Friday, December 14, 2012

Barb Writes: Family moved into permanent housing

We were able to get a family into permanent, affordable housing Wednesday. We contributed to their deposit. They have rent covered but landlord would not pro rate the deposit. I was able to give them a hook up for furniture, too. Tonight, in Portland town where there are too many homeless, there is one more formerly homeless family snuggled into their warm, cozy home looking forward to looking forward again. Thanks to all our supporters... you did this!
Please consider joining our sustaining circle. Here are the different options available to you if you wish to donate to OPP:
 Donate online via our website . Donations are handled by our payment processor—Network For Good .

 You can use your bank’s Bill Pay system to deposit directly to the Our Peaceful Place account with Bank Of America. Our Routing number is 123000220 and the OPP account number is 153658912982

 Send in a check to our mailing address—
Our Peaceful Place
P.O Box 3093
Clackamas, OR 97015

Monday, December 10, 2012

How do you get medicine on the streets?

It is a blessing for you and I to be able to stock our home bathroom cabinets with medicines and then go there to find remedies as we have need. When we can’t find the solution to our problem in the cabinet we can make our way to the local drug store and buy what we need. It’s not that easy for someone who is homeless.

One example of this need occurred recently when Barb had the opportunity to provide a toothache remedy to a young man who was suffering with pain to the point that he could not eat or sleep. He also had a dry skin condition that was making his existence even more unbearable. She was able to buy him an antihistamine and some medicated lotion. The edge was taken off his suffering. Barb was able to refer him for dental and medical care.

Visit our main page and join our sustaining circle today so that Barb can continue to help the homeless

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Depression can be deadly

I must apologize to our supporters online, due to some issues in my own life, I haven't been able to help Barb post her stories since the very successful yearly fundraiser. Despite how successful that fundraiser was, it only provided about half our yearly budget- so will you please consider digging deep this Christmas and becoming a member of our sustaining circle? You can set up automatic payments at our main website

Recently Our Peaceful Place was able to provide a night of shelter for a man who was waiting to get into a treatment program. He had become homeless gradually after the tragic death of his precious fiancé. They had been childhood sweethearts. He had been working full time as a cook but was grief stricken over her death and unable to hold himself together at work so his employer had to let him go. He started drinking and using drugs to numb himself. His sympathetic landlord could only carry him so long before he evicted him

While homeless, he had been severely injured by razor wire. Multnomah County arranged for his medical care and up to 90 days of in-patient drug and alcohol treatment. He was medically and emotionally fragile... too fragile to spend another night on the street. Now he is ready for help and we were glad to support him on his way. This could not have happened without the generous support of people like you.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Feeding the poor

Ok, nearly messed that one up, but I should write a blog post anyway. Barbara doesn't just do surface charity- she gets down on the street and actually asks people what they need. If you saw the post this replaced, that's kind of the point (though I meant that to go to my personal blog). We in the more lucky classes of society think we know what the poor need better than they do themselves- and so we send condoms to starving kids in Africa. Here at home, Portland excels at all sorts of charitable giving for the homeless- but often, the larger organizations see the homeless as a group, instead of as individuals- and that's when individuals fall through the cracks. Help Barb fill the cracks! Come to our East Indian Dinner this Saturday!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Help us Help Others

A while back I posted about a young woman, with three children, and a father in jail for shoplifting. It took some time, but that mother finally has a landlord who will work with her, and this month we suspended Barb's salary so that we could fulfill our $500 commitment to helping this young mother get into housing. Join us for the East Indian Dinner on October 6th- and help us to help others like this young woman. Indian Restaurants from all over Beaverton and Hillsboro have donated food- Prince of Peace Lutheran Church has donated the space- the International Church Youth Group has donated the time. Let's add our money donations, all of which go to support this ministry. Go to our facebook page and RSVP to the dinner today, or go to our website to donate ahead of time.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

OPP helps access to permanent housing

Sometimes, when the larger organizations fail to help the homeless, it is because of very small items that they were unable to budget for. Take the case of a young man, who had found housing, had already done the research for subsidized housing, had even found a landlord- but lacked a $29 application fee. Barb was able to help him out- and today, that young man is in permanent housing and off the streets.

We cannot do this without your help. Please consider going to the East Indian Dinner on October 6th, and visit our home page at

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Car seats for twins

Late on a Friday Afternoon, Barb got a phone call from a social worker, working with a homeless family that had 4 year old twins. The family did not have car seats or boosters, and the social worker had some job leads for the mother but was unable to find child care and the children needed to be transported around while the social worker took the mother to job interviews. Barb's daughter was listening, and knew exactly where to go- and for a $40 investment was able to secure two age-appropriate car seats for the kids.

