United Way donates $1.2 million to Bybee Lakes Hope Center to help support Portland’s houseless community

Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021

Portland, Ore. – United Way of the Columbia-Willamette (UWCW) is expanding into new areas of community support by granting to the Bybee Lakes Hope Center at the Jordan Schnitzer Campus, a transitional housing facility run by Oregon nonprofit, Helping Hands Reentry Outreach Centers. The $1.2 million donation from UWCW will help expand the existing facility and complete the renovation of the 155,400-square-foot Wapato Correctional Facility site.

UWCW has a history of investing in Oregon and Washington’s children and families through early learning and housing stability/safety net programs, facilitating the collaboration of community organizations and strategic grantmaking. Putting racial equity at the center of its mission, UWCW focuses where the need is greatest and identifies and implements the most effective solutions to build a more inclusive and equitable region where all families have the resources and opportunities to thrive.

“We know that housing stability is a key contributor to family resiliency,” says Cindy Adams, president and CEO of UWCW, who joined the Bybee Lakes Hope Center advisory board this week. “Our support of Bybee Lakes Hope Center will more than double the number of individuals who can transition from houselessness to having a more sustainable living environment. Housing stability is fundamental to positive education outcomes for kids and health and employment outcomes for individuals and families.”

Bybee Lakes Hope Center uses an innovative approach to houseless services with its trauma-informed, data-driven and person-centered practices. At the center, clients receive three meals a day, access to technology, gardens, playgrounds for kids and a customized Individual Reentry Plan, in addition to dorms for men, women and families and coming soon, an LGBTQIA+ Rainbow Dorm. Using proprietary software to track utilization of services, as well as gather each individual’s unique story to create a plan for them to work toward sustainable housing, Bybee Lakes Hope Center has proven the success of its individualized model for changing lives and is setting a nationwide standard.

This grant from UWCW will go toward additional amenities and services, including:

  • Dorms for men, women, families and LGBTQIA+

  • On-site dog kennel and dog run with volunteer veterinarian services

  • 1.5-acre therapeutic garden with orchard, exercise paths and raised bed gardens

  • Two playground/play areas for children and families

  • Medical, dental, mental and behavioral health care

  • Professional kitchen with vocational training

  • Multiple classrooms

  • Crisis Management, case management and resource navigation

“With nearly 20 years of serving the homeless, Helping Hands has enjoyed a long-time partnership with United Way in several Oregon counties,” says founder and CEO, Alan Evans. “We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with United Way of the Columbia-Willamette through our work at the Bybee Lakes Hope Center at the Jordan Schnitzer Campus. This meaningful contribution will help ensure the long-term sustainability of this facility, so we can continue to bring hope to community members experiencing houselessness.”

United Way’s $1.2 million grant to Bybee Lakes Hope Center is made possible by a $20 million gift from MacKenzie Scott as part of the philanthropist’s first round of The Giving Pledge. The center opened in October 2020 after the land was donated by Jordan Schnitzer. The economic uncertainty of 2020 caused construction to be halted after one-third of the center was completed.

“Bybee Lakes Hope Center is a perfect example of different sectors, including government, nonprofit, and private philanthropy, stepping up to find solutions for one of the true challenges Oregon and the entire country are facing today,” says Oregon State Senator Betsy Johnson. “Now Alan’s vision for that innovative model is both being realized and expanding in Portland with this generous donation from United Way today.”


About United Way:

For 100 years, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette has been working to meet the needs of vulnerable families. No matter the crisis, we have always remained steadfast to our commitment to LIVE UNITED. Together, we’re helping our community recover, become more resilient, while building a more inclusive and equitable region where all families have the resources and opportunities to thrive. For more information and to get involved, please visit www.unitedway-pdx.org.


Media Contact:

Kellie Orourke: kellie@coateskokes.com - (706) 832 3392

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