Adjusting to Meet Emergent Needs

If there is one thing that Rose Haven has mastered, it is the ability to adapt. This has never been more evident than during this current COVID-19 epidemic. As the days became weeks and the weeks are becoming months, we have continued to learn how to better, and more relevantly, serve in this new climate. No two days are alike, and each day we have the opportunity to talk directly with women and families who are chronically or newly homeless. We hear first-hand what challenges they are facing, and we navigate these unchartered waters with them.
As a result of these conversations and our observations, Rose Haven made the decision to revise its annual budget in April, allocating 54% more funds to direct services. As an emergency triage center in midst of a global pandemic, we are of the mindset, if not now, when?
Rose Haven is proud to be offering more:
•    Hotel Vouchers – providing safety for women and families fleeing domestic violence which is amplified during the “shelter in place” order
•    Rental Assistance – doubling our rental support program to keep people in housing
•    Utilities Support – keeping the lights on and water running for families living in poverty
•    Storage Unit Assistance – helping people who have lost their housing not lose all their belongings as well
•    Education and employment support – providing uniforms, food handlers cards, online education to those able to work or continue their education
•    Medical Emergency Support – helping refill prescriptions to keep people on vital medications and supplying guests with needed first aid supplies
•    Prepaid Phones – providing temporary phones for people in crisis
•    Sustenance  – doubling our investment in nutritious breakfast and lunches
•    Outdoor Supplies – acquiring more tents, tarps, and sleeping bags to make people as comfortable as possible while enduring this time outside
The outpouring of love from you and others in our Rose Haven community have given us the confidence to do this. We know you are with us, and will stay with us as long as it takes to care for our guests. Thank you for your trust in us. With each passing day, we are thankful to serve.

With gratitude,

Katie O’Brien, Executive Director


Rose Haven Friends,

Together we are navigating a challenging time in our community and in our world. As with most social service agencies, this coronavirus pandemic has led to a lack of human and in-kind resources for Rose Haven at a time when demand is high and will inevitably be growing.

There are serious concerns about the lack of shelter beds available, and this problem will get worse before it gets better. Overnight shelters for those without a home are even more scarce right now. Existing shelters are not accepting any new people, and are trying to distance those who are already there. In addition, we anticipate the number of people experiencing housing, food insecurity and trauma to escalate as the economic toll of this public health crisis evolves.

Rose Haven is heavily reliant on volunteer support, and for understandable reasons this has nearly evaporated for us. Additionally, we are having trouble providing adequate space within our tiny shelter for social distancing. We know it is in our communities’ best interest to temporarily alter Rose Haven’s service model to protect the health of our guests, volunteers and staff.

The good news is that Rose Haven will be continuing to offer services. Our hours of operation will be 9-11am and 1-3pm Monday through Friday until further notice.

Services will include:

At the door support – including nutritious food, water, emergency clothing, diapers, wipes, hygiene products, mail service, pet food and other needed items
Bathrooms and hand washing sink usage inside
Outdoor supplies including tents, tarps, sleeping bags (as supplies last)
Additional direct service allocations for rental and utility assistance
Love…’cause everyone can use more of this right now!

For those of you in a position to support our women, children and gender diverse guests, help can be provided by:

Ordering needed supplies from our Amazon Wish List to support those with no alternatives but to live outside
Making a financial donation to provide rental assistance and utilities support to people at risk of losing their homes

Please note: We are not accepting donations of general clothing, children’s clothing and household items through March in order to focus on high priority needs.

Although we are facing some great obstacles, I feel honored to serve alongside a truly selfless staff at Rose Haven who are prioritizing this mission work. And, as an agency completely reliant on community to exist, I am in awe of the kindness and generosity of people like you during a time when everything feels so fragile. Together we are stronger.

