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: Part II

City officials from the United States Conference of Mayors identified lack of affordable housing as the leading cause of homelessness among unaccompanied individuals. This was followed by poverty, mental health and the lack of needed services, and substance abuse.

Housing affordability in Portland has continued to decline as rents and home prices continue to climb, outpacing incomes. The average monthly rent in Portland rose 7 percent between 2015 and 2016. That was the fourth consecutive year that Portland has seen an annual rent increase in excess of 5 percent, with the average rent increasing nearly 30 percent since 2012.

According to a recent release from the S&P/Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index that measures changes to home prices through a twenty-city composite index, “Seattle, Portland, and Dallas reported the highest year-over-year gains among the 20 cities. A full-time worker in the Portland metro area would need to earn an annual income of $49,680 in order to afford a two bedroom apartment in the metro area without being rent burdened. This would require the worker to work forty hours a week at $23.88 per hour or work for ninety-two hours a week at Oregon’s minimum wage last year.” 

For many, homelessness is a new event.

Loss of a job, health issues, and raising rents have an impact. Just under one-third (29.1%) of the unsheltered population reported that this was the first time they were experiencing homelessness.

Historical and continued systemic discrimination is plainly evident as well. Families of people of color had a higher percentage of homelessness than the overall population in the 2017 Point in Time Count in Portland.

In the overall homeless population, 15.7% of people were part of families without children. 40.8% of these children were 5 years old and younger. 24% of people of color were part of families with children.  

The figure below shows how much more likely a person of color is to be homeless in Portland than someone who is White, Not Hispanic.

For example, Native Americans are 402 percent more likely to be homeless than are people who are White and not Hispanic or Latino, Black/African Americans are 180 percent more likely to be homeless, and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are 198 percent more likely to be homeless. Overall, people of color are 55 percent more likely to be homeless than are White people. Keep in mind that this does not take into account the doubled-up population or those who were not counted.

Family dynamics also impact homelessness.

 Just over one-third (33.7%) of the respondents experiencing unsheltered and sheltered homelessness reported that they have experienced domestic violence. Just over one-fifth (21%) of the adult unsheltered population that responded as having experienced domestic violence responded that they were currently fleeing from domestic violence. 10.4 percent of people reporting experience with domestic violence are in adult-child households.

A bright spot in all of this is that progress is being made, housing is being built and in the case of Nesika IIlahee, meaning “Our Place” in the Chinook language, it will be a three-story wood-framed building featuring 59 units of studios, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments. Twenty units will be reserved for enrolled members of federally recognized tribes.

“Despite making up 2.5 percent of the population, Native Americans represented 10 percent of those counted as homeless in 2017. Native Americans were also four times more likely to experience homelessness compared to people who are white.”

Supporting Community of Hope means you are helping families who experience racial and ethnic discrimination, domestic violence, and economic challenges overcome their barriers to find homes they can afford in this limited market. Please give today. Become part of the solution.