Joy and her children relax in their new home

Joy and her children relax in their new home

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. She moved back to Portland with her three children after leaving her boyfriend. Trinity was 9, Jordyn 6, and Camden 7 months. She wanted to be closer to family, but felt like she was getting nowhere. Then she moved into Community of Hope.

“Community of Hope provided a room and beds for our family. My girls were so glad to have a place to call “home.” Trinity, Jordyn and Camden felt surrounded by love. I developed friendships too, and didn’t feel as alone.  There were other women to talk to and see how they felt about certain situations as well.”

As you would expect many of our family members have suffered various degrees and types of setbacks, trauma and abuse. The classes offered through the program equip residents with necessary skills and coping mechanisms. According to Joy, the trauma class provided by provided a great opportunity to find other people to talk to. The RentWell class helped her overcome eviction and learn how to find a place to live.

“The classes helped me a lot. They helped me look at things from a different perspective. I began to have a more positive outlook on things. I got my self-esteem back up and felt happy inside. That made my children happier because they were feeding off the good energy in me. I had overall happiness mentally and physically. My body was better because not I was not so stressed. I developed more of a sense of purpose and began to support my children in becoming more emotionally mature and confident.

Our lives started to get better. There was help here, stability for me and my family.

But I still had work to do to achieve my goals. My stepfather helped me get a car. It broke down a couple of times, but he was there to help me get it fixed. Then I could look for a job. I had an interview, but didn’t get it. I was discouraged. But the support of the women and staff here helped me keep going.  I tried again, and actually got the job! We all celebrated!

With my new found knowledge from Rentwell and encouragement from Community of Hope members, my girls and I were able to find a place. With the housing market the way it is and the eviction on my record, I didn’t know if I could make it. But I was able to get Section 8 housing. What a gift! I would be able to look for a three-bedroom house big enough for me and my children. I wasn’t making a lot, but with this permanent subsidy, I could afford it. Now, I had to find a place. I found a couple that looked good, but someone else got them before I did. Again, I was so discouraged. It was easy to think I could never make it. Getting encouragement and prayers helped. Then I found the perfect home. The landlord was hesitant, but he called Linda Jo, who gave him a glowing reference and helped him understand how Section 8 housing worked. He decided to take a risk on me, and I got the place. I was ecstatic!

Transitioning from Community of Hope helped a lot. I was able to get a referral to Community Warehouse and got a bunch of stuff for the house.  The kids love it! We are close to work, school, and family and can stay here as long as we want.