"I was in a domestic violence situation," says Stephanie. "I was pregnant and had an eight-month-old baby." With nowhere to go, Stephanie's choice to leave was agonizing, but she had to protect herself and her children.
It was November in the Northwest, and the temperatures were dropping. Stephanie survived by living in her car and running the engine to keep warm. As Thanksgiving passed without the usual celebration of food and family, the holiday was rough. "Alone. I felt really alone."
Unfortunately, Stephanie was far from alone in her position.
The Need is Great
According to the 2018 Annual Report of The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Oregon and Idaho are among the top five states in the U.S. with the highest rates of unsheltered people in families with children experiencing homelessness; Oregon and Washington are among those states with the highest rates of unsheltered individuals.
Stephanie and her family were able to find shelter and support at the Shepherd's Door, Portland Rescue Mission's (PRM's) residential recovery program for women and children. At Shepherd's Door, housing is just part of the solution to the crisis. Robust addiction recovery curriculum, vocational training, counseling and parenting support for mothers and families are offered to help these families maintain lives with stable housing, employment and security long-term.
Shepherd's Door is just one of PRM's multiple service facilities located throughout the Portland area, serving thousands in need each year. They strongly believe that building relationships with the men, women and children served helps restore their hope and builds the necessary foundation for life transformation to occur.
Support Real Life Change
Today, Stephanie is a graduate of Shepherd's Door. She lives with her children in one of PRM's Community Houses, which are transitional homes providing stability and support as women work and save money to live independently.
PRM's work with families like Stephanie's is 100% funded by private support, which is why community involvement and support is so crucial. Each winter, we raise much needed funds and warm winter items for the Northwest shelters who are offering these life-changing services through our Warm Hearts Winter Drive.
This year, we plan to raise $250,000 and collect thousands of new warm winter clothing to support more than 60 local homeless shelters and aid organizations, like Portland Rescue Mission, throughout Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
Learn more about how your support can give someone like Stephanie a lot to celebrate this holiday season by stopping by your local Columbia Bank branch or visiting WarmHeartsWinterDrive.com. Because for Stephanie, and thousands of others living on the streets this winter, "Just having a nice warm bed…there're no words to describe how that felt, and how it feels every night after not having that."
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