two women posing

HereTogether Oregon, a local grassroots organization with the mission of helping our houseless neighbors, recently made a visit to Rose Haven to interview our staff and share our services model and values. They detail our history, our campaign to move into our new Home for the Haven, challenges that our houseless community faces, and how Rose Haven compassionately serves our guests. Read the full article from HereTogether at this link!


The line outside Rose Haven (RH) on NW Glisan Street in Portland wraps around the sidewalk. It includes women and gender nonconforming folks of all ages, as well as children and strollers. RH, at the corner of NW Glisan and 18th, is more than a day shelter. It is a sanctuary for those experiencing trauma, poverty, and homelessness; a place where they don’t need to hide who they are. RH serves up to 120 people each day.

RH clients check in at the front desk when they arrive and conduct an intake with a social worker on their first visit. These advocates work with individuals to connect them with resources that provide financial support for getting an ID, medical assistance, utilities, and counseling services. For those who need transportation, bus tickets are available. RH has built a relationship of trust with guests as well as other organizations they partner with. On-site medical care is provided through partnership with nursing schools including at University of Portland, Clackamas Community College, and Concordia St. Paul University. There are also regular visits from a mobile Dental Van and Covid vaccine clinics.

Their model is built on collaboration with partner agencies rather than a duplication of services. Individual needs vary and RH is ready to help on a first come first served basis. Staff and volunteers make guests comfortable and attend to their basic needs first while building trust, and then get to the next steps. Development Director Liz Starke emphasizes the value of uplifting people and connecting them with their humanity.

Services at RH include showers, “shopping” in the boutique, meals, laundry, device charging, using the guest phone, and locked day-time storage of items like suitcases that are difficult to carry all day. Breakfast and lunch are cooked by volunteers under the supervision of staff and served daily. Hygiene supplies are available along with showers. Food is provided by Gleaning Partnerships, which is a food recovery program; fresh food donated from farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and restaurants nearing expiration that can be eaten immediately. Some women have mail service at RH, which means they can pick up mail there five days a week.

There are three private showers with soft towels and vanity tables nearby, complete with makeup, nail polish, and hairdryers. The opportunity to get a clean, private shower and use beauty products uplifts the guests and ensures their dignity. There is a game and craft room that includes sewing machines and fabric. Nearby, a computer room is set up for working on resumes and job research. The space includes 2 washers and dryers along with clothing giveaways. Diapers are often in stock, and kids’ clothes are sorted into boxes.

Adults get to “shop” in the boutique for 20 minutes every two weeks, choosing 3 new outfits.

Guests can choose to “shop” in the boutique twice a month for new outfits.
RH is always looking for clothing donations as well as outdoor gear, such as sleeping bags. Luggage is another item in high demand. When donations are dropped off at the loading dock, volunteers quality check each item. RH partners with organizations that accept clothing donations so they have a place to send overflow donations as well as access to clothing items they need. These are The Arc Portland Metro, Dress for Success, and William Temple House. Those considering donating should sort clothing and make sure it is clean before bringing items here; being sensitive and intentional about condition makes less work for volunteers and saves time.

Donations of high-quality, gently used clothing are always welcome at Rose Haven.
RH was formerly housed in the 3700 square foot Immanuel Lutheran Church basement a block away. The church basement could barely fit all the services and guests along with staff, but served 3700 people in 2019. At the beginning of the pandemic, they moved outside to the sidewalk for two years so they could keep COVID distancing protocols in place, and it soon became apparent that they needed a bigger space. In 2021, 2122 people were served from the sidewalk. They expect to help many more this year! Now RH is in a building that used to house World Cup Coffee, blending in with businesses along NW Glisan. The building has 10,000 square feet with room for 202 people at once, and this location opened on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2022. The new space gives RH a chance to add more services in the future, such as a mental health program. Guests are more comfortable here with room to move around.