Thank you with all my heart,

Katie O’Brien

Executive Director

Rose Haven Community,

Near the end of February, the Rose Haven staff determined that over the next month we were going to prioritize getting organized at the shelter – cleaning out old files, organizing office spaces, majorly revamping our in-kind donations area, etc. We deemed it “March Madness”. Little did we know that “March Madness” would take on an entirely different meaning. In true Rose Haven fashion our staff, volunteers and supporters shifted gears and rose to this new and unforeseen challenge.

During March, Rose Haven provided life-saving support to 503 women and children, who collectively visited 1,478 times. We distributed hundreds of sleeping bags, tarps and tents. We provided comprehensive hygiene kits with hand sanitizer and other essentials. We kept our bathrooms open, cleaned and constantly sanitized. We provided mail services and charged cell phones. We served thousands of hot, nutritious meals that provided nourishment to body and soul. We did this with a handful of volunteers and a tiny, yet determined, staff.

As we enter April, we anticipate continuing to pivot as needed. It is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. While acknowledgement of this will inevitably be buried amongst all the COVID-19 media, let us recognize “Shelter in Place” can be very dangerous for those living in abusive households. Suicide hotlines are fielding 51% more calls, and compared to the same time period from last year, domestic violence arrests are up 27%.  Violence is escalating, and women and families are more trapped than ever.  Just yesterday I answered the door after hours to someone fleeing abuse. After spending an hour exhausting all the domestic violence resource options available (to no avail), I was able to find one open mat at a co-ed shelter way across town. I felt lucky to find her respite for the night…but that is the extent of how long it would last. The next day she will have no options again. The work continues.

The Rose Haven community is always there for people in their greatest time of need. Now is no exception. It is beyond crushing to have no viable indoor options for people experiencing extreme trauma in this COVID-19 moment. And to provide much needed advocacy and comfort from a distance of 6 feet feels so unnatural, so unlike Rose Haven. But safety is essential, so from 6 feet we remind our guests of their value, at a time when they are greatly questioning this. While we are unable to physically wrap our arms around people, we are embracing them with words of encouragement and hope from the Rose Haven community. We remind them they are loved  by us and all of you. Your compassion for them is confirmed with every box of supplies we receive, every donation we get online, every phone call asking what more you can do. We know you feel at a distance from us, yet we feel your embrace.

Between the devastatingly hard conversations, we are finding moments of laughter, community and gratitude. Thank you for allowing us to continue this work. Rose Haven does not exist without you.

Katie O’Brien, Executive Director

Rose Haven is closely monitoring developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19). The health and safety of our guests, volunteers, staff and community is of the utmost importance to us. While we don’t want to be alarmists, we do want to be prepared. On an ongoing basis, Rose Haven will review recommendations from our local and state Health Departments as well as the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

We recognize that this emerging outbreak may be especially difficult for people who are unhoused, as they often have underlying medical conditions, and sometimes have substance and mental health issues that can complicate their ability to protect themselves.

We will provide additional general illness precautions and education onsite, and continue to maintain vigilant disease prevention practices, including the cleaning of our shelter with hospital grade cleaning products on a daily basis.

In the event that someone in the Rose Haven community exhibits signs of illness we will work with our onsite nurses, community partners and hospitals to ensure they are examined in a timely manner, and take any onsite precautions necessary to ensure our facility is safe for continued service.

Here are CDC’s recommendations to prevent the spread of contagious respiratory illnesses, including the coronavirus and flu:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Put used tissues directly in a wastebasket.
  • Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands, if you do not have a tissue.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available—dispensers located in the hallway and activity areas.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people and if you are sick, stay home to recover.

Conversations about how to deal with a possible outbreak will be ongoing, and Rose Haven will be diligent in ensuring that we have correct plans and systems in place if the coronavirus were to spread to the homeless community. We are grateful for the support of our board members from Legacy Health and Providence Health Systems who have access to infectious disease experts during this important time.  In addition we are sharing best practices amongst social service agencies in the area.

