For Immediate Release
Keith Bernhardt, Sisters Of The Road Café, Inc.
(503) 222-5694 x14
Three Year Project to Create Bridges
Between Homeless Community and Policy Makers
Commissioner Erik Sten and Sisters Of The Road Café Celebrate
the launch of the Community Organizing Project
October 16, 2001 Portland, OR — Sisters Of The Road Café, a non-profit restaurant dedicated to alleviating hunger in an atmosphere of non-violence and gentle personalism, today launched their Community Organizing Project. This three year project, supported by Commissioner Erik Sten and the Bureau of Housing and Community Development, seeks to identify potential solutions to homelessness through conversation with those who know the most about the experience of being homeless, the homeless themselves. The project will also provide training and support of those homeless persons interested in taking a leadership role in advocating for themselves and their community.
The three year Community Organizing Project, supported financially by private donations, foundations and a contract with the city's Bureau of Housing and Community Development, will capture information and insight regarding homelessness and homeless services through conversation with 2,000 current and previously homeless women and men. This information will be analyzed by an outside consultant and will be provided to regional decision-makers to guide and support the planning process with regard to homeless services in our community.
The information from the Community Organizing Project will be delivered to Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten who has promised that it will impact the request for proposal process the Bureau of Housing and Community Development conducts with providers of homeless services.
Such support has little historical precedent according to Genny Nelson, Sisters' Co-Founder and Director of Community Organizing/Systemic Change "Allowing our project to inform and influence the development of policies will present a radical and innovative approach to identifying the root causes of homelessness. Sisters Of The Road Café is excited to create bridges between the homeless community and local policy makers to find solutions that make sense," said Nelson.
A second, vital component of the Community Organizing Project is the identification, training and support of those homeless persons interested in taking a leadership role in advocating for themselves and their community. Sisters will work with individuals dealing with homelessness to create opportunities for participation in local, civic policy planning. Written publications will be developed and distributed that document the results of these activities and detail how a project of this scope can be replicated.
About Sisters Of The Road Café
Sisters Of The Road Café, Inc. is a non-profit restaurant in Old Town/Chinatown dedicated to alleviating hunger in an atmosphere of non-violence and gentle personalism. Most of our customers are people experiencing homelessness or living on low incomes. The founding goals set at our opening in 1979 remain the same today:
1) To be a safe public place for everyone, especially women and children
2) To offer nourishing meals at little cost or in exchange for labor
3) To offer job training and employment experience to local residents
Many of our customers look to the café as a home off the streets, as a place where we can build community together. We build permanent, stable relationships which help people to change their own lives.