KATU 2 - Rose Haven opens day shelter in Portland

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 Story - Katie O'Brien

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.

A Newly Designed Women’s Shelter Opens Its Doors in Portland

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 partnered with Freja Cellars to create a pinot noir in honor of Rose Haven, and our new home! The Haven Pinot Noir can be bought in single bottles of 2018 vintage or in a six-pack of 3 x 2018 vintage and 3 x 2015 vintage for $100. Shipping to any West Coast address is included in this price.


For every bottle sold, Rose Haven will receive a profit of $5!


For every six-pack sold, Rose Haven will receive a 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!


Sun Joo Kim, the design manager for Gensler Portland

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.

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.



OPB Think Out Loud- Organizations Urge Donors To Be Mindful About Reuse

blankOrganizations that take in-kind donations are often in the awkward position of declining items that actually belong in the trash. Thrift stores and community centers want gently used items that they can feel good about passing along to new owners. And while some donors do their homework to find out what these organizations actually need, many are mainly focused on getting rid of stuff they’d rather not throw away. This means volunteers have to spend a lot of time sorting through donations and nonprofits have to spend money getting rid of large items they can’t use. We hear more about how to donate used goods responsibly from Community Warehouse program manager Joe GlodeMarie Ellsworth, in-kind donations coordinator for Rose Haven and Carrie Hoops, executive director of William Temple House.

Thank you OPB and Julie Sabatier!

Below is the podcast from OPB


Photo credits from Courtesy Goodwill / OPB and Good Housekeeping (google image)

2021 Heatwave

Extreme heat further complicates the lives of homeless women and LGBTQ+ people

The staff of a Portland, Oregon, day center for people experiencing homelessness has worked through a heat wave this week. –Barbara Rodriguez


Liz Starke was the final employee to leave Rose Haven last week when a woman who lives in a tent across the street rang the doorbell. The woman was “hysterical,” Starke recalled.

Starke said the woman told her, “‘I don’t know how I’m going to make it through the weekend. You’re not going to be here. What am I going to do?’”

Rose Haven provides daytime services to women, children and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness in Portland, Oregon, one of the most expensive cities in the country. In this case, the woman knew an ex-partner, who she said abused her, was getting released from prison soon — and she was worried about what services would be available. She was also worried about the pending heat wave.

Officials in Oregon said rising temperatures in the area — which reached a record 116 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday — has been linked to at least 79 deaths. That includes at least 52 in Multnomah County, where Portland is located. With many properties in the region lacking air conditioning, exposure to extreme heat increases the risks of injury, including death.

As extreme heat blanketed the Pacific Northwest, people who rely on places like Rose Haven have faced the brunt of the effects. Research shows women and LGBTQ+ people are among the most vulnerable to housing insecurity and homelessness. That is particularly acute in Oregon, which has one of the highest rates of people who experience unsheltered homelessness, meaning they live outside, including in tents or in cars instead of in shelters or other housing.

In Multnomah County, data from 2019 shows the number of people experiencing homelessness who are gender non-conforming grew more than any other group. And still, the research acknowledges a potential undercounting because of factors like stigmatization and discrimination.

Already, the pandemic and its effects on health, jobs and wages has exacerbated the likelihood that these marginalized communities are most likely to experience housing insecurity or homelessness. Gender-based violence, including domestic violence against women, also contributes to homelessness. Now, climate change has further complicated their lives.

“The heat wave is one disaster, but if you’re looking at it as part of a continuum of all these other climate-related or climate exacerbated disasters, it’s yet another example of how the most marginalized populations are hit over and over and over again,” said Sarah Saadian, vice president of public policy at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Starke ended up giving the woman from across the street some bus tickets so she could travel to a temporary cooling center set up by local officials. But the woman worried about whether her dog would be allowed (many centers did allow pets during the heatwave, though not everyone knew that), and whether her tent and other belongings would be stolen if left unattended. Starke emptied a wheelbarrow from the center, packed some water and tarps, and pleaded with the woman to seek more protection from the heat. Starke said they sat and talked for about an hour, until the woman stopped hyperventilating.

“There’s nobody else for these people to have these conversations with,” Starke said. “She only has access to a phone when she charges here, so she didn’t even know that it was going to be 115 degrees on Saturday.”

These are the daily realities of the individuals and families who come to Rose Haven, which operates out of the basement of a Portland church on the northwest side of the city. Since staff provide the bulk of their services outside due to limited volunteers and COVID-19, the heat has added another layer of hardship.

People in line this week have been handed cold water, spray bottle fans, popsicles and wet towels to cool off. They’ve been given hats and baseball caps, sunglasses and sunscreen. But supplies are limited. Every week, Rose Haven shares a list of donation requests with the public: rolling luggage, carts, backpacks. Body wipes and lip balm. Ankle socks and new underwear.

