Raise Hope 2018

Our Raise Hope 2018 Gala was a huge success!

We surpassed our goal of $60,000 to raise over $70,000. This will allow us to not only support families in healing and growth, but also provide more support in finding housing in this tight housing market.

Did you attend? See if you can find a picture of yourself here! You weren’t there? Read about all the highlights from the night and check out all these smiles!

Attendees of the gala were welcomed into University of Portland’s Bauccio Commons by beautiful rose centerpieces gracing each of the tables, the artistry of local musicians, John Van Beek’s Django Reinhardt inspired guitar work and Eddie Parente’s soaring violin,  and the dynamic duo of AllOne Community Services board members, Stephen Dilworth and Ali Craven leading us as co-hosts for the evening.

Lindsay Jensen, Executive Director of St. Johns Center for Opportunity led the evening by giving a report on the housing challenge in our community.

Based on findings from a study of Portland State’s Masters in Urban Planning students, the housing market is becoming tighter for low income families. In spite of new housing in our community, less is available for families on a fixed income. Until a 3-person household makes at least 80% of median family income or $44,000 a year, they can’t afford to live in North Portland and most of the city without being cost burdened (paying over half their income on housing.)

Keynote speaker, Libra Forde, Chief Operating Officer of Self Enhancement Inc. shared her personal story of overcoming domestic violence and homelessness as a single mom.

She learned that HOPE means Hang On. Pain Ends. With support of agencies similar to Community of Hope, she was able to overcome her challenges, her children were able to heal, and she is now a successful, confident leader in our community.  She challenged the audience to support Community of Hope, who provides the kind of help that she and her family needed.

Linda Jo Devlaeminck, Program Director of Community of Hope, shared a video of April and her daughter, Infinity, past residents of Community of Hope, who were able to find housing against all odds and are enjoying their own home for the first time in their lives.

She reviewed the work they have been doing to help parents and children overcome Adverse Childhood Experiences like homelessness, living with adults that use drugs, witnessing or experiencing domestic violence, or being bullied. They have been able to celebrate many successes! However, all this will do no good without a stable home to move into when they leave. We asked for additional funding to support a part time housing specialist to teach RentWell, a tenant education class, mentor families as they look for housing, build relationships with funding resources to help them get into housing, and build relationships with landlords to open doors to homeless families. Charlotte Mitchell-Reese, our staff person working on this, is already making great progress and is eager to have more time to make a greater impact. Thanks to you, we can now give her more hours to do this vital work.

And our volunteer team made the evening a smooth and pleasant event. We could not do this without you!

Watch the video below to learn more about the journey toward home for past Community of Hope resident, April, and her daughter, Infinity.

Eight lucky people won the “keys” to the Raffle baskets. Just like some families wait to see if they find a place, the anticipation was high!

Ben Forgarty, of The Brigade, was the winning bidder for the special Legacy Shower Shadowbox.

Before renovations in the summer of 2016, residents used a shower trailer that was available only 3 days a week for two hours at a time. With the real showers, we are now a home, not just a place to sleep. We auction this special item off each year and the highest bidder gets to sign it and then it spends the year hanging in our shower room as powerful reminder to the residents of the many supportive people who have given to make Hope House a reality.

So many smiles! Thank you to everyone who attended. We were so happy to share this special night with you all!
Special thanks to our many sponsors:
Marmoset, Franz Bakery Foundation, Metro, Key Bank, Zepak, Beneficial State Bank, Holy Cross Church, The Madeleine Peace and Justice committee, Freemont United Methodist Church, Journey 3, Portland French Bakery, Speaker Tina Kotek, and individual donors.

The Results

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. When Maggie moved out, she listed many ways she had grown while she was here. She grew as a parent, seeing her children’s needs, growing in patience and understanding, setting boundaries, and communicating clearly. She grew in self confidence that she could manage by herself with the support of many friends and helpers. She learned how to resolve conflicts and how to not let shame control her actions when she makes mistakes. She can see how she needs to change and takes positive steps to make good decisions. She and we have seen so much growth. This is typical of the families who stay long enough to complete our program.

In my years at the Community of Hope, I have watched despair and fear turn to courage and resolve, self-loathing to acceptance and hope. It is not easy for them, nor for us, for we and they together must learn to interpret their particular needs and develop a plan to fulfill them. It is what we are called to do.

