Call to Action: Spread the Love to Homeless Families with Children


Volunteer for one evening at the Portland Homeless Family Solutions Winter Shelter and make an impact!

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Guest Author Tom Cody, Managing Partner, project^

It’s 2019 and despite concerted efforts by government and public and private institutions, the homelessness crisis continues to worsen in the Portland metro area. A regular and heart-wrenching occurrence in our community: families without a home or a place to sleep safely at night. This Call to Action provides a way to do something and have an immediate and positive impact while we continue to work on broader solutions.

For more than 20 years, Portland Homeless Family Solutions (PHFS) has been addressing housing, homelessness, and operating temporary shelters for homeless families with children, many of them with working parents and kids in school.

In the winter of 2016-17, through a partnership with the Joint Office of Homeless Services and Transition Projects, our company project^ donated an empty downtown building for use as a temporary men’s shelter. In one of the coldest winters seen in years, some 100 men were provided safe and comfortable respite from the brutal realities of living on the streets.

When we learned in November that PHFS was looking for another temporary winter family shelter space, we were excited to be able to respond again. On December 3, PHFS opened a temporary shelter for up to 75 kids and parents on the corner of NW 17th and Northrup in a empty warehouse we own two doors down from our office.

The shelter rapidly filled and is now near its 75 person capacity. Over half of the residents are kids, many of them younger than 5 years old.

Working with our neighbors and fellow BBPDX members at Swift, the project^ team organized a holiday event for shelter families. On December 22, the shelter residents received a catered holiday dinner, 35 stockings, and a decorated tree. Volunteers from our companies served dinner, sorted donations, and played with the resident kids — simple human-to-human contact.

The evening was easy to organize and more importantly created connections and experiences that won’t be forgotten. We know that shelters are not the solution to homelessness which is why we’ve supported the past two successful housing bond measures. But as we wait for these housing investments to be delivered, we can all work together with our community partners to make a difference now in the lives of families currently residing in shelters. Thank you for being a part of our collective BBPDX organism!

This month, BBPDX calls on you to help families experiencing homelessness by taking on an evening of volunteering at the PHFS Family Winter Shelter. PHFS has identified the following nights in February, March and April:

  • February 28

  • March 27

  • March 28

  • April 19

Volunteers will take on these three tasks each night:

  • Kid Time Host (2-5 volunteers) - 6-9 pm

  • Helping Hands (2-3 volunteers) - 6-9 pm

  • Dinner Provider (2-4 volunteers) - 6-8:30pm

Check out this form to get more details on the dates, times and responsibilities for each shift. Once you fill out the form, a PHFS staff will be in touch with you. Consider involving your full team or partnering with a fellow BBPDX member company to cover all the shifts for an evening — make it a party! If you have questions before signing up, please contact Bethany@pdxhfs.org.

BBPDX and its members are working hard on long-term solutions to homelessness and housing issues by engaging on critical city, regional and state policy initiatives. We’ll be announcing several learning and advocacy opportunities for our members in the near future. In the meantime, we appreciate your generous service with PHFS!

To share your own stories of success or information about initiatives that support solutions to housing issues, write to us at hello@bbpdx.org. We look forward to hearing from you!


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