Tina Kotek
Tina Kotek
The Speaker of the Oregon House will rally support for a grassroots North Portland shelter for homeless women and children supported by many Catholic volunteers and donors.

Community of Hope is an ecumenical project in St. Johns, the district served by House Speaker Tina Kotek. Kotek will give her talk at an event set for 7 p.m. Friday April 8, at the North Star Ballroom, 635 N Killingsworth Ct.

The shelter had hoped for a break from some expensive city regulations in its effort to remodel, but the Portland Housing Bureau denied the aid because of the religious mission and activities. That leaves tens of thousands of dollars of fees. City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the housing bureau, is reviewing the decision.

The rejection took shelter supporters off guard, since the city has declared a housing emergency and supports other faith-based groups like the Salvation Army and Union Gospel Mission.

“The growth of homeless camps around Portland raises the question: What can be done? One answer is a home-grown effort in North Portland,” says a press release from Community of Hope.

In two years of operation, the shelter has helped homeless mothers and their children find housing and work.

Community of Hope works with women who may be fleeing abuse or who find themselves in crisis with nowhere to go. The shelter provides housing, food, training and access to services.

Since the shelter opened in 2014, it has served 59 homeless women and children. About 94 percent of the women have found a job and 88 percent have found a residence.

Also speaking April 8 will be Brandi Tuck, executive director and founder of Portland Homeless Family Solution.

Community of Hope volunteers cook meals and care for children while their mothers attend classes and look for work. Support comes from churches, schools, businesses, neighbors and neighborhood organizations.

The shelter is now at capacity with five families. This summer the facility will be renovated, expanding to fit eight families. Organizers want to raise funds for the work and the expansion.  

For information, contact Linda Jo Devlaeminck, program director, 503-852-1070 or lindajo@communityofhopepdx.org.