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

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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Karina called the Raphael House hotline in a panic. After years of abuse, she had taken her two children and their cat and fled her abusive husband.

With nowhere to go, her family had been living in their car for nearly a week. Karina was terrified he would find them, and because he’d hidden her ID and credit card, she didn’t know where to turn.

After moving into our emergency shelter, Karina’s advocates helped replace what they’d left behind—food and hygiene items, warm jackets, identification cards, and even gifts for her son’s fifth birthday. Once they were safe and had the essentials they needed, Karina shared, “I could breathe again. I could start thinking about the next best thing for my family.”

Our shelter’s Housing Specialist was soon able to connect Karina with resources to cover the cost of housing applications and clear debt that her abuser had racked up in her name. When they were accepted into an apartment two months later, we helped the family get settled and provided them with a move-out kit full of items to furnish their new kitchen and bedrooms. “Finally, we are home,” she said.

Karina has stayed connected with our Advocacy Center, attending tenant education and financial literacy classes. And since the pandemic hit, our advocates have delivered critical supplies to her home including fresh produce, a laptop for schoolwork, and activity kits for the kids.

Karina shared, “I am so thankful for the genuine love and respect Raphael House shows for me and my kids. It’s our ultimate place of safety. Our lives have totally changed and now we’re full of hope.”

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The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t stopped Raphael House from being a lifeline for survivors of domestic violence—in fact, families need us now more than ever! Over 400 adults and children rely on Raphael House for shelter, food and hygiene supplies, housing, safety planning, financial assistance, and help with navigating any challenges that endanger their safety and stability. Thanks to our dedicated community of supporters--and a generous microgrant from GlobalGiving!--we're working round-the-clock to ensure survivor families stay healthy and safe during this crisis.

Life in our emergency shelter
We have a house full of families, and we're still here to support everyone in healing and rebuilding after abuse! Our team has continued to help survivors move from our shelter into their own apartments over the past month. And we're screening in new families as space becomes available.

Some of the many changes we’ve made to protect the health of our residents and staff include supplying families and our team with masks to wear whenever outside their room; providing all assistance by phone; and installing mini fridges in each of our private bedrooms to limit time spent in our communal kitchen.

Helping families stay stable
Many of the families in our community programs have been struggling to meet their basic needs. That’s why we’ve been delivering food boxes, activities for kids, and hygiene supplies directly to survivors' homes. In fact, our team distributed over 4,000 pounds of food in March alone – more than double what we usually provide each month.

Our advocates are also continuing to offer wraparound support to families over the phone – everything from navigating unemployment to advocating with landlords. Plus, this month we launched our first ever virtual support group series.

We're here for young survivors, too!
Our advocates have been busy supporting the more than 300 children and teens in our programs — from helping families navigate e-learning, to assembling and delivering Activity Kits filled with games, toys, and art supplies.

For each of the 20 growing kiddos in our emergency shelter, we’ve also been picking up healthy lunches from Portland Public Schools daily. And these families have all been provided with a laptop to make online learning and social distancing easier!

Your support makes these vital services possible. Thank you for standing with survivors!

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Organization Information

Raphael House of Portland

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Project Leader:
Elyse Flury
Portland, OR United States
$14,090 raised of $50,000 goal
165 donations
$35,910 to go
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