Volume 15, Number 8 | April 15, 2021 | www.citygatenetwork.org  

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This issue of Street Smart is sponsored by:



Citygate Network CEO Interviewed on National Radio
President John Ashmen was a guest this past Saturday on Ed Stetzer Live, a coast-to-coast program airing on the Moody Radio Network. This hour-long, call-in broadcast that boasts 150,000 listeners covered a lot of ground, from the history of city missions to their stellar work protecting homeless people throughout COVID to recent opportunities to help with unaccompanied minors at the southern border. In case you missed it, you can still hear a recording of the program.


CDC Encourages Citygate Network Members to Maintain Protocols
In a recent communication between Citygate Network and Dr. Emily Mosites of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we confirmed that all the familiar COVID prevention procedures need to remain in place for now. Dr. Mosites explained that COVID is still rising in 40 percent of U.S. counties, with none currently COVID free. Only seven percent of counties have seen declining numbers. The CDC expects to release updated protocols sometime in the next 10 days. Citygate Network will pass those along to members as soon as they are available.


Chauvin Verdict Could Spark Upheaval
With the potential for civil unrest after a verdict is reached in the George Floyd case, Citygate Network wants to remind you how to prepare, especially if you are located in an urban area. The basic principles from John Ashmen and Eric Bauer’s article, “Serving in Unsettling Times,” published in the January/February issue of Instigate, provides a great overview on how to maintain order and protect your staff, guests, and assets. It might be a good time for your leadership team to review that.


California Opening is Good News for CEO Summit
According to a story in The New York Times, San Diego hotels and other businesses will fully reopen on June 15. Even though mask wearing will still be required in some settings, the meeting industry is rejoicing over this news. Our June 22–24 CEO Summit will benefit from this development. This popular event, featuring Ed Stetzer, John Pearson, and many others, is already half full. If you are the top leader at your mission/ministry, check out the program and join the all-important discussions at the Island Palms Hotel and Marina on Shelter Island in San Diego Bay. By the way, this would make a great location for a family getaway—and we do offer a spouse rate.


We Want Your Stories!
What good is a “network” if you keep all your news to yourself? With so many things going on within our membership, Citygate Network wants to share the happenings with the world! Consider this an invitation to submit your reports and announcements for inclusion in Citygate Network’s online News or Member Spotlight, social media, or even in our award-winning Instigate magazine. For more information or to submit your stories to our Director of Communications, e-mail Marvin Harrell.


Regional Huddles Coming Soon
Several Citygate Network districts have begun planning local get-togethers as winter gives way to spring and summer. Some of the locations include Indiana, New York, California, West Virginia, and South Carolina. Keep an eye on the calendar on our website so you will know when an event near you has been scheduled.


ARMS and Mankind Training Events
Citygate Network continues to partner with ARMS (Abuse Recovery Ministry Services) in order to bring our members a discounted rate to register for the Abuse Recovery certificate program. This course prepares you to facilitate the nationally recognized abuse and violence recovery program called Her Journey. Once you have completed this course, register to attend ManKind, an abuse intervention program designed to help men take accountability for their behavior and address the areas that inform those patterns. 


Looking Down the Street

  • Jason Christensen will officially step into the CEO position at Union Gospel Mission (Portland, Oregon) on May 1st. Bill Russell will retire after more than 22 years at the helm. Send an e-mail of appreciation to Bill for his years of service to the hungry, homeless, abused, and addicted, and another to welcome Jason on board. 
  • With the support of the city and numerous generous donors, Denver Rescue Mission (Denver, Colorado) upgraded its Lawrence Street Shelter to provide a new ramp and elevator that make the building ADA compliant. They also renovated the basement, bathrooms, and laundry facilities, and added a new HVAC system and new beds.
  • The True Charity Initiative, a branch of Watered Gardens Ministries (Joplin, Missouri), announced that they will live stream their annual True Charity Summit on May 19th. The “Reclaiming Justice” theme will focus nonprofit and policy leaders on an exploration of the modern social justice movement and its implications for poverty alleviation efforts. Learn more and sign up here.
  • The Kelowna Gospel Mission (Kelowna, British Columbia) had established a temporary emergency shelter and just received approval to continue to serve their 90 guests for at least the next few months. For more details, read the full story in the 49th Street section below.
  • Rev. Andy Bales of Union Gospel Mission (Los Angeles, California) recently wrote an Op-ed decrying the city’s handling of its homeless. “Ultimately, we need a FEMA-like response to create temporary housing options for people. … If not, people will continue dying on our streets and more neighborhoods will be taken over because there’s nowhere for a growing homeless population to go.”

