Blair Best


PORTLAND, Ore. — After the city of Portland’s daytime ban on homeless camping on most city property was put on pause, some from the homeless community and advocacy groups are breathing a sigh of relief — for now.

A group of homeless Portlanders had sued the city, calling it unconstitutional given the lack of shelter space in Portland. A circuit court judge ruled in their favor, temporarily blocking the city from enforcing it.

“It’s unconstitutional. It is,” said Patrick, who is homeless. “We have the freedom to be, as long as we’re not making a mess, as long as we’re not destroying property; the spaces are here.”

In June, the city passed the ban; repeat violations of that ban would have resulted in fines or jail time. The city spent the summer and much of the fall in what they called an “educational phase,” where they informed homeless people about it, though many homeless people still know little about the ban. Then, at the end of October, the city announced they would begin enforcement on Nov. 13, but late Thursday afternoon, a judge blocked the city from doing that for the time being, arguing that the ban itself is unconstitutional.

“It’s super confusing, and it’s super stressful. People come here with a lot of anxiety already,” said Katie O’Brien, the executive director of Rose Haven, a day center for homeless women and children in Northwest Portland. She says they were bracing for an overwhelming demand in services if the ban went into effect.

“There was this relief that came with knowing that there was going to be a pause,” O’Brien added. She said she hopes the city will use this time to create a more organized approach to addressing homelessness, which she says recent efforts have lacked.

“Communication and coordination and additional resources being available is going to be the key to success in getting people off our streets,” O’Brien said.

Mayor Ted Wheeler issued a statement regarding Thursday’s ruling, saying in part, “I believe the status quo is not working, but the Court’s decision leaves the status quo in place. The City will abide by the Court’s preliminary order while continuing to fight in court for the City’s right to adopt reasonable regulations on unsanctioned camping.”

Last year, a group of Portlanders with disabilities sued the city over tents blocking ADA access on the sidewalks. A judge ruled in their favor, and the city agreed to clear those types of campsites. The lawyers behind that case tell KGW that an update on that is coming soon.


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The fate of the city’s daytime camping ban will be heard in court Thursday, Nov. 9 when a judge decides whether to temporarily block the ban from going into effect.

The camping ban is expected to go into effect on Monday, but has already impacted service providers, who say they are already at capacity. One shelter, Rose Haven, said people are afraid of their belongings being swept with no place to go during the day.

The impending decision follows a lawsuit from the Oregon Law Center that represented people who are homeless. A judge will hear arguments from them Thursday morning about whether the camping ban should be temporarily blocked until a full trial can be conducted.

In June, Portland City Council passed an ordinance to ban camping near public places from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. It also forbids camping near parks, docks, schools and construction zones. Those found violating the ban could be subject to a $100-dollar fine or 30 days in jail.

Since then, Development Director Liz Starke said Rose Haven has gotten especially busy.

“We’ve kind of turned into first responders, but that’s really not what our mission is,” she said. “We’re a community center.”

On Tuesday, the day shelter for women and children served a record 175 people. Starke believes Portland’s announcement of the camping ban and its pending enforcement are part of the reason why.

“As soon as they announced the camping ban, they didn’t really have to enforce it,” she said. “Word is on the streets and people are scared. So we are dealing with increased escalation, just really severe mental health needs because folks are afraid that their stuff is going to be thrown away”.

The lawsuit alleged that the ordinance is impossible to understand and the city hasn’t provided useful guidance on where people can camp.

The city has handed out informational packets telling people where they cannot camp during the daytime ban, but the suit says there’s little-to-no information about where people may otherwise go.

A map exists online, but OLC claims it directs people to private property where they are subject to trespassing.

And while the city does not comment on pending litigation, Portland attorneys said in a legal response that the lawsuit makes the ordinance appear more restrictive than it is.

The city and Multnomah County have allocated more than $3 million from the Supportive Housing Tax so people can store their belongings during the day, but Starke says there are not enough of those places for everyone who is homeless in the city.

Plus, she said it’s not easy for service providers to expand – especially Rose Haven, which tripled its capacity in 2022.

“We need more temporary shelter, we need more wraparound services, but we certainly need more daytime services if it is not legal to be in one place,” Starke said.



by: Andrew ForanKaitlin FlaniganBrandon ThompsonAimee PlanteJami Seymore


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A stay has been temporarily issued for the City of Portland’s controversial daytime camping ban that has seen delays in enforcement since its passage in June.

