Beaverton Sleep Out / Shelter Us Beaverton

The Beaverton Social Justice League and Beaverton School District’s HELP Center are hosting a one night Sleep Out on the streets of Beaverton to bring awareness to the lack of services for Beaverton’s homeless with the focus on families with children. Beaverton School District’s (BSD) HELP Center (Homeless Education Liaison Program) is responsible for providing services to the district’s homeless students. During the '15-'16 school year, as of 01/16/16, the BSD documented and served 980 homeless students, 45 of them are unsheltered, 53 are staying in motels, and 97 are or have been in the county shelter. The rest are either in shared housing, couch surfing or in transitional living programs. Beaverton has no emergency severe weather shelter and there is only one severe weather shelter in all of Washington County who allows families with children. This is not awesome. What is awesome is many community groups are working together to find solutions for these children and this serious challenge in our community.

The Beaverton Sleep Out will consist of invited individuals and groups, including Beaverton’s elected officials, civic organizations, community and church leaders. There will be a panel on homelessness with speakers from Beaverton and Washington County to talk to this issue. The Sleep Out will be held in Central Beaverton at Beaverton First United Methodist Church, the Fountain Park and the grass in front of the Library. Participants can choose to either sleep in tents outside or sleep in a simulated warming shelter. Soup dinner will be provided as well as breakfast food and snacks. Saturday morning the Sleep Out will continue an education component by hosting booths of local groups working on homelessness in Beaverton and Washington County. We will talk to Beaverton Farmers Market goers about the need for services. Getting all these leaders in one place to work on this critical issue will be very awesome. We plan on hosting the event April 15th and 16th, 2016.

Our plan is to use half of the grant for seed money for an outreach project called, “Shelter Us Beaverton”. We will be printing information about homelessness in Beaverton on umbrellas and giving them to everyone who participates in the Sleep Out. (requesting donations that will be used to purchase more umbrellas) The goal of the project is to help raise awareness for the critical need of a severe weather shelter in our often cold and rainy climate. Everyone who carries one becomes an ambassador of this mission. The other half of the grant would be used for promotional material, renting canopies, supplies, volunteer t-shirts etc.

My name is Jolene Guptill and I started the Beaverton Social Justice League in early 2015. I was born and raised in Beaverton. I have volunteered on numerous City of Beaverton committees and advisory boards and a graduate of Leadership Beaverton. I firmly believe that Beaverton is an awesome place and we must always strive to be more awesome, especially for those who are less fortunate.

Our hope is that we can bring the leaders together who can truly effect change. We, as a community, need to get our heads together to solve this problem. No child in our community should be sleeping in a tent or a car. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Washington County would commit to ending homelessness for our children? We definitely think it would be awesome! There is nothing more awesome and amazing than people helping people. Several churches and community groups are interested in volunteering with the event; Beaverton United Methodist Church, Family Promise, Kindred Partners (Formally, Love INC of Beaverton) Superintendent Jeff Rose’s student advisory committee with 15 student representatives, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Beaverton Foursquare Church, and Bethel Congregational United Church of Christ.

In 2008, I participated in Leadership Beaverton, a program of the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce. One of the training days was centered on Human Rights in Beaverton. That is where I first met Lisa Bell-Mentesana who works at the BSD’s HELP Center. Even though I had lived in Beaverton my whole life, I never knew how many homeless we had in Beaverton. We, as a community, hide them away. They tend to be less visual as they are in Portland. Since then, Lisa, her program and her students have been always on my mind. When Beaverton’s only emergency weather warming shelter closed in the Fall of 2013, I started talking with Lisa about getting another one opened. She and I met numerous times, talking about shelter needs and she told me that even if Beaverton opened a traditional warming shelter, children most likely would not be accepted because of liability concerns. Lisa and I have been talking to many residents, leaders and community groups. We are ready to take outreach to a new level. The Sleep Out has two specific goals; attendance and future community commitment.

Want to Help? The Beaverton Social Justice League’s is looking for community members to volunteer by joining the planning committee or for the event itself. Leading up to the event they are looking for some art/graphic design and logo help. A videographer to record the speaker panel and parts of the event, including editing, to be used for future education and promotion, would be awesome. In kind donations of tents, canopies, tables and chairs. Contact: Jolene and Lisa at shelterusbeaverton(at)gmail(dot)com. Website: and and 971-808-2755

Financé par Beaverton & Beyond, OR (February 2016)