It is exactly this sort of small expense that your attendance and gift at the East Indian Dinner represents- an investment that will enable that mother to work and get her off of the streets.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Worried Mother

Our Peaceful Place - Services to meet the basic needs of the homeless in Portland Oregon:

Barb gets the strangest calls sometimes.  She recently got an out-of-state phone call from the mother of a mentally ill man in his late twenties who has been missing for several years.  Recently, she started getting solicitations in his name from a school here in Portland, and she thought the school had her address because he might have used it while trying to enroll.  Barb was able to use her 30 years of experience on the street to direct the mother to some places he might be using as a mailing address- so that she could send postcards to those shelters in hopes that he shows up in one- and gets the message to call his mother.

Monday, September 17, 2012

A hot day in August

Oregon has been experiencing a heat wave as of late. Did you ever wonder how homeless people handle heat? We know that several die of exposure every winter, but the heat can be just as bad.
One sweltering day in August, Barb and Our Peaceful Place volunteer Raliegh walked both sides of the Willamette in downtown Portland handing out ice cold bottles of water and sports drinks. They gave the bottles to friends and strangers alike; to people on the streets, people hanging out in the backs of trucks, or waiting for the bus, both those with homes and those without- those who needed to be out in the heat to keep their homes, those who had no homes to go to. Matthew 25 is the chapter of the Gospels that lists the corporal works of mercy- and giving the thirsty a drink is one of them. Who knows how many were saved from heat exhaustion by a simple act of kindness. This is what Our Peaceful Place is about- filling the gaps that larger organizations can't, filling the immediate small needs. A bottle of water doesn't seem like much- but it can save a medical bill.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Victims of Drive-By-Shooting about to be evicted

Back in February, we were all shocked to hear of Two men who had contact with Barb from time to time were shot at random in a drive by shooting. After they got out of the hospital, another organization put them up in an apartment for 3 months, thinking that one of them would be getting disability soon. That three months has passed, and for want of a $650 rent check, these men now have until Monday, July 16th before they are evicted- one of them still recovering from his wounds. You can contact Barb at 503-295-7774, or click on the Donate Now Network for Good button to the right of this article. ---- UPDATE: Barb has paid for this out of her own pocket. Donations still gratefully accepted towards this cause, but the men are safe in their apartment for another month.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Emergency Funds Needed

From Barb: I am currently working with a twenty year old mother of three (yes, she is 20 and has 3 children ages 5, 2, and 7 months). Her name is Brittney, she grew up in Portland in the foster care system, her boyfriend is in prison until 2017 for a Robery 2 conviction and she and the children have been homeless since his incarceration (almost a year). Brittney is working part time and trying to finish high school. Her partner's mother and adult sister live in an apartment complex in Gladstone. The landlord of their complex will rent an apartment to Brittney. The rent is $650. Brittney says she can afford the rent and her employer has promised to increase her hours but she needs help with the deposit. I am hoping we (OPP and friends) can come up with $650 for her deposit. She reports that her mother-in-law and sister-in-law are good support with the children but are unable to help financially. She and I are both calling resources but have been unable to find any assistance so far.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breakfast at St. Clare's

The new Knights of Columbus Council In Portland, John Clare Council #15485, is proud to announce our first charitable event, a breakfast at St. Clare's Catholic Church at SW 19th Ave, Portland, OR 97219 Pancakes, eggs, and your choice of ham or sausage will be served from 8:30am-12:30pm on Sunday, April 29th Freewill donation, proceeds go to support the new council and Our Peaceful Pla4ce homeless ministry. Come meet the family from our previous blog posting, Barb, and members of the Our Peaceful Place Board!

Friday, March 30, 2012

A beautiful family, down on their luck

I'm nearly a month late writing this. At our last board meeting, Barb told us about a family of 7 living in a truck she had found. With the board's approval- and because illness was beginning to set in- she spent $500 to put them up in a hotel for a couple of nights, letting them get the sleep they needed. Thinking about this, I began to arrange for them to spend the summer on my brother's farm. But before I could meet with them and do the background checks my brother requested, they got into an emergency shelter for 30 days. This post is as much to remind me to call Barb and ask if she's had any contact with them since. Their story was a hard one. Several years ago, when they were living in Southern California, they had an argument. The neighbor considered it bad enough to call the police- he was arrested and convicted of domestic disturbance, becoming a felon. That was the end of his career as a train locomotive engineer; he then had to start taking whatever jobs he could to keep the family afloat. She started taking jobs too, but without a college diploma, only low-skilled work was available. They tried to move halfway across the country, with family, in Louisiana, but then Katrina hit- and their extended family was scattered across the United States. That's when they landed in Portland- with what they assumed were good government jobs that FEMA had found for them. They started renting the biggest house they could afford for their 5 children, and for a few years they were OK. But then the recession hit- and local governments have had to lay people off. The aging house they were in began having problems, and between them falling behind on the rent and the repairs, the landlord couldn't afford to keep up. Just before Christmas, with no jobs on the horizon and former employers disputing their unemployment benefits, they had to move out. At the beginning of March, I met this family in their hotel in Gresham. I spent several hours visiting with their oldest son, who wants to get into dance and video game design (Microsoft Kinect?). Of course, there's now no money for college for him. I didn't know where the parents were, only that they were late- and then a miracle occurred. They came in, having been through the ringer of an interview- but had housing for the family for the next month- enough time to get their unemployment and into a better housing situation on their own income. This is what Barb does. If you are in Portland, come support her work. The Knights of Columbus John Clare Council will be holding a benefit breakfast for Barb on April 29th, at St. Clare's Catholic Church, 8535 SW 19th Ave, Portland, OR 97219, 8:30am-12:30pm. Help another family get off the streets.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Scarf can mean a lot

