January 20, 2017
Almost 2 years ago in our email newsletter, we asked the question, “Is the Mission hurting our community?” It was the most read email in the Mission’s history and remains so to this day. As we walk through the door of 2017, a lot has changed, but for some the “fake news” that the Mission is hurting our community continues. I want to begin this year by asking a different question, “Is the Mission helping our community.” Obviously, I believe it is, but what about you? What about your neighbor, your colleagues, your friends? What do they believe? We still hear the rumors that we’re contributing to, rather than solving, the homeless problems locally. We still hear the false rumors about big government contracts to bring homeless here. Just this week I responded to a social media post where someone had heard that the Mission had received a $1 million grant to transport homeless to Redding from San Francisco. This is FALSE and has been circulating for over 10 years. We maintain a web page that addresses this and nearly 30 other rumors and have posted dozens of facts on social media which can be found via #gnrmFACTS. This year I want to start 2017 by providing you with some TRUE information about what we what God is achieving through the dedication and support of thousands of donors, hundreds of volunteers and about 2 and half dozen staff. First, does Shasta County have a homeless problem? YES. Is it created or exacerbated by the Mission? Absolutely NOT. In the last 8 years, our area has seen the likes of “The Great Recession”, a prescription drug epidemic, a heroin epidemic, pot legalization, and the early release of over 800 prisoners to our community…challenging issues to say the least. So what is the Mission doing in the midst of all this – we’re providing Christ-centered solutions. For starters, we created our “Guests Giving Back” program, a program that allows our guests to volunteer for community projects. In its first full year, our guests, that is, your homeless neighbors, helped clean over 100,000 pounds of trash from illegal camps, local waterways and both public and private property. In addition, they assisted numerous organizations and events by helping with parking, graffiti abatement and numerous other productive activities. This program restores dignity and purpose to those guests who may have lost hope or need to rediscover their God-given value. Next, we started the Journey Home program on Christmas Eve 2014. Since that time we’ve helped roughly 200 people relocate to other communities where they were reunited with family, found employment or gained access to other assistance otherwise not available to them here. Think about that. More than 200 people are no longer utilizing our local government and charitable resources, but instead have moved on to start a more productive life elsewhere. We’re grateful to supporters like local businessman Joe Wong and the Patricia L. Kimball Endowment Fund at the Shasta Regional Community Foundation for helping us get this program up and running. With help from them and others, the program just celebrated its 2 year anniversary. And, in April of 2016, we celebrated the Grand Opening of our Victory House, the new facility for our Women’s New Life addiction recovery program. This much needed program expansion now provides 36 beds and a free, but rigorous eighteen month residential recovery program to help women break the cycle of addiction. What’s unique about our program is that we work closely with Child and Family Services and the Judiciary and where appropriate, help reunite mothers with their children, even allowing them to live here with their mothers while they complete the program. We teach Mom positive parenting programs (Triple P), behavioral management and a host of other life and job skills to ensure they can lead a healthy productive life moving forward. This is where the cycles of addiction are broken, not only for Mom, but for her children as well. A huge thanks to the nearly 400 donors who have contributed so far and to Redding Bank of Commerce for their sponsorship of the AHP grant that has made the Building Hope projects possible. And, as we look forward to 2017, more great things are ahead. We’re nearing completion of the renovations to our House of Hope, the second phase of our Building Hope campaign. We’re exploring several key initiatives that could be a turning point for our community and the health of people in poverty. We’ll be releasing a more detailed annual report soon, so stay tuned. And, we’re always open to questions and suggestions, so, please don’t be afraid to contact us at 530-242-5920 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May God richly bless you in 2017 and beyond.
In His Service,
Posted, Friday April 24, 2015
On Wednesday, April 22nd, I sat down with Record Searchlight Reporter, Joe Sydlowski for a Redding.com “live-chat” to discuss topics about the Mission that have been in the news lately. I am grateful to Joe and the staff at the Redding Record Searchlight for their invitation and the opportunity to address so many of the issues affecting our community. I am also grateful for the opportunity God has given us at Good News Rescue Mission to offer solutions to these issues. You can view the recording below and also at the Redding Record Searchlight’s YouTube channel. We are grateful to the thousands of supporters and hundreds of volunteers who join us each year in this difficult but rewarding work. If you haven’t already done so, I’d encourage you to also join us as we present the gospel, provide the tangible love of Christ to our neighbors in need and break the cycle of poverty in our community.
Jonathan Anderson, Executive Director
Posted, Friday, February 27, 2015
The recent dialogue on crime in our city has brought with it a lot of scrutiny for the Mission and our work. I have received messages from respected people in our community, some strongly critical of the Mission and others angry at the criticism leveled against us. I have listened to and value every comment, every compliment and every concern. This dialogue has allowed me to see our city and its poor through the eyes of others and brought fresh perspectives to our team here at GNRM. Many in our community have asked me to respond – particularly those closest to the Mission. Let me say this. We have examined our policies and practices, and the recent community discussion has provided us with the opportunity to change some of those policies to make sure we are doing the very best we can for our community.
In order to better serve our neighbors and strive toward helping others break the cycle of poverty; the Good News Rescue Mission has taken a proactive approach in partnering with local enforcement. On a weekly basis we run every person on the Shasta Most Wanted list through our electronic records in an effort to help law enforcement track down the criminally active and hold them accountable for their negative behaviors in our community. If a person from that list is found to have been receiving services, law enforcement will be contacted if they again come to the Mission.
We have great incentive programs to keep people off the streets, breaking their own cycles of poverty and we have implemented similar and very strict policies to keep away others who are criminally active and those who don’t want the help. One example: Any of our guests caught loitering, stealing a shopping cart, panhandling, etc. will also have an alert placed on their electronic record here and not receive any services until they speak with our case management team to address their negative behaviors. If they are willing to work toward changing those behaviors and breaking their cycle of poverty, then we may give them services. If they are unwilling, then they will be denied our services. We are here for those who want and need the help, we are not here to be enablers.
It is Mission’s goal to be a benefit to the community, and I have no doubt that we are, but some people do have doubts, and we respect that. We are not afraid of criticism. In fact, we welcome it. And, I want to thank those who have included the Mission in this discussion on crime, because it has and will continue to make us better. I would encourage anyone who has heard negative opinions about the Mission, or have formed some of their own, to take a tour and see first-hand what we do. If that’s not possible, please call or message us to verify what you’ve heard is true. Regardless, we welcome your comments as an opportunity to become better at being the hands and feet of Christ in our community. Lastly, let me say to everyone who has contributed their comments, their time or their financial or other resources, “Thank you and we appreciate you.”
Jonathan D. Anderson, Executive Director