I have had the distinct pleasure of working for the mission of Rogue Retreat for just over 4 years on staff after nearly 5 years as a Board Member. During this decade, I have watched us grow by leaps and bounds and set the precedent of creating a working roadmap for other communities to follow when setting up their own shelter and housing continuums. This is a far cry from where we were just 5 years ago when no one knew our name or the work that Rogue Retreat was involved in.

Chad and I even helped found another non-profit that is still serving people today during my time on the Rogue Retreat Board of Directors. Most people never get to have that experience.
When I first became involved in Rogue Retreat, our budget was about $250,000 and we could have held a Board meeting and an all staff meeting in the same room, around the same table, during the same hour, and covered all the needed business.
It was a simple time and one that helped forge the culture of what Rogue Retreat was to become. An organization that exists to provide hope to the unhoused and restore lives by helping people reach their highest potential through relationship-based case management and peer support. Last year our budget reached $10,000,000 and at one point we had over 100 staff and we grew to house and shelter over 500 people a night from Ashland to Grants Pass. At this same time, Southern Oregon and many other service providers outgrew the traditional funding sources that pay for this type of work and COVID grant funding began to run out.
Even though we are now dealing with scaling and ensuring that we have enough sustainable revenue to keep services going, I am truly grateful for the decisions that brought us to this point. Historically, non-profits and governments tend to stay in their own silos that they very rarely break away from. We all get comfortable in our safe little grooves. However, this creates stagnation and more often than not keeps communities and individuals sick and stuck in paralysis.
For years, Rogue Retreat has looked for reasons to say yes to meeting the needs of the unsheltered. Saying yes as often as we did helped break down silos and brought our community forward to engage in truly meaningful work. Southern Oregon as a community, has found a way to come together to restore lives and create real opportunities for people to escape the well of homelessness. I consult with many communities outside of ours and can assure you, that most do not work together as well as we do here in Southern Oregon. Most other communities want what we have.

Some of the opportunities that we said yes to may not have always been popular, but like it or not those choices succeeded in forcing the regionRogue Retreat Consulting and Training to drop the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) attitude and take action that creates both meaningful change and transformative partnerships. Southern Oregon is now viewed as a leader in creating shelter and housing. Our success gives hope to those in need and a map to other communities that are just beginning this work.

My heart is forever changed as a result of doing this mission and I am excited about the next chapter of my, and my family’s, life.
As I transition from Rogue Retreat, I am excited to take my experience into my new role as Executive Director of a housing agency that will allow me to help lead the development and management of affordable housing across multiple counties on the Oregon Coast (please reach out to me personally for more information).
My time at Rogue Retreat has been an amazing journey that has inspired personal growth and most recently some very painful changes. Those changes have opened a new door for me that I have no choice but to walk through. However, I must say that it has been an honor to be of service to the mission, vision and leadership of Rogue Retreat over this past decade.

Bill Ihle has stepped into the role of Interim Executive Director of Rogue Retreat. With him comes a management team that will work with existing leadership for the next 4 to 6 months to ensure that our continuum of sites and services go forward and are financially sustainable for years to come. Bill, his transition team, existing leadership and the Board will all work together to help identify the new long-term leader of Rogue Retreat.
This will not be an easy task. Please join me in welcoming Bill and his transition team to the Rogue Retreat family.
Thank you all for allowing me to be a humble servant through all of these years.