lives of more than 300,000 Americans and almost 14,000 Canadians. Staff at rescue missions and shelters are considered essential workers and should be cleared to receive vaccinations once healthcare providers (doctors and nurses), and residents of long-term care facilities (senior centers providing medical assistance) have been vaccinated. Your state and local health departments will be planning for vaccination for essential workers soon. If you haven’t already talked to your team about the vaccination, do so immediately. If they have concerns most of their questions can be answered at this website.


Last Call for the Early-Bird Deadline
On Thursday at midnight, the early-bird discounted rate for our 2021 Annual Conference and Exhibition in Baltimore will expire. To take advantage of the lowest rate available, you need to act now! Plans continue to move forward with great speakers and workshops already lined up for this highly-anticipated event. Check out the introductory brochure and get your team registered before rates increase beginning Friday the 18th of December. And with some uncertainties still swirling around, remember that you can register with confidence, knowing that everything is refundable through February 28.


Federal Program Acknowledges Citygate Network for Important Role in Saving Lives
Last week, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) hosted the Annual Extra Mile Recognitions ceremony to bestow special appreciation to those who have expended extraordinary efforts to support the USICH mission and play a part in improving homelessness outcomes. During the event, USICH Executive Director Robert Marbut acknowledged the extensive coordination and communication efforts of Citygate Network and The Salvation Army in providing overall direction and specific guidance to their members over the past ten months as they have continued to deliver frontline services to homeless individuals across the country. Citygate Network President John Ashmen then co-presented an award to Dr. Emily Mosites (Epidemiologist and CDC Senior Advisor, Health and Homelessness) who has tirelessly served as expert counsel for Citygate Network members, regularly participating in our network-wide calls and providing timely recommendations and insight on behalf of the CDC.

In another segment of the ceremony, Citygate Network member Helping Up Mission (HUM) in Baltimore, Maryland was recognized for their innovative engagement in the area of mental health and trauma-informed care. The award was presented by Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Bob Gehman, HUM CEO, and Dr. Denis Antoine, Director of the HUM Cornerstone Clinic, staffed by Johns Hopkins University, accepted the award on behalf of Helping Up Mission.


Equal Participation Rule Just Updated
Moments ago, Citygate Network President John Ashmen was on a White House call with several hundred faith-based leaders. The call was to explain the joint-agencies’ recently released rule to protect religious organizations applying for grants, vouchers, and certain contracts. John was one of three people tapped to ask questions to the White House, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Justice, and Department of Labor personnel on the call. Here is what John asked:

“While rules like this look good on paper, we know they are not always followed on the local level. For decades, despite the scope of work our members undertake, because we are faith-based, in many cities we’ve been treated like Cinderella: Stay in front of your scrub bucket, do the work, and don’t ask for anything. In recent years, as Secretary Carson just mentioned, we’ve been recognized and appreciated. We’ve gotten to ride in the carriage and dance at the ball. But even now, we are encountering some situations that make it feel like we are being handed the broom and ushered back to the fireplace. If we feel that, despite this final version of the Equal Participation Rule, our members are not getting a fair shake, who do we turn to in the days ahead. In other words, who will be looking out for us to make sure this rule is enforced as intended?”

The response was that these offices should be accessed: 1. The Office of Civil Rights in the appropriate department; 2. The Office of General Council in the appropriate department; and 3. The White House Office of Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (or whatever it will be called going forward). Citygate Network is still going to bat for members in several states who have been denied an emergency shelter grant because of faith-related positions they have taken. You’ll be hearing more about this.


Push for Charitable Tax Deduction Continues
Citygate Network, along with more than 4,000 other charitable organizations, has signed on a letter presented to Congress last week asking them to enact key measures to support faith-based and other nonprofits providing vital services across the nation. The letter urges an increase to the $300 cap on the CARES Act’s temporary charitable deduction for non-itemizing taxpayers and to extend it through at least 2021. Champions in the House and Senate have been working diligently to accomplish these goals and now hope to include it in the COVID relief package under negotiation. Although the letter has already been sent to Congress, you can still review it and add your signature here.