As of late, we've been pushing our Sustaining Circle- friends who give monthly. My wife and I can't give much, but we are a part of the sustaining circle. As of late, my wife has taken up knitting- and has donated a few scarves. She also had a couple of attempts at hats, but didn't know how to close them. When we went out on my birthday to take a walk with Barb, we came across a lady with a dog holding a sign- "I don't remember the last time I was warm". While my farming family loaded her down with food and clothing, my wife stepped up and gave the dog one of the unfinished hats- like a little sweater. That one gift, made that lady's night- for not only was she warmer, but so was her dog.

An immigrant to our shores

Let me tell you about the story of a man we met recently. A legal immigrant to our country, this man did EVERYTHING right. When he had some friends going through tough times, he bound together with four other men, and rented a house. One by one they lost their jobs, until he was the last one left with a job. Unfortunately, his meager income wasn't enough- and after not being able to meet the rent three months in a row, all four men were evicted. Still he tried. He rented a small apartment, invited his friends to sleep on the floor. But a couple of months later, he lost his job, and all were evicted again. Out on the streets, with no way to get shelter, the four friends split up. One night as he was sleeping, his wallet was stolen. Under Oregon's new RealID act, he had no way to replace his ID, for he had to get his birth certificate from his birth country, replace his visa, replace his green card, replace his driver's license. In one short step, he went from being a legal but struggling immigrant, to an undocumented homeless immigrant, through no fault of his own. And that's when Barb met him. She helped him get the paperwork he needed. Often here in Oregon, due to necessity, many government offices will waive fees to help get somebody off the streets, and in most cases for this man this was so- except for one very important form, which cost a whole $.75 (75 cents). Barb gave him a dollar- and a bus pass- and he's now employed and on his way off the streets. This is what we do. Can you become one of our sustaining circle? Go to and find out how.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Thanksgiving Miracle

Our dear directoress, Barb Lescher, wasn't even going to go out on Thanksgiving of 2011. So many other homeless agencies, with more funds than we have, put on so many special events on Thanksgiving and Christmas that there are few if any homeless actually on the streets. But at the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and armed with a suitcase full of socks, she did go out, turning down a request from a friend to go Christmas shopping instead. She didn't find many- but at dusk, she found one man bedding down for the night in the doorway of a closed business. She gave him some socks, then asked "Is there anything else you need?" knowing that she didn't have anything in her suitcase other than socks. He politely refused, and she left him to finish making his sleeping bag up for the night. A half block further on, he comes running after her. He says, he had a chance at a job with housing, but they turned him down for safety reasons- because he didn't have steel toed boots. If she could get him some steel toed boots- he could get a job and get off the streets. So Barb calls her friend, and asks if she still wants to go shopping. Thrilled, she picks Barb up, and they go out to the Wallmart on 82nd, which is opening early for Black Friday at 10pm. They pull into the parking lot at 9:50, the doors are already open, the parking lot is very full, so Barb's friend circles while she goes in. The Greeter directed her to the proper department, and 7 minutes later, she was approaching the checkout desks with the steel toed boots. Which is when she saw the crowd and though "OH, I'm going to be here a couple more hours just trying to check out." At that moment, a checkout lady came on shift, and signaled to Barb to skip the lines and come to her desk. 8 minutes total to get the boots. She still had to wait 20 minutes for her friend to circle the lot, but in only one circle- they had the boots and were headed back to downtown. Because of those boots, one fewer soul is off the streets of Portland this winter. What Barb does, is extraordinary. Please, click on this link Our Peaceful Place and click on the Donate Now Button. If you can afford it, sign up for a monthly donation- if we can just get 88 people, giving $25/month, into our sustaining circle, we can keep Barb out there- with plenty of socks and emergency cash for needs like this one.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Newsletter

The Winter Newsletter for Our Peaceful Place can be found on our main website. Please don't hesitate to donate- or better yet become one of our sustaining circle!