Check out this article by Max Egner from the Portland Tribune! Egner came by the Haven on Grand Opening Day and has testimonial from a guest and staff member! Thank you Portland Tribune for your coverage!

Click here for the story…

The Rose Haven day shelter opened its doors in Northwest Portland Tuesday. It’s the only low-barrier day shelter for women and children in the city.

“I think that that low-barrier model is the key that is going to solve so many issues as far as accessibility and making programs work,” said Rose Haven Development Director Liz Starke.

Starke said “low barrier” means they don’t require sobriety or proof of identification. She said the shelter is meant to be a safe space.

“Sobriety shouldn’t be a requirement. If someone has just been traumatized and they want to go by Jane Doe, let them. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable showing their ID. You have no idea what people have been through, so I really think that low-barrier model will open doors and is such an important part of making programs successful,” said Starke.

Starke said they expect to help nearly 4,000 women and children this year, the highest they’ve ever seen.

“Now, with the unemployment bonuses ending and the eviction moratoriums coming to an end, our phones are ringing off the hook. Unfortunately, we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Starke.

She said Rose Haven is trying to be a part of the solution in Portland, a city in the midst of a homeless crisis.

“We’re really here for community and to restore dignity to people. So we can have a conversation about long-term change, once you have clean clothes on, and once you’ve had something to eat, but we have to start there,” said Starke.

One woman, who said she was on the verge of homelessness, said the shelter is awesome but would like to see the city put in more overnight shelters.

“I’ve had my bout with almost homelessness, and it’s scary, especially as a woman,” said Brenda Cohen. “It’s better than nothing, but, I mean, there should be more.”

Rose Haven is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until noon. Starke said they hope to expand those hours in a couple months.

Watch the interview here:

https://katu.com/news/local/rose-haven-day-shelter-northwest-portland-aims-to-offer-safe-space-for-women-and-children

KATU 2 celebrated our Grand Opening opening event to interview Development Director Liz Starke! Liz discusses the importance of our direct services for our houseless neighbors and how our new building supports our community’s needs. Click here to see the story!

Fox 12 came to interview Executive Director Katie O’Brien to learn more about Rose Haven’s unique and special role in our community. Click here to see the story and hear about our new shelter space.

PDX Monthly wrote an article about Rose Haven and the opening our new building! Michelle Harris came to our site to discuss the importance of our new shelter space creating a calming and healing environment for our houseless neighbors.

Click here to read the story! 

Development Director Liz Starke talks about the intersection of climate change and homelessness. At least 688 Americans died in 2021 from weather-related events, mostly due to February’s southern winter storm and extreme heat in the Pacific Northwest. Experts say these events are due in large part to climate change.

“In The Loop” brings viewers a distinctive deep dive into the news every weeknight. Host Christian Bryant keeps things real through a mix of creative explainers, on-the-ground storytelling, and some off-the-wall fun to unpack one big story each night and showcase a range of Newsy’s best reporting. You can find “In The Loop” on Newsy’s streaming apps for Roku, Fire TV and Vizio every Monday-Friday starting at 9pm EST, or head to newsy.com/stream to catch the full show.

Rose Haven finds a new home -NW Portland day shelter for women, gender-diverse people moving and growing

by John McDonald at Street Roots | 2 Feb 2022
On a damp and dark wintry night, the garbage bins alongside the First Immanuel Lutheran Church had once again been rooted through. Debris was scattered all over the sidewalk.

It’s a routine occurrence in this Northwest Portland neighborhood. Help arrives around dawn as volunteers begin picking up the trash and preparing the site for day shelter operations.

Liz Starke has done this duty before and recalls a heartbreaking conversation she had with a shelter guest as she cleared the sidewalk of trash.

“You don’t have to do this,” the woman said. “I’ll do it. I live here.”

As a new day begins at the church property, its main tenant goes to work. That tenant is Rose Haven, a day shelter and community center serving women, children and gender-diverse people.