Judge Rima Ghandour was set to decide Thursday whether to temporarily block the city of Portland’s daytime camping ban from going into effect. The judge decided that none of the daytime camping ban can be enforced — at least for now.

The camping ban initially was slated to go into effect in July and was then expected to be enforced starting Monday. It bans camping near public places from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and those violating the ban could be subject to a $100 fine or 30 days in jail.

The judge’s decision comes after hearing arguments in connection with a lawsuit filed by the Oregon Law Center, who says people without homes are afraid to be fined or jailed if they are found to violate the ban.

“The status quo is bad for my clients, and the issue before the court is how much worse can it get if this ordinance is enforced and, unfortunately, it can get a lot worse,” Attorney Edward Johnson said.

The judge’s ruling will be in effect until the completion of a full trial over the law’s legality can be held.

enforcement affects guests


With less than a week until the city of Portland is set to begin enforcement of its daytime camping ban, intended to clear unhoused people from city streets and green spaces, a legal challenge could put those plans on hold.

A Multnomah County judge is scheduled to rule Thursday on a motion to pause the ban pending a trial over its constitutionality.

The Portland City Council approved restrictions on when and where people experiencing homelessness can place their belongings, sit or sleep in early June. The ordinance severely restricts where and how unhoused individuals can camp, particularly during the day.


City officials said at the time they would spend months educating community members about the ban before enforcing it, because getting more people into shelter, not criminalizing homelessness, was their goal. It wasn’t until last month that they announced plans to begin enforcement.

In late September, lawyers for a group of Portlanders experiencing homelessness filed a class action lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court challenging the new restrictions.

The Oregon Law Center, which is representing the plaintiffs, asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the city from enforcing the restrictions until the lawsuit is resolved.

The hearing on that request is scheduled for Thursday morning.

The lawsuit alleges the city’s camping restrictions violate current Oregon law and the state constitution because they subject people who are involuntarily homeless to unreasonable punishments – including potential fines and jail time – for engaging in unavoidable activities such as sleeping and staying warm and dry.

Federal judges in the 9th Circuit, which covers Oregon and eight other nearby states, have ruled that way, using cases out of Grants Pass and Boise to assert that cities can’t cite people for sleeping or existing on all public property if there are not enough shelter beds to accommodate them all.

The Portland ordinance forbids camping at any time in public parks or near schools, and it outlaws camping in any public place between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Once the city begins enforcing the rules, campers would receive two warnings if they break the regulations and a third violation could result in jail time or a fine.

Given that there are more unhoused Portlanders than there are shelter beds and the city lacks affordable housing, the city’s rules are unreasonable, the lawsuit alleges. Service providers and people with lived experience have said it is often not safe for homeless individuals to sleep at night, and instead many sleep during the day.

Officials at daytime centers that provide services, food and temporary cover from weather to unhoused Portlanders said they would welcome the additional time to prepare. Service providers feel it’s still too early to enforce the ban given that daytime centers have yet to expand their capacity, additional daytimes centers have yet to open and there still aren’t enough shelter beds to accommodate every Portland resident without a home despite hundreds of new beds added this year.
Cody Bowman, Mayor Ted Wheeler’s spokesperson, said the city is working quickly to add more shelter spaces. “The city of Portland is doing its share in getting more shelter spaces added,” Bowman said. “In the last six months alone, we have brought over 500 new spaces online.” An additional 200 shelter beds are slated to be added in the coming months through the city’s alternative shelter program.


Liz Starke, development director at Rose Haven, a women’s daytime center, said one of the city’s tactics to get unhoused people into shelters — telling them amid a tent sweep they need to enter one – could result in chaos.

Just last week, Starke recounted, “I was working with a lady in a wheelchair, she was elderly with no mobility, and she was swept and told to go to a shelter. When she got there, the shelter told her they couldn’t let her in without a referral, so she came to us. It doesn’t sound like the people doing sweeps were educated about our local resources.”

Even though enforcement of the camping ban hasn’t begun, Starke said the stress it places on people navigating homelessness has already manifested.

“People were immediately scared and we were seeing people’s mental health escalate with more crises,” she said. Rose Haven operates at its 150-person capacity each day, with people lined up outside the door waiting to get in, Starke said.