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

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New Homeless Report Released
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released their Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress in two parts. Part 1 provides Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates, offering a snapshot of homelessness—both sheltered and unsheltered—on a single night. This single-night count is conducted during the last 10 days of January each year and provides a PIT count to estimate the number of people experiencing homelessness. This year’s findings show that 2020 was the first year since data collection began that more individuals experiencing homelessness were unsheltered than sheltered. The number of individuals with chronic patterns of homelessness increased by 15 percent between 2019 and 2020. Download the full report here.
Consider: Stay tuned for the Citygate Network 2021 Annual Snapshot Survey report available to participating members in the next few weeks.


Billy Graham Rapid Response Team Ready to Deploy
In response to the Daunte Wright shooting in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, chaplains will be sent out to provide emotional and spiritual care as early as this week. Among those on the team will be Ken Dunlap, manager of deployment and peer support, who also served in Minneapolis last year after George Floyd’s death. “We’re going in the name of Jesus, but we’re going prayerfully, and we’re going in His wisdom. His promises call us to be a calming influence one life at a time, one prayer at a time, and one day at a time.” Remember the Minneapolis community, the Wright family, and law enforcement officers in your prayers.


Despite Litigation, Eviction Moratorium Extended
Even as the administration rolled out another extension to the federal moratorium on evictions, many believe the country’s reckoning with its eviction crisis may be closer than initially thought. Increased litigation raises anxiety for those in danger of losing their homes and landlords’ burdens from needing to receive income from renters. Six lawsuits have made their way before federal judges—with three ruling in support of the ban and three calling it illegal. Even with the $46.5 billion in emergency rental aid recently approved, quick and efficient disbursement of funds is not straightforward. We will continue to keep an eye on these developments and report back with our findings.
Consider: You can still provide information to new or existing clients by downloading the National Eviction Moratorium FAQ PDF.


President Biden’s Stimulus Bill to Target Homelessness
Intending to get 130,000 people off the street in the next 12–18 months, Housing Secretary Marcia Fudge unveiled $5 billion in new grants for states and local governments across the country. These grants could provide rental assistance, expansion of affordable housing, and additional services to help people struggling with homelessness. Unfortunately, the faith-based organizations that do not take government money have limited opportunity for engagement in this plan. The infusion of money is part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package that President Biden signed last month and is an example of the administration’s intentions for the American Rescue Plan to enact a sweeping anti-poverty agenda in the midst of the pandemic.

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COVID-19 Continues to Morph
Variant strains of the Coronavirus are actively affecting the next phase of planning in the U.S. A variation originating in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) is currently responsible for 27 percent of all cases in the United States. Two other strains first appearing in South Africa and Brazil are also appearing more frequently throughout the U.S. It is critical to keep up with vaccination protocols to beat these new strains. David Ho, whose leads research on the Brazilian P.1 variant, states, “The sooner we vaccinate everyone, the faster we will contain the viral spread and reduce the chance for new variants to emerge.”


Federal Food Assistance Set to Expand Significantly
The New York Times posted an article on Easter Sunday, reporting the “profound change” that nutrition programs have provided to families dealing with hunger. With studies showing that one in 10 households lacks enough food to eat, the Biden administration is accelerating a massive campaign targeting hunger relief, increasing food assistance by tens of billions of dollars, helping to establish and “expand the safety net” for hungry families. A recent Census Bureau survey found that 8.4 percent of adults said their households “sometimes” lacked enough to eat over the previous week alone, and 2.3 percent said they “often” did. That translates into 23 million hungry adults, plus millions of children. The effort to push food assistance is notable for the scale and variety of legislation and administrative actions.
Consider: You could still join the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and get your mission or ministry listed as a hub or POD to help distribute food to the hungry. 

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Another Stay-At-Home Order Issued in Ontario
The government of Ontario has declared the third state of emergency amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Doug Ford, Ontario Premier, announced the latest developments. “The situation is evolving rapidly, hour by hour,” Ford said. “We just need to hunker down right now, and we need to limit mobility. ... I know this is tough on businesses, but I promise we will continue to have your backs.” As long as the federal government follows through on the forecast of vaccine allocations, 40 percent of adults will be able to get vaccinated by the time the stay-at-home order is lifted.


Temporary Homeless Shelter Stays Open
As clashes over emergency shelters endure in South Okanagan, the City of Kelowna has moved to allow one of its newest temporary shelters to stay in place, for now. In December, the Kelowna Gospel Mission—a Citygate Network member—opened a facility in a building formerly occupied by the Kelowna Daily Courier newspaper. As B.C. Housing stated, “This will enable a combined 90 people to continue accessing a secure, safe, physically distanced, and warm space over the coming months.”

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First African American Man Promoted to Full Professor at University of Idaho
Dr. Sydney Freeman, Jr. recently became a full professor of Adult, Organizational Learning, and Leadership at the University of Idaho. The first male descendant of slaves accomplished this goal in about half the time it usually takes. In his post about this achievement on social media, Freeman reiterated, “It matters to black students and students of color and to white students to know that excellence, in particular black excellence, can look like someone who looks like me.” It is Dr. Freeman’s hope that his journey will spark an ongoing conversation about the importance of hiring and keeping faculty of color in higher academia.