The shelter, founded in 1997 as a program of Catholic Charities, is moving to a new home soon. More space is sorely needed as demand for services has increased. For some time now, Rose Haven has outgrown the 3,500 square feet offered by the old Swedish church basement at 1816 NW Irving St.

A permanent, larger home for the shelter was found less than two blocks away at 1740 NW Glisan St. The new site provides 9,700 square feet of operation space and 2,000 square feet of basement storage. Rose Haven is in the midst of a $3 million fundraising campaign to fund the move and expansion.

The opening is scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day on March 8.

“If we are waiting on the Joint Office of Homeless Services to do something then we as a society have already failed,” Theriault said.
Starke is Rose Haven’s development director and she brings a keen understanding to this role. Starke comes from a background that is relatable to Rose Haven’s guests. She lost her home during her freshman year of high school when her father was sent to prison.

“My passion for this work is rooted in intersectional feminism,” Starke said. “In a capitalist society, the marginalizing impact of all the different ‘isms’ we are fighting in the social justice world ultimately result in poverty. For me, working at Rose Haven places me at that intersection where I can have the most impact and help people marginalized by their gender when they need it most. To truly be a feminist, we have to empower those who are in the most need.”

Referring to those who come to Rose Haven for help as “guests” is the first step, Starke said, in reclaiming their dignity. Most of the women who seek shelter have experienced some level of trauma and abuse. Domestic violence, Starke noted, is the primary factor forcing women to the streets. Rose Haven, funded entirely by private donations, fills gaps the government can’t and its services are crucial in a city overwhelmed by unhoused people.

The COVID-19 virus exacerbates an already dire situation. Many Rose Haven guests have endured almost two years of COVID restrictions and extreme weather events.

Denis Theriault is the communications coordinator for Multnomah County’s Joint Office of Homeless Services. Before the pandemic, the office reported close to 4,000 unhoused people with 1,478 identifying as women, nonbinary or transgender. Theriault said that number is likely to rise when the “Point in Time” street count, which began Jan. 26, is completed.

“It’s been a rough past two years with COVID,” Theriault said. “Everyone knows there is a homeless crisis. Only now, it is much more visible.”

Day shelters like Rose Haven help mitigate the crisis, Theriault said, and buy-in from the local community is vital.

“If we are waiting on the Joint Office of Homeless Services to do something then we as a society have already failed,” Theriault said.

The amount of tents and campers on sidewalks and along highways has grown in Portland and across the country. Outside of Rose Haven, police routinely respond to reports of people yelling throughout the night and early morning hours.

“People are literally relying on Rose Haven to survive and get any respite from the elements,” Starke said. “I think most people know the shelters are all at capacity with wait lists … but a lot of people don’t realize what that means for people. When the night shelters are full, people come to Rose Haven for camp gear and because we don’t have overnight beds, we don’t have a limit on how many people we can serve daily, so we truly are bridging the gaps in service (as) the only resource many can access at all.”

In 2021, Rose Haven operated on a $1.3 million budget with a small staff of 13 and close to 900 volunteers annually. During the day, guests wait outside — adhering to COVID guidelines — oftentimes in cold and rainy conditions. Once inside, guests can see a nurse, social worker, browse for new clothes, get food, a shower and emergency supplies.

More space was needed to address increasing demands for services than could be accommodated by the small Northwest Irving Street location.

“Just imagine having to explain sensitive personal information with only a small room divider separating you from the next person,” Starke said.

That’s one of the reasons Rose Haven is on the move. The organization is scheduled to shift operations to a much larger warehouse space 1.5 blocks away on the corner of Northwest 18th Avenue and Glisan Street. The new location, currently under construction, will increase capacity to 11,700 square feet. More importantly, it will ensure privacy for the shelter’s guests.

“We want to welcome our guests back indoors after nearly two years of literally being locked outside with little to no access to public indoor spaces,” Starke said. “The fact that it is being built for them, with a trauma-informed design, will make this transition easier.”

There are examples of guests turning their life around with the shelter’s help. Starke shared the story of Dorothy, a Rose Haven guest for the last three years, who benefitted from the shelter in many ways.

