“Scottsdale Works” program sees immediate success

The city of Scottsdale and Phoenix Rescue Mission are celebrating a successful first month of Scottsdale Works – Brick by Brick, an integrated workforce development program that aims to reduce homelessness in Scottsdale and put the city’s homeless to work.

“This program has been a blessing to both the participants and the community because people are getting connected to resources to end their homelessness,” said Phoenix Rescue Mission Street Outreach Supervisor Gabe Priddy.

One individual, Jason Smith, recently received keys to his first home since his life on the streets began in the mid-1990s.

Mr. Smith found work with Scottsdale’s program, which instilled in him a sense of worth and gave him hope that he could end his cycle of homelessness after all.

Read the news article on YourValley.net

Watch the news video from Fox10Phoenix.com

No Longer Homeless for the Holidays | Brian’s Second Chance

Brian’s second chance at the Mission brought an end to his homelessness.

Brian came to us looking for a good meal in 2007. Back then he was addicted, homeless, and miserable – and had been that way for about four years.

“I wasn’t able to maintain a job. Whenever I would try to get back on my feet or clean up for a little bit, I’d end up repeating the same mistakes.”

Then he enrolled in our recovery program, got clean, found Christ, and started on a new path… only to find himself stumbling again a few years later. The Mission is always clear that we value restoration and care for the long-term health of our clients. We do not stigmatize those who relapse but instead invite them to rebuild a solid, Christ-based foundation and community for their long-term well-being.

“I knew the only chance I had to turn my life around was to be a part of a community of people who were going to support one another; that’s the brotherhood you find at Phoenix Rescue Mission. I knew people would support and encourage me there. I went back there and tried to get in. That was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.”

This time, he’s plugged in. Instead of going it alone, he’s making sure he maintains the accountability and connections that make all the difference. In fact, he’s found an apartment of his own next to three other graduates who’ve traveled a similar path, to make sure the connections he needs are within easy reach.

His second time around, we were able to connect him to a grant that enabled him to get his Commercial Driver’s License. He’s using it to drive dump trucks and couldn’t be happier.

“I’ve been doing this for over a year,” he says, “and I love it. I have to pinch myself sometimes because I can’t believe I’m doing it. It feels good to have a great career and make good money doing it.”

Thank you for giving the gift that made it possible for Brian to have a home for the holidays.

Meet the Staff: Jussane Goodman

When it comes to meeting people’s needs, Jussane’s been there and done that. She has her bachelor’s degree in non-profit leadership and management, she’s served the homeless at the Dream Center in LA, worked as a case manager at a local women’s shelter, and served foster care youth at the Phoenix Dream Center.

You would think all that experience comes from a lifelong dream to change the world. But in Jussane’s case, it started with a calling.

“I read a book by Matthew Barnett and felt God was calling me to the LA Dream Center. While I was there, I visited Skid Row. I had never heard of it before. God used it to work on my heart. I came back thinking, ‘What am I going to do about this?’

Before long, Jussane found herself returning to Skid Row again and again, eventually bringing men and women from her church to help her minister to the homeless. From there she began volunteering locally, learning more and more about the complexity of homelessness.

Jussane, left, with the PRM Community Engagement Team

That’s when a friend introduced her to Phoenix Rescue Mission.

“I had an interview with Nathan (our Chief Program Officer). I remember having a short and honest prayer with God and saying, ‘God, if this is for me, I’m going to walk right through that door and if it’s not for me, you better shut it,’ because I was so excited about working here.”

The next day, Phoenix Rescue Mission added a valuable new member to our outreach team! That was in 2017. Through hard work and dedication, she was promoted to Street Outreach Supervisor in 2019 and this September to Director of Community Engagement, overseeing our Criminal Justice Diversion Program, Glendale Works, Hope for Hunger Food Bank, our Mobile Pantries, Community Market, our growing Hope Coach Street Outreach team, and more!

“Anyone who is not in our residential campus is our client. My goal is to make sure we’re doing what we do with excellence so that when we take on new opportunities, we’re well equipped. We’re the hands and feet of Christ. When people call us, they know they’re getting the best service. Our clients need to feel supported, loved, and that their needs are being met. That’s my priority.”

Hope is Expanding – Ahead of Schedule!

