Central City Concern

Providing comprehensive solutions to ending homelessness
and achieving self-sufficiency.

5,000 Covered and Counting!

Apr 28, 2016

This week, Central City Concern hit an exciting health insurance milestone. As of April 21, 2016, Central City Concern Outreach Specialists have helped more than 5,000 people enroll in the Oregon Health Plan or other affordable health coverage, or renew their coverage. Since the Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid in Oregon and many other states, we have seen the great benefits for the people we’ve helped enroll.

Our outreach efforts started on October 1, 2013 and have continued steadily since then to enroll as many CCC clients, residents, and community members as possible in the Oregon Health Plan (or, if they’re over income for OHP, in other affordable health coverage).

Our full time Outreach and Enrollment Specialists Conor Gilles and Alycia Reynolds (as well as former specialists Kevin Chou, Juliana DePietro, and Eric Reynolds), supervised by Benefits & Entitlements Specialist Team (BEST) Program Manager Kas Causeya, who coordinates CCC’s outreach and enrollment program with Executive Coordinator E.V. Armitage, have done an outstanding job enrolling individuals.

Even with our incredible Specialists, efforts to help people obtain health coverage are a team undertaking that stretches across CCC programs and locations. In addition to the Specialists, CCC has staff members who are trained enrollment "Assisters," as well as many staff who have done some support work in one way or another over the last few years. Current staff members who help with OHP enrollment include Sabra Eilenstine of BEST, Angie Gaia of Risk Management, Gabi Gallegos and Sylvia Woods of Eastside Concern, Abby Lee of Hooper Detox, and Dana Schultz of Supportive Housing.

Most of the enrollments have taken place at Hooper Detox, Old Town Clinic, Eastside Concern, and CCC Housing sites, but we’ve also enrolled many people at all other CCC programs sites. Approximately 20% of enrollments have taken place through outreach at Transition Projects, Inc., Union Gospel Mission, Portland Rescue Mission, and other community partners.

Thank you, Volunteers! #NVW2016

Apr 15, 2016

What a National Volunteer Week it's been at Central City Concern!

Volunteer Manager Eric Reynolds wrote about his thankfulness for volunteers and underscored the importance of their service, saying that "every smile, every handshake, and every moment here matters to someone."

Two of our volunteers—Anne and Janet—shared the very personal reasons they choose to give their time and presence to the residents of a CCC supportive housing site.

Dale, who serves as the connection between our residents and our volunteers, told us how volunteer service changes people: those who are on the receiving end of volunteerism, as well as those who are giving their time.

We even told the story of volunteer impact at Central City Concern through some incredible numbers!

To close the week, all we have left to do is say "thank you." We put together a little video to express our gratitude to each and every person who has chosen to give time, energy, and presence to those we serve. Happy Volunteer Week, and enjoy!


How Volunteerism Changes People

Apr 14, 2016

Dale Noonkester’s job is to understand the needs of those who live at Central City Concern’s Martha Washington supportive housing community. As their Resident Service Coordinator, she helps residents find and build upon daily successes. She is also known across CCC as someone who is incredibly adept at fostering a sense of community; she’s deeply in tune with her residents.

After talking with two of the great volunteers who give their time at the Martha Washington, we thought it would be worthwhile to ask Dale about the volunteers she works with, why she values them, and what message volunteerism sends to those who live at the Martha Washington.

• • •

I love volunteers.

For one thing, I’ve always enjoyed being a volunteer. You feel like you have purpose. You learn. So having been on that side, I can understand what a volunteer wants and needs when they’re giving their time. 

I worked a lot with volunteers at a previous job. I actually helped to take that volunteer program from three people and turn it into a volunteer force of 72. When they started talking about closing down some of the services, we had 72 volunteers going “NO! DON’T DO THAT!” So I learned that a big thing about volunteerism is that they quickly recognize and value what the organization does. They help you build community support.

I also saw volunteers gain a better understanding of the situations people you’re serving face. It gives them a different understanding, moving away from “why don’t they just…” toward understanding how complicated their lives can be. And maybe more importantly, that perspective gets disseminated to their personal networks.

Our volunteers at the Martha Washington bring a lot of energy and love and support, especially to folks who don’t believe they’re understood. The population at the Martha Washington is so diverse. The volunteers gets to learn about a whole different world. When you see someone with schizophrenia on the street, yes, it can be scary. But when you meet them and work with them, they’re not so scary. You get a better understanding.

When a volunteer comes in, residents believe that they’re important and valued enough to have someone spend time with them. It changes people. And honestly, it happens on both sides.

Like [volunteer] Janet—she does a lot especially around Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition with us now. We go to WinCo and she buys the supplies for a Thanksgiving dinner. To bring that back to the building and show them that this is how much she cares, it’s huge!

And there’s Reese. People here find him so engaging and are always excited to hear about his ideas. They love when he comes to play pool with them. I’ve shared before that the basement when Reese comes to play pool becomes full of residents coming together, having fun, and getting to know each other in a whole new way.

Our residents love doing art projects with Anne, especially because she’s got great communications skills and boundaries and shows so much respect to our residents. When I say that Anne’s going to be here, everyone gets excited.

The residents can see that somebody cares who’s not getting paid to care. Someone wants to come and then they want to come back? That consistency is huge and it makes a difference. For our residents to see people come back over and over, it’s empowering to them.

I am so thankful that our volunteers continue to come back and bring their enthusiasm, their energy, their commitment to our space and to help make our space more connected. They energize us. They really do.

Central City Bed®

Central City Bed® - unfriendly to bed bugs, stackable, easy to clean and reuse. Appearing at national trade shows. Check Central City Bed for details. Learn more »

Volunteer Spotlights

What motivates CCC volunteers? What do they do when they volunteer? Why do they choose to give their time to those we serve? Find out by checking our Monthly Volunteer Spotlight! Learn more »

Central City Coffee

Through craft roasting coffee in Portland, OR, Central City Coffee supports the clients and mission of Central City Concern. Available at local retailers and as office coffee! Learn more »