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Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center serving women, children and gender-diverse people experiencing the trauma of abuse, loss of home or other disruptive life challenges. Katie O'Brien, Deputy Director of Rose Haven was kind enough to help me gain more insight into another facet of Portland's homeless crisis.
A Safe Harbor For Portland's Vulnerable Women
by Jack Kerfoot
Rose Haven was founded in 1997, as a program through the Catholic Charities. Today, the organization is a nonprofit that is located at 627 NW 18th Avenue in Portland. Although Rose Haven is not affiliated with a religious organization, it does follow the Good Shepard value system which embodies compassion, individual worth, reconciliation and zeal.
Katie guided me through the small facility, which is only open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays. She explained that domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness among women and that in an average day, 100 to 120 women seek support and services at Rose Haven.
Katie and I discussed the growing homeless crisis in Portland. Homelessness in America increased by 2.7% over the past twelve months. However, homelessness increased in Oregon by 9.7% over the past year. Katie noted that over the past ten years, the average age of women coming to Rose Haven has increased from 43 to 49 years of age.
Katie noted that Rose Haven can only offer a temporary safe harbor for Portland's most vulnerable women, during the day. She was interested to hear about the "Haven for Hope" facility in San Antonio, Texas. This facility is located on a 22-acre campus and helps people rebuild their lives from destructive life patterns, transition into a job and finally into their own apartment off campus.
Portland has literally hundreds of nonprofits and faith-based groups working independently to address our city's homeless crisis. Haven for Hope's well-coordinated approach is recognized as the most successful homeless program in the United States.
Since Haven for Hope is recognized as one of the best homeless programs in the United States, why shouldn't Portland employ a similar model? Our City Council should seek to collaborate with the private sector, nonprofits and religious organizations to address our homeless crisis.
If you agree with me and want to see our city find solutions to our homeless crisis in the future, please consider adding your name to my list of public supporters for my campaign.
Together we can find viable solutions to the issues facing our city. Thank you for reading this blog and thank you for your support.
This article was reprinted with permission from Jack Kerfoot. Jack is a candidate for Portland Commissioner.
"Rose Haven is a sanctuary from the street in Portland, offering compassion, practical assistance and community during the daytime hours to women and children facing loss of home, abuse and other disruptive life experiences."
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