Join is an incedible link to our homeless individuals in Portland. They stretch every dollar as far as it can go and it is amazing what they accomplish. Saying no isn't an option, they find a way. Wish more non-profits could be as productive as Join.
Join is an organization that does amazing things and continues to do amazing things at all hours of the night and day. Their objective is to end homelessness and they make every effort to help those who are homeless find subsidized housing and a new start to life. The staff at JOIN are there for every kind of person solving every possible problem that comes up. JOIN staff quickly become family and that is the definition of commitment. If there were more groups in this country like JOIN, things would be a little easier to handle.
I have been volunteering with JOIN for two years. I can't say enough good things about them. After a career in social services, I am so impressed by the JOIN model, which is so heart centered. It's all about relationships. Relationships with each other; the volunteers; the folks who drop in at The House in need of a warm smile, a friendly face, a place to rest, a bite to eat, a shower. You know when you have the fortunate experience to have an encounter with a person who is completely genuine, warm and kind? How you walk away feeling seen, acknowledged, and with your heart a little more open? Well, that seems describe all of the JOIN staff, particularly the young Jesuit volunteers. It's not an US and THEM model. Rather the model is It's all Us, and let's do what we can to help our brothers and sisters. And they do. Watching it in action is amazing, and gives me hope.
I've been a volunteer with JOIN for over four years. I always look forward to being there because, even on difficult days, I'm inspired by the dedicated staff, volunteers and "folks" JOIN serves. JOIN has cultivated a strong sense of community and it works.
I've watched this small non-profit struggle to meet growing challenges but not lose their integrity and quality of service .
Their mission is different from many organizations helping the homeless. Instead of providing temporary services, they focus on long lasting solutions. They believe in "housing first" and then work with individuals and families to gain stability and self-sufficiency.
In spite of the challenges, JOIN's statistics are commendable. They spend 87% of their budget on program expenses and less than 7% on administration. Last year they housed almost 500 individuals, including families, and they show an excellent retention rate. I'm proud to be part of the JOIN community.
I started volunteering at JOIN when I was in high school and they were in a small house off St. Francis park. After nine years away from Portland I am back volunteering again. In those nine years JOIN has gone through two buildings, created many new programs and hired many new staff but they have held on to the spirit and integrity that makes them such a wonderful organization. The work they do to help people find housing is rooted in a deep respect for people and for community and it shows in how they treat both volunteers and the folks they work with. It also shows in their tremendous housing outcomes.
JOIN is a wonderful organization that focuses on building relationships with its folks (they don't refer to them as clients). They understand each person has their own story and that each person's situation is different. They work with people on an individual basis, finding what help and resources suit that person best, unlike other housing organizations that place people in categories and help them on the basis of that.
Their housing-first approach allows for people to get off the streets first before attempting to kick bad habits and addictions, providing them with the security and support that is needed.
JOIN maintains a consistent presence on the streets, building trust and relationships amongst those outside while reaching out to individuals in need of help (physically going out and finding them) that may not know where to find it.
JOIN really is a remarkable organization and I have never seen a more dedicated staff.