Since 1986 our family run organization has permanently removed hundreds of lives from the streets. This is not a temporary adjustment, but a permanent on going new life; it is from the gutter to the grave.
The philosophy of our work is to go to where the people live. Three to four nights each week we travel through the skid row and warehouse districts of Portland Oregon handing out blankets, clothes, meals and other much-needed assistance. One of our favorite things in our line of work is sneaking up and covering a sleeping life under a bridge or alleyway and getting away without ever waking them up, much as a parent checking a child's blanket in their own home. Sleep is a rare commodity in the streets, and our purpose is to extend this event, not disrupt it.
The street-people are scary on the surface, which is a necessary exterior for survival, but are deeply broken people underneath. Our mission is unique to the homeless because we personally go to where they live. Our truck is a common sight under bridges and at many docks throughout Portland. However, this is not just a service to keep people alive, but for changing lives.
The problem is not homelessness, but loneliness. It is not that help is not there, but those most needing help lack the emotional or mental capability of getting it. After our visits to the streets, we spend the next days assisting those met through these encounters into programs meeting their exact need.
We become the necessary conduit between the street people and this assistance. Those attempting to navigate this path of bureaucratic forms must have emotional stability. The patience necessary for receiving such help is no longer in our peoples' lives. We become that essential stability as we advocate on their behalf. But it begins with building trust with those not trusting anyone at all.
Our process has permanently removed hundreds of lives from the streets. This is not a temporary adjustment, but a permanent on going new life; it is from the gutter to the grave. Our service does not quit once off the streets, but we continue our involvement ensuring their continued stability.