In anticipation of the increased demand for daytime shelter, the city worked with the county to secure $3.3 million from the voter-approved homelessness services tax in September to open or expand day centers.

Scott Kerman, director of homelessness services nonprofit Blanchet House, said the window to apply for that funding just opened Monday – a week before the enforcement is slated to start.

“I’m hopeful we’ll receive funding,” Kerman said. “However, I can’t speculate on the amount or how we might be able to use the funding.”

While many unhoused Portlanders seem to be aware of the ban and fearful of it, many don’t necessarily understand its nuances, Starke said. The city provided local nonprofits informational materials about the ban and maps showing where people will and will not be allowed to camp. However, Kerman said Blanchet House chose not to pass those out and instead will create their own materials that will be easier to understand.


“They may be useful in other locations and with other communities, but as for our meal service guests, we’llseek to design something ourselves … more visual with less text,” Kerman said.

Bowman said outreach teams have been working since June to educate unhoused Portlanders about how enforcement of the ban would work. Along with verbal communication, Bowman said the city printed and distributed more than 20,000 handouts.

Starting Monday, if a judge doesn’t halt enforcement, police will work with the city’s homelessness street coordination team to issue warnings and citations. Police will document each of them in a central records system, Bowman said.

Enforcement will narrowly focus on camps that present the highest health and safety risk, Bowman said, though he didn’t specify where those are. Unhoused Portlanders who accept offers of shelter will not be cited, he said.

Nicole Hayden reports on homelessness for The Oregonian/OregonLive. She can be reached at

helping neighbor

helping neighbor

The Power of Community in Action

Ridwell helps reduce waste through recycling and reusing!

collectingSince 2020 Ridwell has helped Rose Haven by collecting needed items such as coats, purses, jewelry and hygiene products!

Check out this article and learn more about Ridwell and its impact on the Rose Haven community!

Thank you Ridwell !

Amplifying Survivor Voices: Stories on the Intersection of Poverty and Domestic Violence

Amplifying Survivor Voices: Stories on the Intersection of Poverty and Domestic Violence

Women experiencing poverty and domestic violence have long been made to feel invisible. They are constantly judged, treated differently and isolated from the rest of society. This project works to lift up the voices of these women—to finally give them a platform to share their stories. Through reading and learning from these narratives, I hope you will be inspired to take action in any and every way you can. Volunteer. Donate. Use your voice and privilege to advocate for change. Accept these folks as your neighbors, not as a problem, because you never know what someone may be going through. 



My name is Cate Bikales and I am a college sophomore at Northwestern University, where I am studying journalism and political science. Growing up in Portland, Oregon, I have seen firsthand how the city’s shortage of affordable housing has contributed to homelessness. I have also seen how the city has struggled to listen to the voices of those who are experiencing that homelessness. Decisions like the recent daytime camping ban, which went into effect on July 1, leave those experiencing homelessness with no place to go, especially when most shelters in the area are already at capacity. 

I am passionate about giving voice to the people who are being directly affected by these decisions—people who have long been overlooked and underserved by society. 

This is why I began volunteering with Rose Haven Day Shelter and Community Center in my first year of high school. Rose Haven is Portland’s only day shelter and community center that serves women, children, and gender-diverse people who have been most marginalized by homelessness and other intersecting traumas. Rose Haven serves an average of 150 guests per day, providing them with a safe, trauma-informed space and access to meals, fresh sets of clothes, financial help, laundry machines, showers, an onsite clinic and more. 

After completing a year of college, I have realized I am interested in going into the field of law, with a focus on women’s rights. So, I rejoined the Rose Haven team this summer as an intern with a specific goal in mind: to speak to guests about their thoughts on and experiences regarding the intersection between poverty and domestic violence. Thus, this project was born. Through my writing, I hope to amplify the voices of those directly affected by poor policies, and inspire our community leaders to take action by prioritizing those who have been systematically marginalized.

“Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness in the U.S. for women”

Methodology and Outline

This project is based on guest testimonials conducted at Rose Haven in July of 2023. Guests were informed about the project I was conducting and chose to participate. Over the course of two, three hour days, I spoke with eight women about their experiences with domestic violence and poverty. Guests shared their stories, as well as ideas for how policymakers can decrease rates of poverty and domestic violence in Portland. Interviews were conducted in person and recorded, with permission, in order to be referenced when putting this project together. 

