26 December 2019 | Inside Out Ministries, an Adventist congregation in Salem, Oregon, has set up a new shelter for homeless women in the community. The effort aims to address the prevalent problem of assaults on homeless women in Salem. Seventy percent of the Inside Out Congregation has been or is currently homeless, according to the Salem Reporter.

Over a third of homeless women in Salem have reported being assaulted since becoming homeless.

The shelter that opened December 15 currently has room for 10 women and there are plans to expand to house 50. The shelter is a joint effort with United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley. It is entirely run by female volunteers.

The congregation’s Pastor Dale Cardwell said the church transitioned to a focus on community service and less traditional services about three years ago.

“We decided we didn’t want to be like a country club anymore,” Cardwell said to the Salem Reporter. “We’re all pretty sure that the gospel has very little to do with theology or doctrine and it has to do with being the hands and feet of Jesus.”

There will be no proselytizing at the shelter,and guests do not need to be sober as long as they do not bother others.

“You do not have to jump through hoops to come in to the shelter,” said Elizabeth Schrader, resource development director at United Way. “The idea is that they’re coming home. They have a safe place.”

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