Reaching Goals

Have a comfortable seat. Close the door so we can have a private conversation. Smiles of welcome and the sharing begins. We celebrate the successes. “My daughter loves playing with the other kids and is feeling at home here.”“I made that phone call and found a great resource.” “ I have an interview!” “ I’m getting along better with my mom.” “ I accomplished all my goals last week!”

Then comes the harder conversations. Every week brings new and different challenges. “What should I do when my children don’t listen?” “ My housemate’s kids are so loud in the morning and I can’t sleep!” “ I am worried about finding child care. Who can I trust with my kids?” “ Both my child and I have been sick this week!” We commiserate and brainstorm ways to overcome the challenges. We make goals to meet them and to find specific steps we can take this week as we work to achieve our dreams. Ending with a hug and sometimes a prayer, each parent moves on ready to greet the next week prepared to continue to grow.

Your support helps these conversations happen. Please give today.  Just like the residents at Hope House we encourage you to time in this season to evaluate your successes and challenges. Think about where and how you are spending your time, talent, and resources and consider coming alongside Community of Hope in 2019 to become part of the solution.  

Connections + Skills= Opportunities for Success

Community of Hope is a place to add tools to the family’s tool boxes. Every new family has to fill out a long in-take form. It seems such a challenge to get through all the pages, but then comes the conversation about how they can connect with the resources they need. A bag of clothes from Northwest Children’s Services? It almost feels like Christmas any time of the year!  A referral to Lifeworks for counseling for them or their children? Welcome help when life is overwhelming. Access to a support group for domestic violence? Tools and support to make life-saving changes. A connection with a landlord or funding for housing? The next step comes into focus.

Connections are important, but skills you can take with you wherever you go are also vital. That’s why we offer classes so families can build a realistic budget, know how to be a good renter, learn new ways to deal with stress in healthy ways, and how to lovingly meet the needs of their children. The result? Each referral and new skill brings the families one step closer to their goals of being safe, growing in hope, healing and stability and finding stable jobs and homes. Your support helps families prepare and be ready with the skills they need to be successful.  Please give today. Become part of the solution.  

Likewise, we rely on our network of supporters, who we believe are uniquely equipped to help us fulfill our mission to empower Portland’s houseless single-parent families.  Who do you know who has the skills or connections we need to take our next steps?  Share our Future Foundation vision!

A Community in Service

From September 2017 to September 2018, donors gave over $200,000 to Community of Hope. In addition, 98 volunteers gave 2600 hours of their talent and time to the work we are doing. Without these gifts, we would not be able to provide shelter or stability for anyone!  And while we immensely appreciate all the help, we know that often when we think of homeless families, we look at what we can do for them.

Sometimes we miss noticing the ways they contribute to the community. Families at Hope House build each other up, sharing resources, serving each other, and building friendships.

This looks like Moms sitting around the kitchen table talking and laughing together. Asking for advice. Sharing about a resource. “Will you watch my kids while I …?” “Sure, I’ll do your hair.” “Which outfit shall I wear to my interview?” “I made some extra. Do you want some?” Every day the ebb and flow of families sharing life,  children playing together, and mutual support flow though our lives.

The families at Community of Hope also work to keep our environment clean by recycling. They have participated in the community  trash clean-ups in downtown St. Johns.. They have given away food and money to others who need it more than they do. This spirit of service doesn’t rely on a certain socioeconomic standing to kick-in. We are ALL capable of lending a ear, an afternoon, or a dollar when it is needed.

Rich is a great example of this kind of  service. He often used his unique gifts of being a handyman at Hope House. He fixed the leaking sink, rehung a picture, put up curtain rods, rehung a door, and many other small projects around the house. He continues to help even after moving out into a place of his own.

When you give to Community of Hope, you are working with the families we “serve” to build a better world. We invite you to be a part of our community in service in the coming year. There are opportunities to volunteer at Hope House and interact with residents directly, and there are opportunities to work as part of the team of dreamers who will lead us toward the expansion of Community of Hope.

Alongside all the other resolutions you may be considering taking on in the New Year, make Community of Hope one of your #GiveGoals in 2019.

A 20.19 Challenge

The past year has been a testament of the incredible community that is built when people come together in many ways to help their neighbors.  From September 2017 to September 2018, you all raised $208,700! Your contributions funded shelter and stability for over 100 adults and children, provided resources for 400 mentoring sessions, and allowed opportunities for over 600 classroom hours.  These gifts give families the care, tools, and opportunities they need to follow in Rich’s footsteps and create their own home.

Thank you for being part of the solution so far!  Without our network of supporters Community of Hope could not continue to do this vital work, much less dream into the future of helping even more families find hope, healing, and stability. 