Wisconsin Ramps Up Efforts to Vaccinate People of Color
With all residents 16 and older now eligible for immunization against COVID-19, medical providers, community groups, and health officials are redoubling their efforts to ensure racial and ethnic minorities have much-needed access to the vaccine. The disparities in the availability of vaccinations follow the trend of how COVID-19 has impacted communities of color. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, chief diversity officer at U.W. Health, shares, “There’s a huge need to create this kind of access. The end game is for everybody to be at that community immunity rate (of vaccination). We want every community to be at 60–80 percent.”

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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

Assistant Teacher, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, AZ

Associate Director of Major Donor Engagement, Shepherd's House Ministries, Bend, OR

Bookkeeper, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Bookkeeper, Fairbanks Rescue Mission, Fairbanks, AK

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

Case Manager, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, AZ

Chaplain/Case Manager, Union Gospel Mission, Dallas, TX

Chief Financial Officer, Los Angeles Mission, Los Angeles, CA

Chief Program Officer, Rockford Rescue Mission, Rockford, IL

Clinical Director, Denver Rescue Mission, Denver, CO

Controller, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Cook, Mel Trotter Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI

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

Culinary Kitchen Supervisor, Mel Trotter Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI

Custodian, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Dental Assistant/Hygienist, Mel Trotter Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI

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

Director of Development, Rescue Mission Alliance, Oxnard, CA

Director of Development, Mel Trotter Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI

Director of Operations, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Director of Operations, Brunswick Christian Recovery Center, Ash, NC

Director of Operations, Rescue Mission Alliance, Oxnard, CA

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

Donor Engagement Specialist, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Executive Chef, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Executive Director, Fairhaven Rescue Mission, Covington, KY

Executive Director, Geauga Faith Rescue Mission, Chardon, OH

Executive Director, G.I.F.T.S. Men's Shelter, Janesville, WI

Facilities Manager, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

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

Food Service Manager, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

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

Hope Thrift Boutique Manager, HOPE Rescue Mission, Missoula, MT

Human Resources Recruiter, Mel Trotter Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI

Intake Specialist, Mel Trotter Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI

Jr. Staff Accountant, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Kitchen Manager, Bread of Life Mission, Holbrook, AZ

Lead Teacher, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, AZ

Leadership Giving Officer, Mid-Level Giving, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, AZ

LPN/RN, Mel Trotter Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI

Maintenance Technician, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Major Gifts Officer, Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission, Philadelphia, PA

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

Marketing Specialist, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

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

Program Administrator (Men's Recovery Program), Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Program Specialist, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, AZ

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

Security Team, Open Door Mission, Glens Falls, NY

Senior Director of Facilities, Helping Up Mission, Inc., Baltimore, MD

Senior Director of Women and Children's Ministries, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Shelter Manager, Open Door Mission, Rochester, NY

Sr. Gift Processing Manager, Central Union Mission, Washington, DC

Street Outreach Case Manager Assistant, Phoenix Rescue Mission, Phoenix, AZ

>Vice President - Operations, Los Angeles Mission, Los Angeles, CA

Vice President of People Services, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

Vice President of Program Ministries, Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, Seattle, WA

VP of Men's Services, Atlanta Mission, Atlanta, GA

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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Riding Shotgun

I am a “make a plan and live by the plan” type of person. I have a to-do list, a contact list, and a timeline for most things that I get involved with, both professionally and personally. Sometimes I even stop and add the thing I just did to my to-do list, just so I can cross it off!

Maybe you can relate to that kind of hyper-structured planning. Internal discipline and drive can move your goals forward in steady and sure ways. Checking the boxes and taking the next step helps us implement and execute the dreams and plans in our hearts and minds.

But instead of focusing on my own plan, shouldn’t I constantly be tuning in to God’s plan for my time, energy, and action steps? I tend to get very absorbed by my own goals rather than listening to how He is leading me. I waste a lot of time spinning my wheels, trying to push something forward that was meant to wait. Sitting in prayer and silence helps to balance my need to control everything on my own. At the proper time, in His time, we reap the harvest. Slowing down can allow me to invite others along on the adventure, which increases my joy in participating in a larger community of people.

God does have a plan for you to live out a life of purpose, and He will certainly expect you to take practical steps of engagement to execute those plans; but in your eagerness to move forward, don’t take over with your own agenda.

Trust in the Lord completely,
and do not rely on your own opinions.
With all your heart rely on him to guide you,
and he will lead you in every decision you make.

Proverbs 3:5 (TPT)

Written by Ann Ebbert and used with permission of Cherry Street Mission Ministries.

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.