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!

A Return to Recovery | Brandon’s Story

Three years ago, Brandon was running amok in Show Low, drinking and doing drugs with abandon. It wasn’t until he ended up in prison that he realized he had been caught by the same trap as his cousin Danny.

“I remember hearing from my parents about Danny growing up. Sometimes we would overhear them saying, ‘Danny messed up again,’ and we all knew what that meant. But then I found out that he was doing really well. (So well in fact that he’s managing our Hope for Hunger Food Bank, see cover story.) And I wondered what happened. That’s how I found out about Phoenix Rescue Mission.”

After nine months, Brandon was released into rehab. Figuring that what had worked for his cousin would work for him, he enrolled in our Men’s Recovery Program. But he soon found out that recovery is more than just going through the motions.

“When I graduated, I left campus and pretty much fell flat on my face. I went back to drinking and taking pills almost immediately. That’s when I realized that I hadn’t been honest with anyone during recovery. I just told the counselors and staff what they wanted to hear.”

“I was honest with them. I told them I had relapsed and they recommended I start the program over from square one.

Looking back, it was the best decision I’ve made.”

"But there was something different this time. Even though I was back to doing drugs, God convicted my heart each time I did it, and it just got worse each time. I knew I had to go back.”

Recovery is a long road, full of ups and downs. Just as Christ grants us all the grace to return to Him time and time again, every graduate knows the doors are always open to them at Phoenix Rescue Mission if they stumble.

During his recovery, and before Covid forced us to close our Mission Possible Café temporarily, he found that working in the kitchen both complemented his studies and gave him a new perspective.

“I had a lot of animosity in my heart toward authority figures. I didn’t like them telling me what to do. As I worked in the Café, my attitude began to change. I started seeing how it wasn’t them versus me, it was us working together. They showed me how criticism can be constructive and to not take things personally. They basically helped me become an adult, to see the bigger picture, and I started loving going to work. Once you begin putting God first, everything changes and you start to transform.

Today, Brandon has completed recovery for a second time, but for the first time with an openness and honesty that has given him a real foundation for a new life. He’s found a steady job and is looking forward to graduation in October. He’s saving for a car and his future is looking bright, thanks to the grace afforded by friends like you.

As COVID Continues, So Does Hope

Safely Reopening Hope for Hunger Food Bank

With the numbers of cases continuing to rise in Arizona, it doesn’t look like COVID is disappearing any time soon – but neither is hope!

Phoenix Rescue Mission is taking all recommended precautions to keep our guests safe on campus, as we give more men and women a chance at transformation. As a part of our new intake process, masks are mandatory, hands are thoroughly washed, and temperatures are taken at the door. The safety of our guests and staff are most important, and we’re doing all we can to protect and care for our people during these challenging times.

At our Hope for Hunger Food Bank, impacted families are finding boxes filled with nutritious veggies, meat and other produce ready and waiting. Surfaces are carefully cleaned and sanitized after use and safety is key. Families can rest easy knowing that the same recommended procedures that keep our guests safe in recovery are doing the job at Hope for Hunger as well.

Innovative procedures and systems have made it possible for us to open intake to our recovery programs again at a limited capacity.

Of course, it’s your prayers and partnership that keep hope alive, even during a pandemic. Thank you for your support that shines like a beacon in these trying times!

Tactfully reopening intake to recovery programs

Meet the Staff: Nathan Smith, Our CPO

Ever wonder what fuels the fire in the hearts of our staff for the homeless and hurting? Starting this month, we’ll be introducing you to the outstanding men and women who work tirelessly to see lives transformed – to get a peek into what brought them to the Mission and what keeps them going.

Ask anyone on campus and they’ll tell you: Nathan Smith has a huge heart for the homeless. But it didn’t start out that way.

“I wasn’t necessarily callous to helping people with great needs,” Nathan remembers. “I just never paid any attention to that as a kid.” It wasn’t until his first missions trip to India that his life, and his heart, changed forever. Nathan not only found his calling while he was in India, he found his wife – who was serving in the medical clinics of the same missions’ field.

“Years later, I was having trouble getting out to India to continue my mission work because I was building a family here. That’s when I was challenged by my grandmother-in-law to do more work locally. I started working with the homeless, which blossomed into a church ministry. From there, I met Jay Cory (former President and CEO of Phoenix Rescue Mission) who got me started at an entry-level position at the Mission.”

At the Mission, Nathan flourished. In just six short years, he’s risen through the ranks from Project Coordinator to Project Manager to Director of Community Engagement. During that time, he was instrumental in the expansion of the Mission’s reach into regions like Glendale, where he and his team saved the city’s largest food bank from closing for good.

Nathan’s team reopened Hope For Hunger Food Bank and increased the output of the previous ownership by more than 50% – serving more than 160 families per day under his watch. He was also a key player in the formation of Glendale Works, an integrated workforce development program aimed at reducing homelessness in Glendale by providing homeless individuals day-work cleaning city property.

In May, he accepted the position of Chief Program Officer!

God has put me in these different spots to expose me to what it means to be a leader, what it means to work with people who are really, really down and out and it’s prepared me to take that on at a higher administrative level. I couldn’t be more thankful for the path He put me on to get here.

Congratulations on your promotion, Nathan. We can’t wait to see how God uses you next!