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.

Raise Hope 2018 Sponsorship Opportunity

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Community of Hope (CoH), North Portland’s only shelter for homeless families, exists to empower Portland’s homeless single-parent families to seek hope, healing, and stability while living in a safe, supportive environment. Residents can stay for up to six months and many use that time to regain strength, clarity, and the practical skills needed to make the next move toward successful housing.

CoH depends on financial support from a range of sources, but since 2014 it has been generous individual donors, giving almost $250,000, who have made the program what it is today. In early June, we will be hosting our major 2018 fundraising event: the 3rd Annual Raise Hope Gala. We ask that you consider becoming a sponsor for this life-giving event.

For this year’s event, we are anticipating a sellout crowd of 200 attendees. The diverse audience will include multi-generational leaders from North Portland’s faith community, business owners and neighbors, and many others active in addressing the plight of homelessness in our city.

The homelessness epidemic in Portland is not slowing down and for an increasing number of single-parent families with nowhere to turn, Community of Hope is a vital and transformative link in the safety net. Allowing children to remain at their neighborhood school, despite other transitions in their life, is a powerful way to interrupt the cycle of trauma that a lack of stability produces. Check out the three levels of sponsorship available to help our effort to raise hope!

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Click below to select your sponsorship package. You may pay online with a debit or credit card, or if you would prefer to mail in your selection, complete the printable registration form, then make checks payable to Community of Hope with “Raise Hope” in the memo line. Mail to P.O. Box 83165, Portland, OR 97283.

Sponsorship packages must be secured no later than April 1 to guarantee inclusion in package benefits.

 

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Becoming the Village: Dream Becomes Reality

Joy and her children

Joy and her children are grateful for Community of Hope

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.

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.

Our village is growing in a couple of notable ways. One of our big goals is to have 500 new donors by the end of 2017, but another way our network is strengthened is when agencies work with us and the broader network of grass roots community organizations to help each other achieve our missions.

Of upmost importance to the work of Community of Hope are the partnerships we have formed with other social service agencies. These specialized organizations find employment and housing options, provide financial help and other resources, and offer counseling and support groups to Community of Hope families. Our agency partners are just as glad to have us in their corner!

Marti Heard, Portland Public Schools Homeless Program Liaison, supports homeless families by providing bus passes and many other resources. But she can’t provide a home. She says, “Community of Hope …provides much needed stability and support to single parents and their children while they traverse the incredibly difficult situation of homelessness. (The) students remain in their original school and community. This is critical as it facilitates improved attendance, participation in after school activities, and better academic and social outcomes.”

Tru Tate, Lifeworks Family Advocate, teaches classes, provides support to at-risk families, and helps them build necessary life skills. But it is not enough.  She says, “It brings me so much hope to have a place like Community of Hope to which I can refer families.”

Secondly, the services we provide on-site require lots of help from many people. That’s where you come in. For almost three years, donors and volunteers have kept our doors open, taking a dream of a few pastors in North Portland and making it a reality.

  • Almost 500 volunteers have worked over 2000+ hours.
  • Generous donors and foundations raised over $200,000 in three years.
  • Countless people have provided expertise, ideas, encouragement, mentoring, prayers, and connections that have made our program successful.

When I look at those numbers, I am amazed and humbled to see so the impact of so many people working together. The dream of a few pastors has become the labor of love of a huge community.

But our village must continue to expand. We helped Joy and her children find healing, stability, and so much more. Now, with our larger capacity and commitment to provide services, we need stable funding. Can you help? When you join with Community of Hope, you become part of a diverse village that is working together and changing lives.

The motto on my door to my office reads “It Takes a Village to Raise A Child” and we are proud and grateful to have Community of Hope as part of our village.” Andrea Sobel Nahurski, School Counselor, James John Elementary School 

Join today. Become a Community of Hope donor.  Be a part of our village.

Upcoming Fundraising Dinner

Dinner is read to eat

We will have an even better menu than last year!

We are planning a fundraising dinner on Saturday, June 3rd at the University of Portland Commons. We’ll have a great speaker, a story of one of our residents, and the chance to learn more about what we do. Please put it on your calendar, invite others to come, and think about how much you can give to support this important work. Come back early next year for more details.