COVID Relief Bill Coming Soon?
A bipartisan group of congressional lawmakers continues to negotiate for legislation to attach to a spending bill in order to bring much-needed assistance to individuals and businesses whose livelihoods have suffered because of the pandemic. A summary of the most recent proposed Emergency COVID Relief Act is available here, breaking down the segments and amounts recommended for the $908 billion stimulus money, including unemployment, small business, transportation, testing and vaccine distribution, education, rental assistance, nutrition, addiction and mental health.


Denver Mattress Comes Through Again
For the 18th year in a row, Citygate Network members in cities where a franchise of Denver Mattress is located have benefited from a mattress drive run by the national organization. For every mattress sold during the month of November, the Denver-based retailer donates $15 to member missions and ministries in cities where they do business around the country. Once again, they sold enough mattresses in 2020 to meet the $150,000 max again this year and will distribute $2,755 to all members in participating cities as a result. Citygate Network is grateful for the generosity of the Visser family and happy to be able to bring this program to our members.


Quiet Yourself for 45 Minutes to Join Next Tuesday’s Public Reading of Scripture
The two Citygate Network monthly sessions of this much-appreciated opportunity to “be still and know that [He] is God,” will take place on Tuesday, December 22nd. Don’t miss the chance to focus on several dramatic readings of God’s word, accompanied by sound effects with others who do what you do.
Click here to register for the early session which occurs at 7:00 a.m. Central and 8:00 a.m. Eastern.
Click here to register for the later session which occurs at 7:00 a.m. Pacific and 8:00 a.m. Mountain.


NAE Releases 2020 State of Giving Report
You might be curious about how 2020 donations received by your organization compare to other similar ministries. The National Evangelical Association (NAE) has compiled their findings in a report that unveils trends and includes a special section on the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Abuse Recovery Training for Your Staff
Citygate Network partner ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry Service) offers our members discounted training and certification on two valuable programs:

Her Journey is a 13-week course to train and equip those working with women who have suffered abuse. Learn more or sign up for the next online facilitator training beginning in January 2021.

ManKind is a faith-based program designed to help men understand controlling and abusive behaviors and work through the beliefs, views, and opinions behind them. (Prerequisite: Her Journey) Learn more or sign up for the next in-person training scheduled February 22-26, 2021, in Birmingham, Alabama.


Looking Down the Street

  • Downtown Rescue Mission (Huntsville, Alabama) recently held a ribbon cutting for their new transitional housing for women. Debi’s House has subsequently opened to provide a home for recent graduates of their 12-month Life Transformation Program, allowing the women to continue their recovery, build their savings, and reintegrate into society.
  • Mel Trotter Ministries (Grand Rapids, Michigan) spent four months building a coalition with another ministry, a business owner, and the city and county governments to secure a large overflow building for additional winter shelter. MTM will provide all staffing and services. What a great example of public, private and nonprofit sector collaboration!
  • Co-founder of Souls Harbour Rescue Mission (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Ken Porter has published a book called Souls Harbour: Stories from Souls Harbour Rescue Mission. The collection of short stories chronicles the work Ken and his mission CEO wife, Michelle have done in that field over the last 30 years. Currently available within Canada at www.indigo.ca, you will soon be able to order it through Kindle and Audible for $19.97.

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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Sheltersuits for Those Experiencing Homelessness
Dutch designer, Bas Timmer created a wind and waterproof jacket, called the Sheltersuit, after meeting a homeless woman in Cape Town, South Africa in 2014. Since then, Timmer’s Sheltersuit Foundation has distributed 12,000 such suits free of charge to people experiencing homelessness in the Netherlands; Greece; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Scotland; and London, as well as New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and a few other U.S. cities. The Sheltersuit comes with a sleeping bag that attaches to the lower edge of the jacket, providing full-body protection against the elements. Made of high-quality, donated tent fabric, the exterior covers an inside lined with old sleeping bags. Since the pandemic has made the need for shelter space more acute, some shelter facilities have requested the suits to give out to those they cannot accommodate due to social distancing protocols. Currently, operating out of two manufacturing facilities in the Netherlands and Cape Town, the foundation is exploring partnerships in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.


