No one expects to become homeless. The truth is, homelessness can happen to anyone.*
Clara, at 87 years old, received a notice of a 62% rent increase, pricing her out of housing.
“When she got the notice, thankfully I was there. She just broke down,” said her daughter Vena. “She lived there a long time, and the thought of moving just destroyed her.”
Vena contacted the news, telling them about her mother’s situation (Watch the news coverage below).
The story went viral.
That’s when a stranger decided to launched a Go Fund Me campaign to pay for Clara’s housing.
What happened after that surprised both women.
The community responded with a generous outpouring of donations and words of encouragement.
“They set a goal of a certain amount, and it more than exceeded that goal. And that was overnight!”
“Even before I cried out ‘Oh God, what am I going to do?’ God already had an answer,” said Vena.
“It was so beautiful. I have never seen so many people rally like that. None of them knew her,” said Vena. “One guy gave a thousand and he challenged his friends to do the same.” Vena printed the notes and read them to her mother.
“I saw this on several local news channels and my heart went out to Clara…My prayers are with you…” –Jill
“I’m sorry we as a community, as a society, as a nation, and as people don’t take better care of our elders, and subject them to this kind of undue stress. I hope this helps.” –Rooshan
“I live on a fixed income as well and am a single mother of a handicapped son. I know the struggle of trying to make my bills each month. I wish that I was able to donate more. I would in a heartbeat, Ms. Clara. I pray that this eases some of your worries. God bless you sweet lady.” –Christal
After Clara’s death, Vena wanted the money that was left––a gift towards housing––to continue helping those in need. She wrote a check to Portland Rescue Mission in her mother’s honor. “It felt so good,” said Vena.
“More than anything, I want people to have hope because there are so many people that just give up, they just think ‘I can’t do it,’ and its right, you can’t, but God can.”
Vena said that even she and her children experienced homelessness for a season, after a car accident left her unable to work.
Vena encountered hope when she was a young mother facing homelessness. The same hope inspired a community to help her mother from becoming homeless. And it’s the same hope that Portland Rescue Mission shares daily to men, women and children also in need of home and community.
“You’re not just giving people a handout, you love them back into who they can be,” said Vena about Portland Rescue Mission.
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*Learn about other Myths of Homelessness