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Cindy Burback, who was involved in launching the ministry, took over executive director role in July

JASON CHANEY - Cindy Burback relaxes for a moment at the women's shelter, which she helped launch in the Church of the Nazarene basement.

Cindy Burback may be new to the executive director role with Redemption House Ministries, but she is not new to the ministry and its focus.

She was there when the local homeless ministry was founded in 2013. A member of the Church of the Nazarene in Prineville, she joined her former pastor, Matt Huff, and other people to form the new entity.

As the new ministry launched, Burback helped lead the remodel and build of the women's shelter, a cozy space in the basement of the Nazarene church that features swivel rockers, sofas, bookshelves and décor intended to sooth mothers and children.

Burback had an interest in leading the new ministry back when it was formed but didn't have enough free time to devote to the executive director role. So, Redemption House leaders hired a director, Greg Sanders, and Burback served as assistant executive director.

Later, Burback had to step away from the assistant director role, but she never lost her zeal for the ministry.

"I have always been a prayer warrior for them," she said.

In the years that followed, Redemption House would add a men's emergency shelter that was first located in downtown Prineville and was later moved to a Madras Highway location. Meanwhile, the women's shelter was changed from a transitional shelter -- where women stay while working to get back on their feet -- to an emergency shelter where they are invited to check in during the night but asked to check out the next morning.

Sanders remained the executive director until his unexpected passing last September. A new director, KayCee Weeks, was hired in late December, but later left the position creating an opening. This time, Burback was in a better position to consider the role.

"My pastor at the Nazarene Church knew that I had a heart for this ministry and had been really involved in it a lot, with helping people on the streets," she said. So, he asked her if she would be interested in talking to the Redemption House board about her history with ministry and the women's shelter.

The board president told Burback that they were looking for a new director, and she showed her interest, stressing that she wanted to make a difference and felt the executive director role gave her the chance to do that.

Burback was hired and took over the new role in July with several plans in mind. Chief among them is turning the women's shelter back into a transitional shelter.

"That is what I am pursuing because…when we had a transitional shelter, people's lives were changed for the better," she said. "I'm a firm believer that you bring them in, you give them a hand up – not a handout – and teach them there is hope in their lives and their lives can be changed and they can get back on solid ground."

In addition, a remodel of Craig's Compassionate Café, which provides one free meal a day for the homeless, will soon undergo a renovation. Burback hopes to reopen the café, also located in the Nazarene Church, in early November.

While orchestrating these changes, Burback plans to place greater emphasis on the ministry piece of Redemption House.

"I am a firm believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and I believe that this whole shelter thing was started to be a ministry," she said. "That is the direction I would like to take it. It's nice to have the shelters open for the community so we can get people off the streets, but I want to take it a step further and minister to these people and provide them the opportunity to get other services and get their lives back on solid ground."

However, fundraising will remain a strong focus as she leads the ministry. Funds are not plentiful, so she is hoping the community will support her and support the ministry to keep the shelters open and the services whole.

"Because it is a 501c3, we do not get a lot of financing," Burback explained. "We are small, so we don't get the big grants. We do get a few (grants), but they just aren't enough to maintain a monthly shelter operation."

As she moves Redemption House Ministries forward, Burback wants people in the community to know that she is more than willing to engage with the public and let people know what is happening with ministry.

"My office is always open," she said.


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