The physical shelter space is beautiful and soothing, following a trauma informed design to promote healing in the facility. A mural of flowers covers the bright walls; these were painted by volunteers, staff, and guests. Pale pink and neutral colors have a calming effect. Instead of harsh fluorescent lights, soft circle lights hang from the ceiling. The main area is wide and open with plenty of room for guests to line up to access services, relax on the couches, and visit. This new, open space feels pleasant and nurturing while a buzz of organized activity carries on, especially when compared to the small church basement.

Beautiful rose murals across the new space were pained by volunteers, staff and guests of Rose Haven.
Within the first three months in the new space, 200 new guests came to RH. That makes for a longer line on the sidewalk, and this visibility has brought some pushback from neighbors, even though RH is in the same neighborhood where it was for years– with no complaints. RH acts as a “triage center,” helping many women and their children to get the resources they need, including opportunities for housing. Each person RH serves has their own story and their own circumstances that brought them here. Women are extremely vulnerable on the streets and are often referred to as the hidden homeless. This is because many choose to stay hidden. Intentionally protecting themselves from abusers by staying out of the way means they don’t always get the help they need. RH provides a safe space for them.

In hopes of establishing communication and building acceptance of the facility, RH sends out a newsletter to nearby businesses and residents. They also reach out with events that are open to the public. RH hosts an open house on the third Thursday of each month. Yearly events include a Reigning Roses Walk to honor special women on Mother’s Day, a summer picnic, and the Timbers and Thorns joined recently for Stand Together Week. On August 18, RH will participate in a sustainable fashion show outside the Moxy Hotel as part of Portland’s Fashion Week. Anyone purchasing a ticket who uses the code rosehaven will get a 10% discount on their ticket, and 50% of the proceeds will go to funding RH services for women and children.

RH Development Director Liz Starke shared that there are times when staff have had to de-escalate situations with women who are suffering from trauma and mental health challenges. Recently this involved a woman who was emotionally distraught. RH staff met her where she was, stayed with her, and listened. Because she was in a safe space, she was able to calm down, and she thanked them for hearing her. Compassionate responses like this are the default at RH; safe containment of situations that could potentially escalate into bigger incidents.

Almost 1,000 volunteers work at RH each year, and 17 employees keep the place running, several with their own offices. Many of the high level donors are volunteers, and guests often come back when they can to volunteer; they have lived experiences to share with guests. Funding comes from private donations; individuals, businesses, and foundations.

Community is the heart of RH, and they are about to celebrate their 25-year anniversary of compassionate service. According to Liz Starke, success can look different for each individual who is part of the RH community. For some, they may get into housing quickly and not return. For others, the first thing they do when they are housed is to come back and show off their keys. It could also look like the elderly woman who comes here every single day to have coffee and get clean socks.

The Community Agreement is key to this place and everyone signs it; guests, volunteers, employees. Anyone can schedule a tour by emailing Liz Starke at


We are so grateful for the ways that local community organizations come together to educate our neighbors and support one another. Thank you HereTogether for connecting with us and spreading the word about Rose Haven!

KGW 8 came by Rose Haven to see our new home at 1740 NW Glisan St. to interview former guest and now Board Member, Cody Jane Baker!


Cody Jane is such an incredible woman celebrating 5 years of sobriety, managing centralized screening at Legacy Health, and taking action to give back to our community. Cody Jane has so much love for Rose Haven and we are overjoyed to have her be a part of our Board of Directors.

Check out the story to hear Cody Jane’s perspective on the homeless crisis in Portland and what Rose Haven is doing about it!

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:

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! 

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.

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!

Longtime and generous partner, Corkscru Wine, has created a pinot noir six-pack in honor of Rose Haven, and our new home! The Haven Pinot Noir comes in a six-pack, comprised of two bottles each of the ’15, ’16, and ’18 vintages, and will be sold for $100. Shipping to any West Coast address is included in this price.

For every six-pack sold, Rose Haven will receive our entire profit of $25.


Corkscru Wine has a goal to sell 500 six-packs, raising $12,500 in support of Rose Haven. We are so grateful to the owners Elizabeth and Dan Beekley for showing us so much love over the years and the creation of this wine to celebrate our new home!