Winter Shelter Volunteer
Recruitment and Training Program
ACPC Support for the Unhoused in the Ashland Community
The Ashland Culture of Peace Commission (ACPC) has been supporting and working with those who are homeless and greatest at risk in our community since its launch on September 21, 2015. One of the initial calls to action was to go into the Ashland streets to be a positive influence for local residents business owners and people who were homeless or “travelers.”
A calmer and safer downtown street environment.
ACPC Peace Ambassadors were created for this purpose and reached out to fellow Ashlanders to engage in dialogue whether they were long-term residents, local unhoused individuals, Oregon Shakespeare Festival visitors or those just passing through. The Ambassadors listened to empower each person’s voice, so that all community members can be heard. Peace Ambassadors held listening circles and talking opportunities in public places inviting one-on-one and group discussions. This gave those who are homeless and young and old people a chance to be heard.
Mayor John Stromberg attends on of the ACPC listening circles
Ashland Winter Shelter
When the cold weather arrives the Ashland winter shelters are open for those without homes. But, they can only open with enough volunteers to provide the necessary assistance to keep the shelters open. For two years ACPC has organized and conducted the Winter Shelter Volunteer Recruitment and Training Program. This program is for finding new volunteers, providing volunteer training programs, and working with the Chamber of Commerce and community at large to assist understanding and support the volunteers and unhoused.
During the winter season ACPC accomplished the following:
Goal 1 – Recruitment
Increased volunteer attendance in orientation sessions by 223% over last year
Goal 2 – Training opportunities provided for volunteers
Shelter Host training programs
Health care and health issue identification programs
Goal 3 – Business Liaison
Organize a Ashland Chamber of Commerce visit to the winter shelter, 70 people attended – increase awareness, interest and support, additional volunteers stepped forward
Ashland now has a single shelter to provide for the homeless, the unhoused members of our community during the winter season which runs November 1 to March 31. In prior years the shelter nights rotated between different faith facilities and was a drop-in “first come – first served” model. The shelter has transitioned to a program in which 100% of shelter guests are pre-screened and set along a continuum of care path toward self-sufficiency. We now have a single site for seven nights a week sheltering
The OHRA (Options for Helping Residents of Ashland) Winter Shelter is a low barrier, “housing first” shelter and has an intake process which assesses the condition and needs of all unhoused participants known as guests. The priority goes people who are the most vulnerable and at risk and have the greatest need of sheltered support. This support now includes individual case management so the guests can achieve the best level of self-sufficiency possible. The volunteers benefit with the satisfaction of helping others in need and the Ashland community and the City of Ashland benefit by having the most vulnerable cared for and not relying on street life to survive.
The Ashland Winter Shelter can care for 45 guests, we have a list of approximately 200 volunteers who fluctuate as to availability, and the City of Ashland has approximately 22,000 community members. Everyone benefits from the Winter Shelter which would not exist without dedicated and prepared volunteers. The volunteers provide a welcoming, safe, and healthy environment in which the guests receive support and guidance to have the opportunity to move from crisis to stability. The dangers and compounding effects of homelessness are well known, and support of the Winter Shelter is a step toward the Culture of Peace.
Shelter listener training
Volunteer appreciation dinner in new shelter
Friends of a shelter guest inside the shelter