Interfaith Network Builds Tiny Home Community for Youth
In January 2021, the nation’s first tiny house village for homeless youth will open on a previously drab concrete lot in the shadow of Oakland Coliseum. It represents the first such community for homeless youth, built by the homeless youth themselves. With colorful planters for gardens and trees, a fence incorporating hundreds of individual prayers and messages, two large yurts, and a total of 26 tiny homes, this ambitious project is spearheaded by Youth Spirit Artworks (YSA), an interfaith arts-therapy support network for homeless youth in Berkeley, California. It represents the culmination of four years of networking between more than 32 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations, 1,700 volunteers, $1.2 million in donations, and hundreds of hours of community and city meetings. For youth, a quick intervention to stable housing can make the difference between a lifetime of homelessness and getting back into school and a safe living situation.
Consider: Does your organization create a safe and supportive environment for this vulnerable population?


CBPP Announces New President
The Board of Directors of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a research and policy institute that informs and shapes federal and state policies to reduce poverty, promote equity, and build opportunity, announced that it has named Sharon Parrott as the organization’s next president, beginning January 1, 2021. Parrott has held several positions at the Center over a span of almost three decades and also served at the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Obama Administration. She will succeed founder Robert Greenstein, who established the Center in 1981 and has served as its chief executive ever since.
Consider: As local and national administrations transition following recent elections and retirements, it will be important to build relationships and alliances with new community and state leaders.

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Study Gives Encouraging News About Donor Allegiance
A new Classy report demonstrates resiliency among American donors in spite of a challenging year. Forbes reports on the third annual Why America Gives survey of 1,000 Americans over the age of 18 which found generational disparities in the ways people give, but also an admirable willingness by donors to continue to support nonprofits of all kinds. Health-focused organizations overtook disaster relief as the number one recipient of donations with 46 percent, followed by 34 percent for disaster relief, which ranked at the top in 2018 and 2019. Overall, 24 percent of respondents said they planned to give more this year, with 32 percent of Generation-Xers indicating the highest likelihood of contributing more. Not quite half of all respondents said they would keep their giving steady in 2020, and only 17 percent thought they would probably give less this year. Thirty percent of respondents have participated in a virtual fundraiser since the beginning of the pandemic, with those in Generation-X also leading the way in this category showing 48 percent participation, more than 12 percent ahead of Millennials and Generation-Z.
Consider: Do your year-end appeals take these younger generations into consideration?


More Americans Have Needed Emergency Housing Than Ever Before
The Red Cross reports that American families have spent more time in their emergency lodging than any year on record. More than one million times this year, a person in the U.S. has relied on disaster housing, which is more than four times the annual average from 2011 to 2019. With wildfires devastating nearly 14 million acres in the western U.S. and the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season producing 30 tropical storms, disaster assistance had to get a little creative this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the humanitarian aid organization opened emergency shelters for large-scale disasters, they had to implement Coronavirus safety precautions like masks, sanitizers, and social distancing. The pandemic has also made dealing with back-to-back disasters exponentially more difficult because fewer volunteers could fly in to help. Much of the relief took place virtually, including mental health and financial support. In spite of those limitations, the Red Cross welcomed more than 70,000 volunteers in 2020, including >35,000 millennials and Gen-Zers.

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Canadian Provinces Considering Ways to Encourage Vaccination
Ontarians who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine when it's available could face restrictions, according to the province's health minister. Although the vaccine will not be mandatory in Ontario, things like travel and access to community spaces could be restricted. Government documentation would allow people to prove they have received the vaccine and could prove "essential" in the months to come. While no one can be forced to vaccinate, mandatory proof of immunization in some settings may limit what those who chose not to comply can participate in, including access to long-term care facilities and even attendance in schools.


Canadians Seeking Shelter on Public Transportation
Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has not seen the usual number of streetcar riders. With the increased space available, people without homes have taken to setting up shelters on streetcars, subways, and buses in an attempt to get out of the elements. Photos posted on social media show clothes hanging from railings and scattered around the seats blocked off for social distancing. The TTC works closely with the city to help refer these individuals to appropriate shelters and support services, including organizations like Streets to Homes, the United Way, and Fred Victor, a charitable organization offering programs and services to those experiencing homelessness. CEO Keith Hambly believes there needs to be a better-coordinated effort between all these different organizations to work towards housing solutions for the more than 100,000 individuals on the streets of Toronto on any given night.

