Letter From the Director

By Paul Solomon

Winter 2021

Greetings Friend,

I am always thankful for the fresh start the new year brings. Given the challenges of 2020, the New Year simply couldn’t come soon enough. As we welcome 2021, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the challenges of people reentering our community.

More than 6,000 people will release from Oregon State Prisons this year with hopes of starting over—finding a job, reconnecting with loved ones, securing a stable place to call home. However, limited resources and the stigma of a conviction history can often stifle a person’s hopes. Many folks, despite hard work and best intentions, will find themselves homeless and indigent.

We are challenged to face this truth head-on.  We know that housing is the single most important predictor for an individual’s successful reentry. Yet, as I’ve shared before, individuals who have been to prison are 10 times more likely to be homeless. Discriminatory housing practices and routine criminal background checks, combined with the lack of available housing options, perpetuate the revolving door from the streets to prison.

Through my years at Sponsors I’ve seen the numerous ways that people struggle when they are released. But I have also had the remarkable opportunity to witness first-hand the ways in which a safe and supportive home can literally be the turning point in someone’s journey to stability.  

What we’ve accomplished is tremendous, but what we’ve learned is something quite simple: If we can offer support in maintaining permanent housing, individuals are able to move beyond merely surviving to actually being able to thrive. We believe whole-heartedly in those we serve and I hope you do too. You demonstrate your commitment by advocating, giving and partnering – and these efforts combine to provide the foundational support that helps participants to believe in themselves.  In this way, each one of you is a sponsor; together, we are Sponsors.

At the close of 2020, we asked you to step up to support individuals returning to Lane County to access supportive housing. You overwhelmingly answered the call! Thank you! Your partnership helps to ensure individuals releasing to our community get a fair shot at an honest “re-entry,” to rebuild their lives and realize the critical foundation of a home. Thank you for all you do!

Happy New Year!