1994: About 60 volunteers open the Goose Hollow Family Shelter in the basement of the First United Methodist Church. GHFS was open for 3 months in the winter from 8pm-8am. FUMC understood that to make the shelter welcoming to all people regardless of background, they would not proselytize. The ideal of creating a safe haven for everyone is still maintained at Goose Hollow today.
1996: Kate Lore is hired as the first paid director of the Goose Hollow Family Shelter, and she expands operation to 5 months of the year.
1998: Chuck Currie is hired as the second paid director of Goose Hollow. He brings on many new communities of faith as volunteers and continues to professionalize the operations at the Goose.
2000: Goose Hollow begins to partner with the YWCA Safe Haven so that families from the Goose can go to the YWCA Safe Haven Day Shelter on North Interstate and Alberta. Families have to take two max trains up to North Portland to have a place to go with their kids during the day.
2005: Brandi Tuck begins volunteering as a Kid Time Host and Overnight host at the Goose Hollow Family Shelter.
2007: Brandi is hired to be the next Executive Director of the Goose Hollow Family Shelter. She is just 24 years old. The annual operating budget of GHFS was $78,000 a year and there were four part-time paid staff, including Brandi.
2008: The Staff & Board of Goose Hollow realize that in order to expand services, more funding was needed. As they searched for funding in hard-to-find places, they came to a realization: in order to appeal to funding from local government and larger foundations and corporations, they needed nonprofit status. Portland Homeless Family Solutions (PHFS) is formed as a corporation in December 2008 to take over the operation of the Goose Hollow Family Shelter while maintaining a close partner relationship with the staff and members of the First United Methodist Church.
2009: PHFS is approved by the IRS to be a nonprofit charitable corporation, and with that status came the opportunity to find and receive more funding and thus the opportunity to expand services to families experiencing homelessness. One of the first goals was to open a day shelter for families at the Goose so they didn’t have to make a 1-2 hour trek on the train across the river just to have lunch and get support in finding housing. About that same time, Brandi met Kate Lore (first paid director of Goose Hollow), who is now the Social Justice Minister at the First Unitarian Church of Portland. A magical friendship was created, and these two women joined forces to help make PHFS’ goals a reality.
November 2, 2009: The Thirteen Salmon Family Center opens in the basement of the First Unitarian Church of Portland to provide day shelter from 8am-6pm for all the families staying at Goose Hollow. Turns out 2009 was a big year for PHFS. In addition to opening a day shelter and providing 24-hours of services to families experiencing homelessness, we start a new partnership with Human Solutions where a housing specialist case manager spends two days a week at Thirteen Salmon to help all the families in our programs move back into permanent housing.
2010: PHFS brings in enough funding to keep the Goose Hollow Shelter and the Thirteen Salmon Family Center open a full 365 days of the year. The shelters never close again!
2012: PHFS is awarded a pilot project grant to test out a new kind of housing program. For the first time, PHFS hires two full-time Housing Placement Specialists who help 100 families a year get back into permanent housing. These Housing Placement Specialists are mobile, meaning that they meet families wherever is convenient for the family and are able to drive families around to look at apartments, get to job interviews, and enroll the kids in school.
2013: PHFS is a founding member of the Homeless Family System of Care, a collaboration of 8 agencies who all adopt the Housing Placement Specialist model that PHFS has created to help families experiencing homelessness get back into housing. Partners include Human Solutions, JOIN, Self Enhancement Inc., NAYA Family Center, El Programa Hispano, IRCO, 211Info with Multnomah County as the funder and coordinator. PHFS is awarded “Program of the Year” by Multnomah County for the success of our Housing Program.
2014: The Life Lab Skills Training is created. PHFS staff and volunteers teach evidence-based life skills classes to families in shelter and to families who have moved out of shelter and into permanent housing. Classes include the Rent Well Tenant Education Program, the ARISE Life Skills Program, and the Incredible Years Parenting Education Program.
2015: PHFS Board adopts a $15 minimum wage for all PHFS employees and sets up a Retirement Savings Plan for each staff. The Annual Operating budget is $1.3million and PHFS employs 12-full time staff and 12-part time staff. PHFS reevaluates how we provide shelter after staff receive intensive training in Trauma Informed Care, Assertive Engagement, and Nonviolent Communication. PHFS offers low-barrier shelter to any family with children experiencing homelessness. We believe that clients are experts in their own lives and know what programs and services will work best for them. Staff support our clients to create their own case plans and will empower and support families to work through the goals they set for themselves. Shelter is focused on restoring hope, building dignity, and promoting autonomy.
2016: PHFS Staff and Board make a formal commitment to equity and inclusion as part of our 2016-18 Strategic Plan. We understand that communities of color disproportionately experience homelessness and poverty, and we stand up to fight against the oppression and discrimination of people of color.
PHFS continues to expand our services to the community in 2016:
·A full-time Retention Specialist is hired to work with families for 6-12 months after they move back into permanent housing to help them retain their housing long-term. The focus is on helping families increase their income, connect to their new communities, and learn new life skills.
·A part-time Mental Health Specialist is hired in partnership with Morrison Child & Family Services to help all PHFS staff better support families experiencing in their mental health care.
·A full-time DV Advocate is hired by the YWCA and co-located in PHFS shelters to provide support and recovery services to families who have experienced domestic violence.