Support 100 Portlanders escaping domestic violence

by Raphael House of Portland
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Support 100 Portlanders escaping domestic violence
Support 100 Portlanders escaping domestic violence
Support 100 Portlanders escaping domestic violence

Dear Friends,

We’re so grateful for our community! Thank you for partnering with us to build hope for families escaping abuse. Your generous support in 2021 impacted 1,280 domestic violence survivors at Raphael House – both adults and kids.

In over a decade working here, I’ve never seen challenges like the past year… Calls to our hotline doubled in 2021, and so many survivors told us they were scared they’d have to choose between losing their housing or going back to their abuser. (Domestic violence is still one of the main reasons women and children become homeless.)

Through it all, our team has been so proud to work alongside families long-term – to help them get safe, and then stay stable in their homes. Last year we gave out a record $659,900 to pay for critical expenses like rent and utilities. Over and over, we see how wraparound support completely changes families’ lives.

That’s been the case for Saphira and her two toddlers, who I got to know while they were staying in our emergency shelter last summer. Before coming to Raphael House, they’d been living out of their car, moving every night to avoid her abuser. For months, our shelter team worked with Saphira to find a new job at a childcare center, make a budget, and get into a housing program (which is no easy feat). When she found a great apartment, we were even able to cover her first and last month’s rent to get her family started. Now, the three of them are moving forward with the future they want!

This is what we can do by coming together. Thanks for making meaningful change in the lives of so many survivors, like Saphira and her family.

- Lindsey Vold (she/her), Housing & Advocacy Services Manager

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Today we’re bringing you the story of Marius, who stayed in Raphael House's emergency domestic violence shelter as a child. Stories like his are exactly the kind of powerful change your generosity makes possible!

"I still remember the relief of waking up in Raphael House's shelter for the first time, with my mom and baby brother sleeping next to me. Even at 11, I knew that the three of us were finally safe from my dad. I’m a proud donor now because of this – because Raphael House completely changed the path we were on.

Today, our lives are so much happier than we could have imagined back then! My little brother is in nursing school, my mom found a partner who’s genuine and kind, and my wife and I are expecting our first baby. (Grandma is very excited.)

My son will never go through what we did as kids. He’ll wake up every morning knowing he’s safe and loved!

Looking back, my mom bringing us to Raphael House was the turning point that made this all possible. I don’t know what would have happened to our family otherwise, or if we’d even be alive.

Your gifts are the reason that hundreds of other families, like ours, always have a safe place to turn. The world is brighter because of Raphael House – it changed everything for us.

Thank you on behalf of my mom, brother, myself, and my son,

-Marius."

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In 2019, Marlena found out she was pregnant. She was afraid and didn’t want to raise a child with her abusive husband. So, she fled to our shelter and gave birth to a beautiful son named Julian. After three months of healing, starting a new job, and clearing debt racked up by her ex, our team helped them move into their own safe home! And we've been there to support her family in rebuilding their life ever since.

Here's an update, in Marlena's words:

“I finally had my feet under me – my independence, my own finances – and was making good decisions for myself and my baby! I was finding a new circle of people, like my advocate at Raphael House and the ladies in my trauma support group. Then COVID hit.

Being stuck at home had me feeling trapped and scared again – like I used to with my ex. Then I was furloughed from my job, and was so terrified that Julian would go to his father if we didn’t have a place to live.

My advocate at Raphael House was an angel for us. She helped me with rent, so we could stay in our home. She dropped off fresh food and diapers every week, and helped me deal with courts for the custody case. When my support group started meeting online last May, it was like we were back in the same room! It helped me feel like I wasn’t the only one going through all of this. Like I wasn’t alone.

I’m still taking it day by day, but I’ll make it through whatever is next because I have people at Raphael House who are there for me. So I can keep my son safe and teach him to be a good man.

We’re going to be okay.” -Marlena, survivor and mom

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The numbers are in, and we are so proud to share that with your help, we were able to support 889 survivors of domestic violence (adults and kids alike) last year!

In the face of a global pandemic, and with rates of abuse spiking worldwide, our life-saving services have never been more critical. And thanks to our amazing donors, volunteers, and partners, Raphael House has continued to be a lifeline for families throughout it all.

Here's just a glimpse at what we did together!

Responding to crisis
"You guys saved my life and my son's life, and for that I am truly grateful." -Maggie, survivor and recent shelter resident

Our advocates work 24/7 to make sure survivors in our shelter and in the community always have access to the resources and support they deserve. In 2020 alone, survivors spent 9,015 safe nights in our confidential emergency shelter--a resource that has become all the more critical amid the pandemic--and 367 callers received support on our hotline.

Ensuring health, housing, and safety
"I feel so cared for. Since COVID began, I haven't had contact with many people. I've mainly communicated with advocates at Raphael House, and I appreciate that so much." -Brandi, survivor

For survivor families who've fled abuse, the pandemic has threatened the safety and security that they have worked so hard for. In response, we adjusted our services in 2020, providing more food, hygiene items, and rent and utility assistance than ever before. With generous support from our community, we distributed more than $368,000 to help families cover critical expenses like rent; completed 798 home deliveries of food and other essentials; and gave out an 37,503 pounds of food and fresh produce—an increase of more than 200% over 2019!

Building strong foundations
"My kids have gotten a lot of help learning how to make good decisions, move on, and stay safe." -Marcus, survivor and housing program participant 

Everything we do at Raphael House is geared toward creating a future without domestic violence! Last year, we taught 2046 teens and adults how to practice consent and have safe, equitable relationships, and we supported 248 children across our programs as they healed from abuse and began to build new lives

We are only able to do this crucial work because of the commitment and generosity of our community - thank you!

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Meet Jaxon, an incredible teen who shares about how connecting with Raphael House was the beginning of a new life for him and his mom, Helena.

"Hi! My name is Jaxon, and I'm 15. I came to Raphael House with my mom (her name is Helena) when I was 12. Things were really bad at home with my stepdad – he was always yelling or pushing or slapping us around. One day mom said we were leaving, then we got in the car and drove for hours. I still miss my friends, but I'm glad we left. I don't think we'd be okay right now if we had stayed.

We moved into the shelter the day before my 12th birthday. Me and mom were pretty scared, but we tried not to show it. I remember feeling kind of bummed about not having a party or anything, but then the people at Raphael House gave me presents, which was cool. And there was always someone around to talk to. I liked that a lot.

We have our own apartment now. We joke about being the ‘Dream Team’ because we always stick together. Even on bad days, I’m glad it’s just us. Someone from Raphael House brought us groceries last week, and they got me a laptop for school. My mom does online groups on there, too. I’m glad she has some help and people to talk to.

I feel different than I did before. Not worried or mad as much. I started taking piano lessons again, and I might go to college to be a musician. Or maybe to do a job where I can help kids who have been through stuff like me. I'm not sure yet, but I know me and mom will figure it out. We're going to be okay now.”

Your gifts help 475 survivors, like Jaxon and Helena, build new lives and bright futures without violence each year. Thank you!

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Organization Information

Raphael House of Portland

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @RaphaelHouse
Project Leader:
Elyse Flury
Portland, OR United States
$14,720 raised of $50,000 goal
 
175 donations
$35,280 to go
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