Portland Homeless Family Solutions
Portland Homeless Family Solutions Reboots Families' Lives
In Portland, Oregon, 85 homeless families per year have gained permanent housing and financial self-sufficiency through Portland Homeless Family Solutions (PHFS). The program has been in place for two decades. Thanks to donated space from two different churches (the organization has no religious affiliation), eight families at a time have access to a safe place to sleep and shower, healthy meals, laundry facilities, educational and emotional support, classes in critical life skills, and case managers who offer continued assistance. With so many moving parts — a night shelter, a day shelter, 13 staff, and a volunteer pool of 800 spread over both locations — technology is an important part of the PHFS day.
The numerous technology donations received via TechSoup help make the organization run smoothly. Staffers rely on Microsoft Office for shelter logs and communications and on Excel spreadsheets for statistics. Parents can use Microsoft Word to create polished resumes and cover letters. These are also educational tools PHFS uses with the families. A lot of them didn't grow up with computers, and PHFS was eager to give them that experience. Photoshop is the in-house design tool staffers use for invitations, postcards, and flyers for fundraising, allowing them to create professional designs with donor appeal.
Without TechSoup, PHFS would have to do without all these essential tools. The organization's budget has two tracks: staffing and client assistance. It could not cut staff time, so diverting resources to technology would have meant leaner client programs — less money to pay for application fees, kids' field trips, or medicine. In order to balance the organization's different needs, TechSoup has become an important resource for PFHS.