Seven of the eight women I spoke with have asked for anonymity due to the nature of their stories; however, one guest, Heidi Zieser, is eager for people to hear her story and her plans going forward. 

Thus, I will begin by telling Heidi’s story in full, before going into a summary of the thoughts and opinions of the seven other guests I had the privilege of speaking with. I will end my project with a summary of my thoughts, and a call to action. 

Please note that domestic violence and poverty can impact all genders. Due to the nature of my interviews, I will be focusing on the impacts of domestic violence and poverty on women specifically. 

“I go day by day, and I try to make each day the best day I can make it because I’m still walking this earth. I’m spreading my happiness.”

Facts and Figures

Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior used by people to control and maintain power over their intimate partners. It comes in many forms, either physical or psychological. Both can have lasting impacts.

According to a study conducted by Multnomah County in 2019, 1 of every 7 women aged 18-64 was physically abused by an intimate partner. This means that almost 28,000 women in Multnomah County (13.9%) were physically abused by their partners during the past year. Numbers likely rose during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Many are unaware that domestic violence and poverty are directly correlated. Experiencing both at the same time can exacerbate the impact of the abuse and cause an exceptional loss of resources for the survivor. Additionally, when women experiencing domestic violence flee their homes, they are often left with no place to go.  Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness in the U.S. for women.

It is important to note the racial disparities. National poverty rates by race were highest for American Indians and Alaska Natives (27.0 percent), followed closely by Blacks or African Americans (25.8 percent). A 2022 study by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research showed that Black women experience higher rates of domestic violence than any other race. It is unsurprising, then, that Black and Indigenous Americans are far more likely to experience homelessness than other groups.

Guest Testimonial: Heidi Zieser


“I go day by day, and I try to make each day the best day I can make it because I’m still walking this earth. I’m spreading my happiness.”

Despite enduring almost eight years of ongoing domestic violence from her abuser, 43-year-old Heidi Zieser maintains a positive, kind-hearted attitude toward life.  

Zieser moved to Portland from Dubuque, Iowa in April of 2017 with hopes of starting a new, better life—of “seeing the world.” But this dream was quickly shattered. Zieser stayed one night at Willamette Center Shelter but immediately felt uncomfortable and out of place. She and her boyfriend at the time eventually found a room to stay in at the Westwind Apartments in Portland’s Old Town. The abuse started soon after.  

Zieser immediately moved to a makeshift, self-built home in Tigard to get away, but the abuse followed.

“This gentleman just wouldn’t leave me alone,” Zieser said.

Zieser said the police department did little to help her. Her abuser was brought in with 40 charges against him, but was only sentenced for two. Instead of spending the five years in prison that he would have spent if charged for all 40, he only spent nine months. 

“I was so mad and angry about it—with him just getting away with everything,” Zieser said. “That’s the justice system. It looks down upon domestic violence and abuse victims.” 

In December of 2021, while still in prison, Zieser’s abuser got someone to burn her Tigard home down. In February of the following year, right after getting out of prison, her abuser burned down the second self-built home she was living in on 15th and Burnside, almost killing her and her dog.

Rose Haven was one of the few places that was able to help Zieser during this time, providing her with resources, food, clothes and a safe space to escape the abuse. However, Zieser said that this kind of support can only really help with the emotional scars, not the physical ones.

“Everything is so much harder,” she said. “My teeth and my body look so bad because my abuser has beaten me up so bad. I have burn marks all over me. He knocked my teeth out. People just judge really quickly.”

It was not only people walking by on the street who were quick to look down on Zieser. Five months ago, Zieser found out she was pregnant. She said the hospital neither told her she was pregnant, nor adjusted her medications to ensure the safety of the baby.   

“Folks that are living outside just don’t get treated the same way,” Zieser said. “It’s so hard.”

Zieser is currently living in Wisconsin, where she moved to once again get away from her abuser. Moving away has not made Zieser’s life any easier.

It was there that her neighbors tried to destroy her camper. It was there that she found out she had had a miscarriage. She had planned to name the baby Heavenly Rose, after Rose Haven.

Now, Zieser plans to return home to Portland. She has big plans for when she returns. 