Every day that goes by gets us a little closer to seeing this dream become a reality. Construction at the Transforming Lives Center on our new Life Recovery Building is moving now at a dizzying pace. The fourth floor has been added, the waterproofing and siding is going up, and we’re currently on the cusp of starting work on the interior.

In fact, things have been moving along so well that we’re actually ahead of schedule. The original estimate put the end of construction in early 2021, but as of today, it’s looking more like the end of this year!

Once construction is complete, we’ll still need to add fixtures, furniture and the like before opening the doors in early 2021. But every day we gain means that there will be much more opportunity to transform lives – and do it on a scale that’s never been possible before.

All we can say is – God is good!

Thank you for all the prayers blessing this work and speeding it along. We’re all so excited to see God use this new space to transform more lives than ever before, and Phoenix itself in the process!

You can see all the details about our progress of the Expanding Hope Capital Campaign at hopeforphx.org!

Love Conquers Violence: Shawn’s Story

Shawn was the priest of a warlike religion, Asatru, for 15 years, committing acts of violence in the name of the Norse gods.

But what happens when a priest of Odin and Thor has an encounter with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

In a word? Transformation.

Ever since he was little, Shawn’s life has been ruled by violence.

“My stepfather used to beat me up a lot,” says Shawn. “Then I found out he was hurting my sister. At fourteen, I attacked him.”

It was an act that got Shawn sent to juvenile prison. But instead of rehabilitation, the years he spent there only confirmed violence was the answer to life’s problems. That belief sent Shawn back to prison time and time again. As an adult, he found a religion to justify his worldview — one that not only accepted violence, but actively encouraged it.

“Prisons are run by gangs. I cliqued up with the Aryan Brotherhood, the Skinheads, basically the white supremacists, most of whom are Asatru. I became a priest of a religion that shouldn’t even be called a religion, really. It’s more of a license to hurt people. It teaches that everyone else is the enemy, the only people who matter are your own and to take what you want through violence. It’s horribly self-serving.”

That all came to an end when an encounter with God brought this priest to his knees.

“I have a daughter and when I got out of prison the last time, in 2017, I found out she was pregnant. Being a grandfather made me want to change but, instead, I went back to drugs. That sent me to Valley Hospital where they gave me a list of the halfway houses and recovery programs in Phoenix.”

Scanning the list, one in particular caught his eye.

“It was Phoenix Rescue Mission. My mother is Christian. When I read that they offered a year-long, Christian-based recovery program, I thought that would be the best way to reconnect with my family.”

He never imagined what would happen next.

“I was here maybe two weeks. We were in the chapel and they were playing Christian videos. The song Oceans came on and I flashed back to the last time I had heard it. It was in the car with my mom."

"Suddenly I had this epiphany of how my mom has always prayed for me and what it means to be Christian, and I started bawling. I hadn’t cried in twenty years!”

But God wasn’t done.

"All of a sudden, everything made sense. I hit my knees. Through the tears I saw a picture of Jesus up on the wall. In my head I told Him, 'Okay God, you got me.'

Then this was crazy. Right after that, a voice in my head responded with, 'I've always had you.'" He laughs.

In an instant, God was able to reach into Shawn’s life and shatter the worldview that had held him captive for decades.

“From that moment on, I got baptized and I started taking recovery seriously. Ever since then, my resolve has become stronger and stronger. All I’ve done most of my adult life is hurt people. I want to spend the rest of the time God gives me helping people.

Your support not only made that transformational moment possible, it’s giving Shawn the tools he needs to follow his new direction.
“I applied for the Ministry Training course because I want to follow a career path that helps people. To that end, Phoenix Rescue Mission also helped me earn my Microsoft certification and enrolled me in the peer support specialist course which I graduated from as well. I’m 46 years old. I never thought I would start out on a new career path, but God has made that possible for me.”

No longer a man of violence, Shawn’s worldview had been turned upside down. Today he’s focused on rebuilding his life, the lives of others, and his relationship with his family.

“My mom and dad live up in Prescott. So do my brother and his kids, and I go up to visit them whenever I can get passes. Every time I talk to my mom she yells, ‘Praise Jesus!’ She’s just so happy. Unfortunately, I influenced my daughter to be pagan and she hasn’t come to Christ yet. But I’m working on that.” He laughs.

“Who knew that there was this oasis of God’s love sitting right next to a jail in Phoenix? It saved my life!”