After Stephanie was released from jail, she put herself on the waiting list at SAFES, The Salvation Army’s Female Emergency Shelter (SAFES) in downtown Portland. Shortly after, she was given a bed in 2007.
“I love to work. I was trying to rebuild my life; I had debts to pay back and SAFES was a secure and comfortable place where I was cared for and could rebuild my life”, Stephanie said.
Stephanie found it hard to imagine that one day she would have a place of her own. “I used to say the only housing I’d get would be a gingerbread house,” she remembers.
“After I got a bed at SAFES I would go to Labor Ready in Portland. I saved money and SAFES helped me get me into my first apartment. The Salvation Army paid my first month and half of rent. I have nothing but admiration and thanks for The Salvation Army,” she says.
Stephanie returned to SAFES as a volunteer in 2008, helping women with mobility issues get access to food assistance. One day the executive director called Stephanie and asked if she would be interested in working part-time at SAFES. Stephanie accepted the offer and joined the staff in 2009.
Stephanie added, “after a month I became full-time and then I became the Lead Residential Assistant. In that time, I have never been late on my rent. I still live in the same building that the Army helped me get into ten years ago in 2007”.
Today, Stephanie works part-time as a Life Skills Coach at Transition Projects, a non-profit in Portland that helps people transition from homelessness to housing in the Portland metro area and as an on-call Residential Advisor at SAFES.
“I teach a class called Rent Well at SAFES which is a tenant readiness class for people who have convictions, poor credit or no credit at all. It is a 15-hour course to address those barriers, so that they can get into housing. Most importantly, we help determine their need vs. what they want,” she explains.
The Salvation Army works every day to help people just like Stephanie realize that experiencing God’s love, a safe place to live, meaningful work and a caring community is for everyone.
Ten years ago Stephanie couldn’t envision her life as it is now. She’s worked hard to get here and it’s our pleasure walk beside her. Happy 10th Anniversary Stephanie!
If you’d like to help women like Stephanie conquer homelessness and gain independence in our SAFES program, please click here.