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Biden Chooses Several Minority Cabinet Members
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Xavier Becerra to fill Dr. Ben Carson’s role as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for his administration. Becerra, currently the Democratic attorney general of California would be the first Latino to run the department, earning his reputation on the issues of criminal justice and immigration. He has also been at the forefront of legal efforts regarding health care and would lead the department during a critical juncture in the pandemic, if confirmed. Biden has also nominated Army General Lloyd Austin, the former commander of US Central Command, to serve as his secretary of defense. If confirmed, Austin would be the first black man to lead that department and one of the most prominent members of the incoming administration. His selection would require a special waiver since his active-duty military service only ended four years ago, rather than the required seven years. Biden is also expected to nominate Rep. Marcia Fudge as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, adding another African American, and woman, to his Cabinet.


LA Rams Players Collaborate on Behalf of Social Justice
Early in December, one NFL team collaborated to collect $750,000 for select nonprofits who focus their efforts on social justice all over the greater Los Angeles region. LA Rams players chose to pool resources and give their monies to 25 organizations working to promote long-term, systemic change, including Place Called Home; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles; St. Joseph Center; Covenant House; HomeLight Family Living; LA Family Housing; LAPD Community Safety Partnership; and Los Angeles Room and Board. Each nonprofit shared with the team information about their work, those they serve, and how the money could assist them in accomplishing their goals. Motivated and inspired by their commitments to social justice, the players rewarded each organization with donations between $20,000 and $50,000.

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Market Street

Accounting Online Adjunct Faculty, City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Addiction Counseling Online Adjunct Faculty, Techmission/City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Admin Assistant (Remote Work) Paid MBA Fellowship, City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Ambassador (Major Gift Officer), Water Street Mission, Lancaster, PA

Bookkeeper, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY 

Business Development/Partnerships Director: remote, City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Business Director, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, Indio, CA

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

Controller, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

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

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

Culinary Food Truck and Catering Instructor, Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, OR

Custodian, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Development Director, Home of Grace, Vancleave, MS

Development Manager, Bread of Life Mission, Seattle, WA

Development/Fundraising Online Adjunct Faculty, City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Director of Development, Reno-Sparks Gospel Mission, Reno, NV

Director of Operations, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Director of Recovery Programs, Waterfront Rescue Mission, Inc., Pensacola, FL

Director, Lifespring Ministries, Wayside Cross Ministries, Aurora, IL

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

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

Empowerment Coach / Case Manager, New Life Mission, Melbourne, FL

Executive Director, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Executive Director, Geauga Faith Rescue Mission, Chardon, OH

Executive Director, Union Gospel Mission, Portland, OR

Facilities Manager, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

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

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

Health and Wellness Nurse, Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, OR

Homeless Shelter Manager, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, Philadelphia, PA

Maintenance Technician, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Major Gifts Officer, St. Matthew's House, Naples, FL

Major Gifts Officer, Union Rescue Mission, Wichita, KS

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

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

Online Marketing Coordinator (remote work), City Vision University, Kansas City, MO

Outreach Specialist (Seattle Area), Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

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 Team Member, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Search and Rescue Specialist, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Security Team, 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 People Services, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

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

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

Women's Recovery Counselor (CADC I), Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, OR

Women's Transition Specialist (Live-In), Portland Rescue Mission, Portland, OR

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Have you ever stopped to think how many times we read about interruptions in the Bible? In Numbers 22, the donkey interrupted Balaam’s journey, in Exodus, the burning bush interrupted Moses’ routine. A violent storm and large fish interrupted Jonah’s escape. A voice in the night interrupted Samuel’s rest. A haircut interrupted Samson’s calling. Forty years of wandering interrupted the Israelites possession of the promised land. The list goes on, but particularly of interest during the Christmas season, what about the angel and the newborn who interrupted Mary’s engagement and plans?

2020 has certainly brought its share of interruptions to our daily lives and habits. Whether you have experienced an interruption in your job or financial situation, your interactions or your health, your plans or your anxiety level, I can assure you that none of these circumstances has surprised God. He has a well-earned reputation for accomplishing His purposes in unexpected ways, and you can count on the fact that He always has good intentions for you and your development, not only in spite of the interruptions, but often as a result of them.

Embrace the curveballs. Don’t bury your head in the sand or run away in the hopes that the unexpected challenges will go away. Instead, ask the Lord what you can learn and how you can grow through the interruptions.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us—they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady.
Romans 5:3-4 TLB

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.