Gwendolyn, Hope House Staff Member

For them: new hope, stability, safety, self-respect, and independence. For us: learning with each new family what we can do better, and the indescribable joy to see them settled on a path of self-reliance and–yes–of caring for and becoming a valued and essential part of their community. We–and they–are not always successful, but way more often than not, they do succeed. And society is better for their presence, their contributions, and their joy.

Living at Community of Hope made a big difference in the lives of Maggie, Carter, and Tara. Together, we can raise enough to increase staff wages to closer to a living wage, being a part of what brings greater hope, healing, and stability to the lives of many families through your support of Community of Hope.

Merry Christmas 2017

Child playing with Nativity set

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.

Thinking about how I could tell this story made me appreciate it at a depth that I have not felt before. I thought about how this little girl also had a mom who did not have a place to stay, and found one surrounded by those who love her. God forgives her, makes sure she is never alone, and saves her then things are hard. She is receiving gifts from people she has never met but know a child needs something special in this season. We believe that Jesus became a human being because our God wants to have a relationship with us and wants to share his love an a very practical, human level. This means that we get to see how he is doing that today through other people, both those of us who know God’s love and those who don’t know that it is God who is loving them through them.

Thanks for sharing this journey with us.

Linda Jo

How Do We Help?

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 like Charlotte, one of our staff, who love and support them. Our staff are  encouraging and help keep everyone safe by enforcing our rules.

Making sure families have a safe place to live leads to the second step: supporting parents in helping their children heal.

While they were here, Maggie continued to heal from her past trauma. She grew in confidence that she could care for herself and her children and learned this was much healthier than having an abusive partner in the home. She not only remained clean and sober, she began to use the skills and insights she was learning to help her children heal in the ways she had healed. She learned to see the needs of her children, set clear boundaries, and encourage a healthy interdependence instead of either over-protecting them or neglecting them.

As she grew, she could help her children grow. Carter began to learn that he could trust his mother to care for the family and not return to the abuse and drugs. Tara began to learn that she could trust her mother’s love even when she didn’t get everything she wanted and that her mom would listen to her and care for her. Through trauma recovery and parenting classes, weekly mentoring sessions, and the sharing of stories, struggles and ideas, parents heal from their trauma and learn to better parent their children, so they can continue to heal. Staff form the core of the individual support each family receives.

Families come into our lives here with no hope and even lower self-esteem due to traumatic experiences they have been through. I love that I can help empower them and help them to see the beauty inside themselves.

Charlotte, Hope House Staff Member

Community of Hope not only provides a safe place, we nurture healing and growth. Lives change. Stress hormones are replaced with laughter and joy and love. The transformation is not complete when they leave, but they have the skills and tools to continue their journey. Will you help make it possible for new families to heal and grow? Together, can we raise enough to increase staff wages to closer to a living wage? Do you want to be a part of changing lives? Give today! 

The Need (Part I)

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.

Our bodies were made to protect us when we are threatened. They produce stress hormones that give us the energy to run way, fight back, or hide. If we meet a bear in the woods, they help us survive and keep us safe. But when we experience them on an everyday level, like living with an abusive parent or never knowing where you will sleep tomorrow or next week, they become damaging. The stress hormones affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally. If a child has experienced four or more ACE’s, he or she or has much higher risk for significant adult health problems, drug use and criminal activity, and less chance to have healthy family relationships, good education, or job prospects.

At Community of Hope, we work to mitigate the consequences of repeated Adverse Childhood Experiences in the children as well as the adults. Our awesome staff is a huge part of this work.

I myself have been through hard times, one being homeless for a year. I can relate to our residents and this gives me a unique opportunity to give the residents understanding, compassion and most of all hope. Hope that with the right tools and support they can overcome the barriers that have led them to becoming homeless. I never would have thought I would be working at a homeless shelter, but working with these amazing people and with a great staff has shown me that God truly does have a plan for everyone. Community of Hope is God’s plan for me and I am blessed to be a part of such a great service and a source of hope for those who feel hopeless.

Darciea, Hope House Staff Member

Will you join Darciea to help us change lives, restore health, and give children a better future? Together, can we raise enough to increase staff wages to closer to a living wage? Give to Community of Hope today to help families like Maggie’s.