As we turn toward the coming year, how will you continue to be a part of this important work? Do you have skills and/or time that you’d like to volunteer? Can you increase your giving before the end of the year or perhaps even become a monthly donor in 2019?  Alongside all the other resolutions you may be considering taking on in the New Year, make Community of Hope one of your #GiveGoals.

We’ll help you out. Right now through December 31st, every new monthly pledge of $20.19 or more will be matched with a one-time gift of $100.  Up to $1,000 is available to be matched, which means up to 10 donors have the chance to rise to the challenge.  Will you be one of them?

Meet Rich

Without personal context the massive scale of the homelessness issue, and potential solutions, tends to ride on the egos of the ones doing the “fixing.” At Community of Hope, we know that context, and relationship, is everything, especially when we believe that those experiencing homelessness are absolutely capable of transformative growth and healing. We also know that no two stories are the same, but HOPE is a common theme for a reason.

Meet Rich.

Before moving into Community of Hope Rich and his 11-year-old daughter Keira were doubling-up with a friend to have a safe place to stay.  But that situation put their friend’s housing at risk so Rich looked for other options and eventually found what they needed at Hope House. 

From the start, Keira and Rich were right at home at Hope House – Keira was great with the smaller children and made friends with adults and kids alike. Rich jumped right into community life and found ways to help by fixing things here and there.

As much as they loved the community at Hope House, they dreamt of a space of their own. Rich had a part-time job but felt overwhelmed by the the difficulties of moving to full-time while caring for Keira and by the process of finding a place he could afford. Even more challenging was making the right decision for his family.  

Receiving the news of making it to the top of a housing list in Clackamas County seemed like a great opportunity, but the more Rich thought about it, the more he realized his hope for Keira was to stay in the same neighborhood and school. Taking a courageous leap of faith, he turned down the offer, hoping for something local. With the support of a housing specialist this summer he able to secure funding for a place in the neighborhood!

Rich still loves to stop in to visit Hope House, bringing his talents and time to give back to the community that has helped him along his journey.  Every time he visits, he wants to hear that familiar greeting of, “Welcome Home”.

Watch this video to catch a glimpse of Rich and Keira and share it to encourage others!

Join Community of Hope in continuing to help families like Rich and Keira move from homelessness to stability.

You can support Community of Hope today in building capacity to meet this expanding need.  Please give today to help us meet our $50,000 year-end campaign goal before January 1st or join with us in “Dreaming Big in 2019” to begin the process of expanding to a second North Portland location. Become part of the solution!

Homelessness in Portland

Portland is not alone in combating the current housing epidemic. Cities and municipalities up and down the West coast, as well as many other pockets around the country, are experiencing many of the same problems.  Rising rents, stagnant wages, exorbitant health care costs, and limited housing supply all explain, in part, the why so many people are struggling to maintain stable housing.

In our community, change has happened quickly across the city and it is sometimes difficult to grasp the problem, let alone the solutions. Since 2009, however, researchers have conducted regional bi-annual Point in Time Counts of people experiencing houselessness .  The most recent snapshot, from a night in late February 2017, counted 4,177 people, some in transitional shelter, some in emergency shelter, and some on the street or in camps, in tents and vehicles.
The results of that Point in Time Count revealed that while our community had experienced a 9.9 percent increase in the total population counted (4,177) in the 2017 Portland Point in Time count compared to the 2015 Portland Point in Time count (3,801), because of the expansion of emergency shelter, the number of people counted in shelter beds increased from 872 in 2015 to 1,752 in 2017, a 100 percent increase.

With the abrupt closure of the Human Solutions no turn-away family shelter in early 2018, the numbers are growing again and the need is particularly  desperate. People who were part of families with children made up 15.7 percent of those who were experiencing homelessness on the night of the count. Community of Hope is an active part of the effort to find safe places for people with children to stay.

The Point in Time count did not include people who are sharing the housing of others for economic reasons (a situation frequently referred to as “doubled up”), but an analysis of available data from local school districts indicates that there are at least twice as many households with school age children attending public schools who are living doubled up than in 2015. Families with children are often in this category because they will lose their children if they do not have a safe place to live, so doubling up or living with an abusive partner in return for a place to stay is very common.

Other Resources for Understanding the Scope of the Problem
From Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
Homelessness Snapshot from Transition Projects

You can support Community of Hope today in building capacity to meet this expanding need.  Please give today to help us meet our $50,000 year-end campaign goal before January 1st or join with us in “Dreaming Big in 2019” to begin the process of expanding to a second North Portland location. Sign-up to learn more about our Future Foundation Initiative here.  
Become part of the solution.