Oregon's Poverty Fighting Network


Katie left home at 16. Despite a couple hard years, she managed to get her high school diploma and then got support from a homeless youth organization in Portland. She later moved to Salem, got a job, and worked hard to make it on her own. An unplanned pregnancy resulted from a brief romance; though Katie doted on her newborn and was confident in her ability to provide for him, things did not go well. She could not pay the extraordinary price of child care and her employer did not provide any viable options. So, she worked as a live-in nanny for a friend while trying to find a job that allowed her to also afford child care – to no avail.

Katie came to us – the Salem Interfaith Hospitality Network (Salem IHN). Within a week, she had applied for a voucher to pay for child care and was working with DHS to find a job that matched her needs and skills. We got her into our rental assistance program, Fresh Start, and after months of hard work, this time with tools and partners, she was able to get into her own home.

This is the first time ever that Katie has had her own apartment and her name on the lease. She is now working part-time at a convenience store and hopes to be working full-time by year’s end. Katie’s son is thriving and is still enjoying the bag full of toys donated by generous friends of Salem IHN when he and his mom left the shelter for their own home.