Dorothy was able to get a birth certificate and I.D., financial assistance, bicycle, haircuts, hygiene kits, meals, showers and mail service through Rose Haven, Starke said.

“We are so overjoyed to say that now Dorothy has housing and is in her own apartment,” Starke said. “Not only this, she is now a registered student at Portland Community College with the pursuit of getting her women’s studies degree, to support other women in our community.”

Dorothy stays in contact with Rose Haven through email and phone calls and still drops by to participate in her favorite activity — Soul Collage, an art project allowing guests to ground themselves in a creative way.

“I love the ladies at Rose Haven for doing an amazing job in making sure that our needs are being met,” Dorothy wrote in a letter to Rose Haven staff. “I am so extremely busy with doctor’s appointments, school, work and anything else in between which would be the grocery shopping. I am so shocked and stunned that I have come so far in my life, and that I have been so blessed to be a huge part of it. I am sending good vibes your way.

“I just think that there are miracles out there and if people change just a little bit and realize that there is a better life out there, somewhere in the universe. Just wanted to let you know there are good vibes coming in your direction.”

For Rose Haven, those good vibes will be celebrated during the March 8 grand opening of the new facility.

Progress is being made at the old site, too. As the “Point in Time” count ramps up, calls for federal aid have increased. Theriault said local housing authorities need to deploy emergency vouchers, authorized by Congress last May, to vulnerable people.

“We still have to get it through everyone’s head that housing is a right,” Theraiult said.

Read the full article here: https://www.streetroots.org/news/2022/02/02/rose-haven-move

KOIN 6 stopped by the new home for Rose Haven to capture the mural painting inside our building! We are so fortunate for our community’s support and coverage of this exciting journey. Watch the story by clicking here!

These murals will welcome our guests with dignity and help promote healing. Thank you Gensler Design for all the beautiful design work donated pro-bono!

We cannot wait to finally bring guests back inside after 2 years of serving on the sidewalk.

Grand opening March 8th!

Willamette Week Sheds Light On Higher Rates of Psychotic Episodes in Old Town Prompt Homeless Service Providers to Hatch Deescalation Plan

 

Old Town hosts the greatest concentration of homeless Portlanders in the city. Kerman and other providers say women are having psychotic episodes in Old Town at an unprecedented rate. The nonprofits don’t want to call police on homeless people in distress, but they’re also not trained to soothe the conflicts themselves.

Increasingly compounding traumas contribute to mental distress too, says Liz Starke, development director at Rose Haven, another homeless services nonprofit, in the Alphabet District. Such traumas include inescapable heat waves and social services closing their indoor spaces due to the pandemic.

Degradation on mental health has been really visible,” she says. And being a woman on the streets, Starke says, adds another layer of potential violence and vulnerability.”

Photo credits to OPB

Check out the full story below! Thank you Willamette Week and Sophie Peel!
https://www.wweek.com/news/2021/09/29/higher-rates-of-psychotic-episodes-in-old-town-prompt-homeless-service-providers-to-hatch-deescalation-plan/?mc_cid=349b9cb3ab&mc_eid=220518314e

KOIN interview

Rose Haven has been operating in a basement of a church with about 3500 square feet.

But with the help of design company Gensler Portland, they’re repurposing what used to be a coffee shop and roasting facility, making use of 10,000 square feet. The renovated building will provide necessary services to Rose Haven’s guests and create a compassionate and safe environment where they can heal with respect and dignity.

Pro bono design work has been offered by Gensler Portland for the renovated building.

KOIN interview

Sun Joo Kim, the design manager for Gensler Portland, said the biggest driver behind the new design was the people who it will serve.

“It’s energizing and uplifting for myself and our team to be able to work on trauma-informed design in this real-time in this real space with the users who will use it,” Kim said. “Then, to get feedback and to see the impact that this space will have is invaluable,” Kim said.

Thank you, Elise Haas and the KOIN6 crew!

If you would like to contribute to the Home for the Haven campaign’s renovation.

https://www.koin.com/local/multnomah-county/rose-haven-remodel-designed-for-people-it-will-serve/