“I want to make a GoFundMe and try to raise the money to get some innovations around Portland,” she said. “Enough money where I can go down and buy a big piece of property and put laundry [machines], showers, bathrooms, mental health support. A place where people can go and be safe and camp without getting messed around with by police officers.”

She plans to name the space Heavenly Rose PDX Foundation, in honor of her lost baby.

“This foundation will mean so much to me,” she said. “My unhoused friends and my unhoused community and family will finally have a safe place with access to a whole bunch of services.”

This is not the first time Zieser has worked to help her community. In August of 2022, Zieser helped arrange a street cleanup through We Heart Portland, a nonprofit that “organizes trash cleanups in our public spaces and offers resources to those in need,” according to their website. 

Through this organization, Zieser has also helped get homeless people off of the streets.

Zieser has faced massive hardship, but she said all she really wants is to help others, and to encourage people to listen to her story, and other stories like hers, before passing judgment.

“We are judged and treated differently from everybody else in the community,” she said. “But for a lot of us, it’s not our fault that we’re out there: domestic violence, evictions, criminal records, etc. People need to stop and realize that they can’t judge somebody before they know the real story.”

Additional Testimonials

blankHeidi Zieser is one of over 4000 guests who utilize Rose Haven’s services every year. Other guests shared their ideas with me about ways Portland can help both the homeless population, and the large number of people facing domestic violence. Many also shared with me why they believe it is so important for people to hear their stories.


Some guests offered solutions more directed towards domestic violence, while others discussed ways to fix Portland’s homelessness crisis.

Guest Testimonial #2


“Being able to come here is so helpful,” she said. “It’s nice just having the ability to come in and eat somewhere without having to watch your back—a safe space.”

One guest I spoke to told me about the 11 years of abuse she experienced. She said she tried to report the violence to the police, but they never listened.

“Even though there was evidence—it looked like there was a softball sticking out of my head from him hitting me—they didn’t do anything,” she said. “It’s just one of those things in life. His family had money and I didn’t have money, so they didn’t take me seriously.”

She said this intersection between poverty and domestic violence is far too common. She said the justice system should start taking domestic violence victims more seriously.

“Our lives should matter just as much as a man’s life matters,” she said.

She also said experiencing domestic violence, such as hitting or harassment, can make things like keeping a job extremely difficult. This makes it difficult to be financially independent. She said that, as someone already experiencing financial instability, that makes life just that much harder.

One solution she suggested was for the city to build and fund more domestic violence shelters where women can access resources, get help and “wind down.” She noted that Rose Haven is one of the few places that have given her that space.

“Being able to come here is so helpful,” she said. “It’s nice just having the ability to come in and eat somewhere without having to watch your back—a safe space.”

Guest Testimonial #3

Another guest talked to me about her experience with PTSD following an abusive first relationship and watching her mother experience 30 years of battering.

She said this trauma is directly related to the poverty she experiences.

“The long term effects of my PTSD have directly inhibited me—I’ve had to leave employment because of triggers,” she said. “I’ve been adversely affected by [my violent relationship] for decades. I’m 55 and it happened to me when I was 28, and I’m still affected by it.”

She said that one way domestic violence shelters and women’s shelters could help domestic violence victims would be to educate their guests about PTSD, and to provide services to help women experiencing it. She said getting an education about PTSD has helped her to adapt to living with it.

She said the biggest way community members can help people experiencing domestic violence is by understanding their misconceptions related to abuse. 

“A lot of [people] view women that stay in relationships as unwilling to get out of it. They don’t understand that usually a batterer makes you think that you need them to survive,” she said. “People need to be educated about that and not be as judgmental towards their peers that are trapped in those situations.”

Guest Testimonial #4


“There’s a lot of people that I know would be able to help but don’t because they think that they need to do something big, but it doesn’t have to be. I appreciate even a smile.”


The next guest I spoke to discussed how her experiences with her abusive girlfriend have led her to where she is now: living with her elementary-age son in a shelter and struggling to keep her job.

She said she believes it is extremely important for people to hear stories like hers.

“Some people may not ever experienced [homelessness or domestic violence], but they’re still able to help,” she said. “There’s a lot of people that I know would be able to help but don’t because they think that they need to do something big, but it doesn’t have to be. I appreciate even a smile.”

She said Portland’s top officials can help to serve domestic violence victims and people experiencing homelessness by asking them directly what they need, not by deciding on solutions on their own.

