CORVALLIS, Ore. — A homeless shelter is expanding its services to women and children thanks to a $35,000 grant.
Community Outreach is the only family shelter in town, and it will be able to offer more services to its transitional women and children shelter. The $35,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation will help the shelter provide additional day care services, medical and dental care, mental health treatment, and drug and alcohol treatment for residents.
“The message I’d love to send to Corvallis is that homelessness looks very, very different than what we’ve been led to believe that it looks like,” said Community Outreach Executive Director Kari Whitacre.
One resident at Community Outreach is Sandy McCulloch, infamous for wearing a sign around his neck for a period of time last year reading: “Wanted: A Wife.”
“I’m 83 and it was the first time I’d ever been in a jail. And when I came out, I didn’t have a place to stay,” McCulloch said.
McCulloch was arrested on assault charges, though he claims his charges have since been dropped. He spent over two weeks in the Benton County jail, but when he was released, he had already been kicked out of his apartment. He learned of Community Outreach, and was able to get a bed immediately.
“This place is probably the best I’ve ever seen in supplying help to people in need,” McCulloch said. “And the people in need here are a very heterogeneous bunch.”
Another face of homelessness.
“My kids are gone,” said resident Michelle Whipps. “My dad died, I had to move out of my place, so I went camping for a while. I had to move out of my house the same day my dad died.”
Whipps is currently working with a case worker provided through Community Outreach to try to gain custody of her children.
“We have 3 people with PhDs right now,” said Whitacre. “Probably half our clients are working, but they’re in a place where they don’t have a home.”
The latest grant will expand services to women and children in the transitional shelter.
“What keeps us going is those client stories,” Whitacre said. “That’s what helps us write those grants. Is knowing those lives that we’re changing. And the people we’re affecting and the importance of the work we do.”
Whitacre says she is grateful for the grant, but despite the $35,000 increase in funding, it’s not going to fulfill all of the need in Corvallis. Community Outreach is always accepting donations of food, blankets, pillows, hygiene items, and cash. A full list of recommended donation items is available by clicking here.