WE Collaborate: Beaverton HELP Center
At 4925 SW Angel Street, in the heart of Central Beaverton, there is a place with a brightly painted red door. Walking in, you are greeted by a living room-like atmosphere with a couch, chairs, a small fireplace along the wall and bookshelves filled with free books. There are flyers and brochures for local resources, a kitchen with a refrigerator and even a bathroom.
This is the new home of the Beaverton HELP (Homeless Education Liaison Program) Center; and the District's Title X Homeless Education Liaisons.
None of this would have been possible without the support of the Beaverton community. When the space at Beaverton High School was no longer available, the program was desperate to find a new home. "The District is really space impacted and finding space is very challenging, so we decided to look to the community," says Lisa Mentesana, Homeless Education Liaison Program Specialist.
"The Central Beaverton location is ideal because there are several churches within walking distance, with food pantries, and 27 social service agencies within a mile radius. When the space on Angel Street became available, it was too late for the District to lease it, so Love Inc. stepped up to make it happen," explains Lisa.
Love Inc., a non-profit organization that mobilizes local churches to support community needs directly related to poverty issues, organized nine area churches to fund the lease payments for one year. They engaged Catalyst NW Ministries who coordinated volunteers to completely remodel the space – in two days and at no cost to the District. A local youth group cleaned up the outside of the building, painted the porch, washed all the windows inside and out, pruned the trees, weeded and cleaned up the entire yard. All of this just in time for the HELP Center to open for the start of Homelessness and Hunger Awareness month in November.
"This new location has really strengthened our ties with the community. Every piece of furniture in here is donated, but really it's about relationships, there are so many people who want to help. It truly does take a village," says Lisa.
If you are interested in supporting the HELP Center, or know someone who is experiencing homelessness, visit the McKinney-Vento Homeless Program webpage.