“It would be helpful [for Portland’s leaders] to create partnerships with places like Rose Haven,” she said. “Then they could ask people like me directly, ‘What can we do to help?’”

Guest Testimonial #5

I spoke to a guest who said she has been “violated” in many ways, including suffering through two abusive relationships and finding out five of her family members had been killed.

She said people should hear her story “so they don’t have to suffer what I suffered.”

She said she has taken the trauma from these experiences and channeled them into doing good for the world. She encourages other survivors to do the same.

“If you are abused and violated by your parents…you do one of three things,” she said. “(i) You become a drug addict, (ii) you become a perpetrator of domestic violence and child abuse yourself, or (iii) you do what I did: you become a human rights activist; you become a humanitarian.”

Guest Testimonial #6

One guest told me that she had to leave Portland because the domestic violence she was facing was so bad. She said that people tend to turn a blind eye to those that need help.

“I had a gun to my head. People were around—they saw me. They didn’t do anything,” she said. 

While she struggled to come up with a solution to the domestic violence issue, she offered a solution to Portland’s homelessness issue.

“The community thinks they’re creating change by putting all this money and everything into creating more committees, more departments, etc,” she said. “But the money is not going to affordable housing, and if it’s not going to housing, it’s not going to be successful.”


Guest Testimonial #7

The next guest I spoke to said she did not get justice when she brought her abuser to court. 

She said she feels it is important for people to hear the opinions of those experiencing domestic violence and homelessness firsthand. She said she hopes it will influence local government officials to make real, positive change.

One suggestion she gave that she hopes Portland City Council will take into consideration is providing a space for people to camp if they are not allowed to camp on the streets during the day. She also suggested offering domestic violence victims more easy access to resources.

“Offering people services is the first step,” she said. “I mean, you can’t force someone to take help, but they might accept it.”

Guest Testimonial #8

The final guest I spoke to cried as she exclaimed her thoughts on the abuse domestic violence victims face: “They’re hopeless. They should be able to get the help they need before it gets to that.”

She said that abuse victims and those experiencing homelessness are at a severe disadvantage to those who have food, water and a safe space to live readily available to them. 

“The city needs to be providing people equal access to what they need—transportation, housing, etc.,” she said. “They need to help people take that step to get where they need to be.”

She also said how important she thinks it is for regular people, not just people holding powerful positions in government, to withhold judgment against those who may not look perfect, or those who are living outside.

“People should keep looking for the good in people, and I think all of us should feel happy if we help someone,” she said. “Even by doing something small. Sometimes the small things get overlooked. You never know what someone is going through.”


I came into this project hoping to hear the stories of those who have experienced domestic violence and/or homelessness. I got that, and so much more.

Each guest I spoke to was so kind and passionate about their ideas, and so interested in telling me their story. When I began conducting interviews, I thought I would be lucky if I was able to get even two people to speak with me. I was able to speak to eight. This was not just luck. These women were eager and willing to share their stories.

They want people to know their stories so that these people can understand what domestic violence victims and unhoused people go through.

They want people to know their stories in hopes that people will withhold judgments before hearing the whole story.

They want people to know their stories so that people can use them to develop solutions that will actually help, not harm, unhoused folks like them.

After hearing these guest’s various struggles, from not being taken seriously by the institutions and systems they put their trust into (i.e., police, hospitals) to simply feeling like they are not being seen or heard, I have come to realize just how important this project really is. 

I want people to read these stories and take what they have learned to heart—to implement it in a positive way.

To those who may pass someone struggling on the street, do not be so quick to judge. Oftentimes, it is not the person’s fault that they are where they are. And remember, small acts of kindness mean a lot. You never know what these people have gone, and continue to, go through.


To Portland’s city leaders, listen to these stories and remember them. Keep them in mind when you are making decisions that might affect these people. Help create more spaces where domestic violence victims and unhoused people feel safe. And provide more funding and resources for spaces like that that already exist. Places like Rose Haven.

Rose Haven helped save Heidi Zieser’s life, and it continues to do so today. Rose Haven is helping the seven other people I spoke to for this project, and so many more. Domestic violence and homelessness are rampant in Portland, but places like Rose Haven mean so much to those going through tough times.

If you would like to make a donation in honor of Heidi and the 4000 guests Rose Haven serves each year, please visit Rose Haven’s donation page.  

