You can make this happen with your tax-deductible donation!

Are you troubled by the lack of support and resources available to unsheltered individuals in our community? Are you searching for a way to help? You can join with Nightingale Public Advocacy Collective (NPAC) as we launch a peer support specialist training project which will provide skills and support to 45 volunteers currently working to find solutions for those struggling with homelessness or housing insecurity.

Through the hard work of activists and their allies, Eugene has seen the adoption of model programs for our unhoused neighbors: Opportunity Village Eugene and the rest stops (tent camps) of Community Supported Shelter and Nightingale Health Sanctuary. While other groups focus on new sites, zoning changes, and tiny house models, NPAC’s focus is on the development of skills to strengthen the ability of individuals and sites to self-govern by offering free peer support specialist training.

By supporting this project you can increase the effectiveness of ongoing outreach and help spread tools of empowerment throughout the community. As people are empowered they are better able to join with others so that the voices and ideas of those most affected are heard and resources are committed to address our community’s housing crisis. We also believe this added capacity among activists and supporters of our unhoused neighbors will allow for the creation of additional safe, supportive places for people to sleep and store their belongings.

The response has been great. We already have 30 applicants eager to take the training. Almost all of our applicants have experienced homelessness, and nearly half are currently unhoused. On average, our applicants are putting in 25 volunteer hours per week providing direct support to the unhoused in our community with organizations such as Community Supported Shelters, Opportunity Village Eugene, Nightingale Health Sanctuary, and Occupy Medical.

The training will be provided by ProjectABLE, of Salem, using an Oregon Health Authority approved curriculum. ProjectABLE has trained over 500 peer support specialists throughout the state since 2010. Classes are interactive and cover a variety of topics centering on the needs of the unhoused such as: Community Engagement; Mental Health Recovery; Self-Determination; Partnerships; Person-Centered Planning; Strengths-Based Healing; Cultural Awareness; Trauma Informed Services; Mutuality; Compassionate Interaction; Listening to Hear; Barriers to Effective Communication; Ethics and Confidentiality; Documentation; and Wellness & Self Care.

NPAC plans to offer three separate classes for 15 individuals. The first 40-hour class will be in early June. In addition to strengthening the skills of participants who currently volunteer their services to the community, NPAC is exploring ways to provide opportunities to work part-time hours. We expect the need for peer support specialists to increase. Several local agencies currently hire peer support specialists, and Eugene is moving forward with projects such as the Community Court.

Our budget for this project is $24,050. Of that, $22,050 will be spent on hiring ProjectABLE to train three classes of 15 people ($410 per person plus travel and lodging for the presenters). The remainder will be used to host mini-trainings and events that bring the peer support specialists together. NPAC will also invite all trainees to take part in an annual planning process to set organizational goals for 2017 and 2018 as the organization continues to seek ways to affect advocacy on issues impacting the civil rights of those unhoused.

You can make this happen with your tax-deductible donation. You can send a check (this is the best method for us as no fees will be deducted) to NPAC, PO Box 1556, Springfield OR 97477. Or you can click on “Donate” at our website RespectExistence.org.

You can sponsor two training positions for the price of one! Our generous supporter Helen Shepard has pledged to match the first ten donations of $500. You can sponsor one training position for half-price! Our generous supporter Dianne Cunningham has pledged to match the first ten donations of $250.

Please take a moment and consider which of your friends may support this project and share this information with them. Small donations add up and are every bit as appreciated! Our first class is scheduled to start June 1st and we trust our generous community will step up with the funding.  

Questions? Contact the project’s volunteer coordinator, Mary Broadhurst, at 541-285-4614, NightingaleCollective@gmail.org.

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