Helping Hands Reentry Outreach Centers announced a ribbon cutting ceremony for invited guests and members of the press at its Lincoln City Hope Center on November 1, 2023 at 10a.m. The property is at 3454 NE Hwy 101.
Behind the subdued exterior of the building lies a myriad of beds, offices and services to help raise people out of homelessness.
In a Lincoln City Homepage exclusive interview, Facility Director Ashley Cushing spoke to me about the facility and gave me a private early tour.
According to Cushing, “The men’s and women’s emergency shelters will be ‘low barrier’ meaning there will be no Urinalysis (UA)/drug testing. They can come in and be here anywhere from one night to thirty days. We can extend that if it makes sense. Maybe someone will be waiting on a treatment bed or relocation or an apartment.”
She continued, “If they join our program we are putting them up in our top building (for women) and men would stay in this building.
Men’s re-entry is all in the same building. They can stay six to twelve months but we’re not asking them to leave if they are taking steps toward self sufficiency. That could be pushing two years-if it really took that long.
Before we ask anyone to leave we want to really ask ourselves, ‘is this going to make someone homeless?'”
The facility was bright and clean sporting fresh paint jobs and all new equipment with Cushing continually apologizing for the “mess” of renovation while they were getting ready for the grand opening. Her excitement and enthusiasm for the program was as obvious as the bright yellow exterior paint job
There is a communal kitchen and dining room for residents to cook their own meals. Currently, all foods on site have been donated by Food Share.
The facility also has clothes washers and dryer for clients to clean their clothing. And multiple showers for personal hygiene.
As to what is asked of the residents in order to continue living at Hope, Cushing said,
“When they join the ‘program’ we need to get a clean UA. We have program requirements so case management can create an individualized re-entry program plan. We help them get documentation they might need like a Social Security card, driver’s license, birth certificate, etc…to help them start applying for housing.
We also help everyone here get a food handlers card. We have workshops that are required, self improvement classes. We will host things here on site and we will have outside agencies come in to teach classes from recovery to financial empowerment to parenting-it could even be an art class. We want to keep people busy.”
I asked if the residents will be asked to contribute anything to their upkeep. Cushing said,
“When they join the program they pay a ‘Due.’ A ‘Due’ is two hundred and fifty dollars per month. We don’t turn anyone away if they don’t have it; we have scholarships.”
She continued, “We have other funding streams we can look at like OHP (Oregon Health Plan) Flex funding, outside agencies will help support or they (the client) can help fund their own stay.
It’s really so that people are invested in themselves, are having on-time’ payments again. That gives us the ability to give a rental reference.
We don’t want to create barriers to entering the program.”
I asked if there were any other requirements of the clients while staying on site;
“There are volunteer hours. If they are not employed or only working part time-it’s ten hours. If they work full time-it’s five hours. They can get their hours here or at an outside non-profit-their choice.”
According to Communications Manager Bethany Verrett,
“This facility seeks to provide navigation services, low-barrier emergency shelter, and a long-term Re-entry Program for the people in the community experiencing homelessness.”
Cushing said, “I’m so excited to be opening up the doors to the Lincoln City Hope Center.
There can be many challenges living in a rural community but having a safe place to sleep should not be one of them. We plan to offer services that are targeted to the population that we serve; by partnerships with several local programs that will be able to refer individuals and families to our emergency shelter.
I want to personally thank everyone who believes in our mission. We are so thankful for past, present, and future support!”
Communications Manager Bethany Verrett continued,
“Helping Hands first opened a facility in Lincoln County in 2006, opening up a men’s shelter and later a women’s shelter. In 2019, the opportunity to partner with the community in a closer way presented itself when the City of Lincoln City identified homelessness as a critical priority and offered to purchase a facility to donate to Helping Hands.
The property was transferred to Helping Hands in 2020.
After extensive renovations, the newest Hope Center is open and ready to bring care for the individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Lincoln City and the surrounding communities.
CEO Mike Davis offered, “This has been a long and difficult project to finish because of many unanticipated needs that had to be addressed, The community partnership has been a key part of getting us to this day.
Thank you to The City of Lincoln City, The Roundhouse Foundation, Project Turnkey 2.0, and the Oregon Community Foundation; your support allowed us to make the necessary renovations.”
Verrett said, “There will be a Grand Opening for community partners and stakeholders before the end of November, and then the Hope Center will begin accepting referrals, processing intakes, and providing services.
For more information about Helping Hands Reentry Outreach Centers, you can visit our website at www.helpinghandsreentry.org.
To learn more about becoming a referral partner for the Lincoln City Hope Center, please email [email protected]