I would like to end this project with a few quotes from the guests I spoke to about what Rose Haven means to them. I hope you will be inspired to create more safe spaces in Portland for women like Heidi and the others to feel safe and welcome.


“[Rose Haven] has saved my life—having a safe place where women can meet without threat. A lot of times a woman with PTSD will go to access services but get freaked out just being in the presence of some men, so they’ll deny themselves services to avoid those triggers. So places like this make a huge difference.” 


“Rose Haven means a lot to me. They have done so much for me, especially people like [Development Director] Liz Starke. Liz is one of the best people out there. I love her to death. Rose Haven is a big inspiration to me and just talking to people like Liz makes my day when I’m sad.”


Rose Haven really provides so much for women, even without any external/governmental support [outside of donations].”


“[Rose Haven] has helped me with transportation and some of my bills and things like that. It’s a place where I can just sit and calm down. It’s a much appreciated space, but there needs to be more places like it in Portland.”


Further Reading:

Gloria Estefan

MIAMI – Leaders from women’s shelters across the country convened in Miami on Wednesday.

They’re working to tackle the nation’s homelessness crisis, and a South Florida icon was there to bring awareness to the cause.

“We need to help these women, these children,” said superstar singer Gloria Estefan. “We need to help the homeless in whatever way we can. We’re seeing that it’s becoming the next plague, really.”

Members of the National Women’s Shelter Network, representing nearly 200 shelters and programs from across the country, gathered in Miami for their first ever conference.

“In the wake of the pandemic, and decades of failed social and public policies, homelessness is reaching epic levels across our nation, impacting, most severely, women and children,” said Constance Collins, NWSN President and Founder of Lotus House.

Collins said more than 1 million women, and more than 2.5 million children, experience homelessness each and every year across the country.

She calls it a “growing crisis.”

“We as a group are the last and final resort,” said Collins. “The final safety net from the streets for countless vulnerable women and children in communities across our country and we need help.”

The goal is to map out real-world solutions, things like funding, readily available affordable housing, access to mental and physical health care, educational and childcare services and post-shelter support.

The initiative, as evidenced by Estefan’s involvement, is already gaining star-powered support.

“There is unity, strength in unity, and that’s what they’re doing, they’re banding together,” said Estefan. “People that are working on the front lines, boots on the ground, in different cities, banding together to see how they can make things better for women and children, all across the nation.”

Watch Full Video

Bybee Lakes Hope Center

KGW8 reports news that Multnomah County is sitting on $65 million meant for homeless services, while Bybee Lakes Hope Center has asked for $5 million of that to keep their doors open.

Rose Have guest, Katherine Wheeler was once on the streets and told KGW that places like these are life-changing.

“Having a shelter, having a place to call home … just having a spot to be able to lay to rest and not have to stress that you’re going to be out on the streets, beat up, raped or hurt,” Wheeler said.

But on Monday, Helping Hands stopped taking any new admissions to their shelters, citing a lack of funding.

“The money is going out faster than it’s coming in, so we’ve had to make the call for the time being to halt services that we provide while we come up with a solution to our financial issues,” Evans said.

Meanwhile, Multnomah County is still debating how to spend $65 million unspent dollars intended for homeless services. Evans is asking for $5 million of that. They currently get nothing from the county. Without that infusion, Evans said that they could be forced to close their doors in three weeks.

It’s an unexpected timeline that hijacks Portland’s homeless day centers, like Rose Haven and Greater Good Northwest, who often send people to overnight shelters like Bybee Lakes.

“When there are less and less resources available, that impacts all of the nonprofits in our community and our houseless neighbors more than anything,” added Liz Starke, development director at Rose Haven.

Day centers like these two in downtown Portland said that Bybee Lakes Hope Center is one of the few shelters where they can typically get someone in immediately.

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Acquisition International - Non-profit Organisation Awards

The Acquisition International Non-Profit Organisation Awards 2023 seeks to reward the most innovative, creative and compassionate NPOs, and provide a platform for NPOs to demonstrate that they are true leaders within the non-profit sphere.

This year, Rose Haven is honored to received the Most Compassionate Trauma Informed Care Organisation 2023 – Pacific Northwest USA.

Acquisition International - Non-profit Organisation Award

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Watch the full interview