Rose Haven is open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. People line up outside the church before staff arrives and linger after it closes. Adults and children make their way through several designated lines, including one for supplies like diapers, wipes, pads and tampons — things they’re unable to buy with food stamps. This is also where they can also plug their phones if they have one, and where Rose Haven staff and volunteers provide tents and sleeping bags. Many of the overnight shelters do not have enough beds; housing advocates say in other instances, women and LGBTQ+ people especially do not feel safe or welcome in such congregate settings.

Starke said the staff, volunteers and people experiencing homelessness who come for the services — Rose Haven calls them their guests — are a community. Unlike some other facilities that offer assistance, no one is required to show identification or disclose information about their mental health or immigration status in order to access food, showers or counseling.

“We’re building each other up, and we’re living that shared experience as women or as people that are marginalized by their gender. Combined with access that we provide to not only basic needs services, but just things that make you feel human,” she said. “… I try to explain to folks what our needs are. It’s like, ‘Yeah. We need flat shoes. We need sweatpants. We need all of those essential things. We also need glitter. I cannot tell you what a little bit of glitter does around here.”

Rose Haven fills a gap in services — one that will become even more critical due to climate change and looming housing evictions.

Scientists say 2020 was Earth’s second hottest year on record, behind only 2016. The world’s seven warmest years have all occurred since 2014.

This has a ripple effect in the United States, where rising temperatures are being recorded in parts of the country where more than half of the homeless populations are unsheltered — including California, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, Arkansas and Arizona. States with the largest absolute increases in homelessness between 2019 and 2020 include Texas and Washington, other states recording extreme heat.

As climate change exacerbates the effects of weather events like flooding, hurricanes and wildfires, it increases the likelihood of more displaced people who are facing housing insecurity and homelessness.

And while the federal government has extended a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic and approved billions in rental assistance, advocates have raised questions about whether everyone who needs financial help will be able to access it and how quickly they will have that relief. Saadian said it all points to “gaping holes” in the federal housing safety net. She and other advocates worry about impending evictions.

“It’s that same failure that is allowing people to be unhoused during an extreme heat wave, and the same sort of holes that let people be at huge risk of losing their homes during the pandemic,” she said. “I think it just points to the fact that we’ve just never had this sort of infrastructure in place and if we did, people would be far better off to face any of these challenges.”

Jaboa Lake, a senior policy analyst with the Center for American Progress, works on housing issues and has close family that have experienced unsheltered homelessness in extreme heat. She said a general drop in volunteers at homeless shelters during the pandemic — a point Starke also described at Rose Haven — highlighted inequities in how local, state and federal officials fund critical public services that can house people immediately and address other related needs.

“Homelessness services shouldn’t be dependent on volunteerism in the first place,” she said. “It should be a robust investment that provides adequate resources.”

Saadian added that housing organizers are particularly dismayed at policies implemented on the local and state level that have effectively criminalized people who experience homelessness. Some policies ban tents, while others have prevented them from lingering or sleeping in public spaces.

“There’s a lot of cruelty I think in that,” she said. “That’s really at the heart of it. Whether or not communities understand that these are people who have dignity and humanity and need access to resources to help them get back on their feet.”

This leads to more encampments being dismantled (local officials have defended their actions as necessary to public safety), increasing the likelihood that homeless people move further into forms of hiding from plain sight. Starke worries that can make them more susceptible to the outside elements.

“I mean, when you don’t even have protection from the elements, when you don’t even have a tarp or a hoodie or a pair of shoes, what is that going to mean when it’s 115 degrees outside?”

Rose Haven will soon leave the basement. It is in the midst of a $3 million campaign to build a new center across the street that they plan to open in the new year. The new center will allow people to once again receive services indoors and under extended hours. Organizers are raising money in part through private donations.

Starke worries about what will happen until then. Climate change has ramifications not just with extreme heat. In a few months, there’s also the possibility of extreme cold.

The uncertainty of available beds and services frustrates Starke. Sometimes she and staff receive calls from people asking about open shelters in the area. Most often, the staff doesn’t have promising news to share.

“I think that’s the hardest part. You’re having these conversations where you’re supposed to be the rock. I’m supposed to be like, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ And I have to be like, ‘I don’t know what to tell you.’”


Rose Haven’s Back to School Drive brings backpacks, supplies to 400 kids

Rose Haven serves people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Portland.

blankLast year, the Oregon Department of Education tallied more than 21,000 homeless students between kindergarten and high school.

“This is an annual event for us that we’re just so excited to provide. This year, we have about 400 children signed up for brand new school supplies from about 100 different families,” said Liz Starke, Rose Haven’s Development Director. “So it’s a really exciting day for us because what we try to do is make sure that every single supply is brand new so we can promote dignity for these kids.”

All the students are pre-registered to pick up the supplies and can even handpick their own backpacks, Starke said.

Thank you KOIN6 and Danny Peterson!!

Photo credit to KOIN6

To reach the article: https://www.koin.com/news/education/rose-havens-back-to-school-drive-brings-backpacks-supplies-to-400-kids/

To watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbKIK_vy80Y