Covenant of Hope
Homelessness is growing in Portland, and one of the fastest-growing segments of the homeless population is families with children. This year, the winter shelter for families has been over capacity since it’s opening in November. Families who experience homelessness need many things: a place to live, help getting set up in their new home, a fresh start. They also need a “village:” healthy, positive relationships and community. For people in transition from homelessness to housing, a network of support can literally make the difference between stabilizing in housing or slipping back into homelessness.
The Covenant of Hope is an interfaith effort to give homeless families the support they need through the critical moment of transition. Working in partnership with Human Solutions, a non-profit social service agency, participating congregations provide three months of rent and utility support for a homeless family living in the winter shelter, which is matched by Human Solutions from its funding sources to give a family a six-month start. Volunteers from the congregation also help the family get set up in their new home, and provide community support to the family over the next six months in a few simple ways: making a phone call, sending a card, offering a friendly visit, inviting the family to a community event and offering a ride. This is a beautiful expression of hachnasat orchim, welcoming the stranger in our midst.
The Social Action Committee at Havurah Shalom has committed to participating the Covenant of Hope project, and is seeking volunteers and funds for the project. If you are interested in providing financial and/or community support for a homeless family, please MAKE A DONATION ONLINE or contact steve rudman (sdrpdx @ gmail.com) or Layton Borkan (layton.borkan @ gmail.com).
IN THE PRESS
“Faith Based Groups Help Homeless Portland-Area Families Get Back On Their Feet”
Steve Beaven, The Oregonian, March 8, 2012