As always, we are asking volunteers who are under the weather to please stay home and take themselves. We will continue to reach out to volunteers to keep you all informed. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to ask questions.


Katie O’Brien
Executive Director

A Message from Our Board President

On behalf of the Rose Haven Board of Directors, I am delighted to announce the selection of Katie O’Brien as our new Executive Director.

Katie has been serving as the Interim Director for the last 6 months and has been a part of Rose Haven for over 10 years as a Development Consultant, and more recently as Deputy Director.

In those 10 years Rose Haven has grown from a newly formed 501c3 to a vibrant agency realizing a 379% growth in demand for services.  With a budget approaching $1m, the board is confident Katie is poised to transport Rose Haven through this next stage of growth.

She is experienced in managing the day to day while securing financial resources, expanding partnerships and elevating the community profile.  Her management experience and creative vision allow her to lead a talented and passionate staff committed to the mission of serving our most vulnerable.blank

As Katie profoundly surmises:
“After 10 years with Rose Haven, I continue to feel excited to come here each day and support this important mission. I greatly admire the resiliency of our guests, dedication of our huge volunteers corps, unyielding support from our grassroots donor base, and compassion of our exceptional staff. To work alongside such smart, passionate and energetic people is an honor.

Oregon has the 2nd highest rate of homelessness in the country. We must continue to expand services and programs to meet the escalating needs of the chronically homeless community we serve. As the only full service daytime shelter serving women, children and gender diverse people in Portland, we have our work cut out for us. Together we are destined to do great things to better serve people in our community who deserve healthier and happier lives.”

Kathy Kelly
Board President

Don’t know what to give this holiday season? Please make a gift at in honor of a friend or family member.

A story to inspire hope. Celeste came to Rose Haven when she was homeless and addicted. She returned in recovery with a newborn. She now works at another local non-profit and helps refer people to Rose Haven.
Watch her success story and learn more about Rose Haven here.
Thank you to GMS Media for the great video!


Message from our Board President Kathy Kelly

There are many changes on the horizon at Rose Haven. After 7 pivotal years, Rebekah Albert is stepping down from her role as Executive Director. During her tenure, the shelter has grown exponentially. With a strong team and incredible volunteer corps, she has helped expand services and resources to meet the growing demand from women, children and gender diverse individuals in our community who are living without a home and/or in extreme poverty. We are grateful for her years of service, and wish her the best.

Rose Haven’s Deputy Director, Katie O’Brien, who has been with Rose Haven for 10 years, will be stepping in as Interim Executive Director. In addition to supporting shelter operations, she will work closely with the Board of Directors on a search for a new ED over the coming months.

At this time, we also announce the addition of two new Board members, Janet Neron and Joanna Herrmann. Janet is the Director of Risk and Control Operations for Nike Direct.  Also from Nike, Joanna is the Director of Supply Chain Innovation and Sustainability.  They join a talented and devoted group of board members ready to guide Rose Haven into the future.

In addition, our Youth Outreach Board just graduated 6 seniors and has brought 5 new members on for the 2019/20 school year. We are continually energized by the can-do spirit of our 18 young high school students comprising our Youth Outreach Board. They are a constant reminder that our future is in good hands.

As we enter a time of strategic planning and visioning, we are inspired for the what lies ahead. We look forward to your input as we head into this new chapter.

Best Regards,


Kathy Kelly, Rose Haven Board President

The 6th Annual Reigning Roses Walk was a huge success!

More than 600 people gathered for a reception and 5k walk to support Rose Haven’s Programs on Mother’s Day!

We are still watching the donations come in, and are confident we can reach our goal of $200K!

You can make a gift today and help us support our programs at!

Check out some of the local press coverage of the event!

Watch Live footage from the event and interviews with Guests and BOD members on Fox 12

Watch Katie O’Brien explain nuts and bolts of Reigning Roses on KGW 8

Listen to Liz Starke explain Rose Haven’s Programs on Portland Radio Projects Community Voices