Category: Blog

The Results

IMG_1483 Impacting families’ lives is our job at Community of Hope. We want them to both heal from past trauma and to find safe and stable homes. How can we tell if we have been successful? How do we know if parents or children have made any progress?
Seeing if residents continue to not retraumatize is easy. Maggie is clean and has the tools to stay clean. She is not returning to the abusive relationship she had in the past. She now has a stable place to live and the income to pay the bills. Over 75% of the families who complete our program move into a safe place.
Measuring if residents grew and healed is a bit more subjective.

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Merry Christmas 2017

IMG_1483 This week, a woman donated a Fisher Price Nativity set to Community of Hope. She shared it with the children who have a home to live in this Christmas instead of being homeless. One of the moms told me that her daughter thought it was animals in a barn. She was right of course. But it is so much more. I started thinking about how I could tell this little girl the story of Christmas. It is just a story of a family who traveled to a different town and couldn’t find a place to live, so they stayed with the animals in the barn and happened to have a baby that night. Just a nice story. But then the strange stuff starts happening. Shepherd see angels (How do you explain what they are?) They come to visit this family with the story of what the angels said, that this child was the Savior. And what does that mean? How can I tell her about how God loves us so much that He choose to be one of us? How do you explain to a 4-year-old that Jesus wants to forgive us and set us free? Next, I would have to explain that the camel is not a cow, and that important people somehow knew this child was special, even worth traveling a long way to come to see him and bringing strange gifts.

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How Do We Help?

IMG_1483 Adverse Childhood experiences impact all the families at Community of Hope. Our job is to help parents and children heal while they are here.

When Maggie’s family moved into Hope House, they had their own room and knew they could stay there for a while. Maggie was no longer in an abusive relationship and was not using drugs. Her children were reunited with her.

That’s the first step: making sure the children are not continuing to be traumatized. At Community of Hope, we are drug and alcohol free, we have no tolerance for physical or verbal abuse, and families have a safe place to stay for a while. They are surrounded by people who love and support them. Our staff are supportive, encouraging, and help keep everyone safe by enforcing our rules.

Making sure families have a safe place to live leads to the second step:

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The Need (Part I)

IMG_1483 As a child, have you ever had something happen to you that caused you to be very upset? Did you see people you love get hurt? Did you ever feel like you were being attacked and there was no one to help you? Have you felt like it was you alone against the world? Most people in the world have had an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). The most common are extreme physical danger, experiencing or witnessing abuse, experiencing or witnessing drug use especially among caregivers, neglect, homelessness, and bullying. Maggie’s children experienced living with an abusive father, living with parents using drugs and not caring for them well, separation from their parents while in foster care, and the stress of homelessness.

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The Need

IMG_1483As a child, have you ever had something happen to you that caused you to be very upset? Did you see people you love get hurt? Did you ever feel like you were being attacked and there was no one to help you? Have you felt like it was you alone against the world?

Most people in the world have had an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). The most common are extreme physical danger, experiencing or witnessing abuse, experiencing or witnessing drug use especially among caregivers, neglect, homelessness, and bullying.

Maggie’s children experienced…

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Transforming Joy: Light in the Darkness

IMG_1483 The biggest perk in my job is that I get to see lives change. Before families arrive at Community of Hope, they are highly stressed. Some are sleeping in cars or at a shelter packed in like sardines or in unsafe homes with abusers or well-meaning friends who are strained with the family living in their living room. When they move in, the children are so glad to have their own room and a real bed. That certainly happened with Joy’s family. The adults form friendships and begin to heal from past trauma. They face past demons and make and meet goals as the future becomes hope.

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Becoming the Village: Dream Becomes Reality

Community of Hope was just a dream when I was hired in 2012. With the support of several churches in North Portland, the community of people, churches, businesses, and agencies championing our efforts grew. Once we opened in 2014, the village of people that it would take to make Community of Hope a successful program expanded exponentially.

IMG_1483 Help this village continue to grow. Be a part of our growing community making a difference in the lives of so many families by donating to Community of Hope today.

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Epidemic of Homelessness Creates a Sea of Suffering

IMG_1483 I keep getting phone calls. People know we are full and still they hope. I hear story after story of desperate families. “The shelter is overflowing.” “There is no good place to go.” “Where can me and my kids sleep tonight?”

“As a family advocate I work with many homeless families, visiting them in restaurants or on the streets as they carry their children and all their belongings packed in a stroller or live out of their cars… Knowing that there is a place where families will be valued and respected and given tools to make significant life changes is huge and makes all the difference when you work in what sometimes seems to be a sea of suffering. Tru Tate, Lifeworks Family Advocate

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A Journey of Hope: Joy’s Story

IMG_1483 Joy’s journey started out to be very difficult. “I had no security, bouncing around between family and friends. I was in and out of jobs because I didn’t have stable transportation. It was very stressful. I was afraid I would never find a place to live because of my eviction background and because I didn’t have a stable job, which made life that much harder.”
Joy is a single mom. She had her first child in high school, then a second. She worked hard to be a good mom, finish school, and make a life for herself and her children. She struggled to find a good relationship, wanting to be loved and successful. But the deck seemed to be stacked against her.

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Renovations Progress

IMG_1483 From the time that Red Sea offered to lease Hope House to us, we have been planning to remodel the space to increase our capacity and to make it more livable for the residents. It has been a long slow process! Here are some of the highlights. Click on links to see previous blogs with more pictures and stories. Check out our Facebook pictures too!

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Sacrificial Giving: Why do it?

IMG_1483How much is enough? This is a question we all must face. My husband and I look at it in two ways. How much is enough for our family’s needs? And how much is enough for us to give?

We have valid concerns about our own needs and wants. We want to take responsibility to plan for our retirement. And, we deserve a reward for our labors, don’t we?

On the other hand, we look at how rich we are!

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