Gary lost his house. After numerous battles with the banks and an array of other struggles with the courts, he was evicted and forced to leave his home behind. Any hope of straightening out his living situation was gone. In a matter of days, Gary was homeless and facing a new reality: survival.
Gary’s experience with the street was not a pleasant one. While wandering the streets of Portland, simply trying to stay warm was a trial in itself—a harsh reality for anyone who longs for the rest that is so often fleeting when you’re homeless. In a desperate search for a good night’s sleep, Gary eventually made his way to Portland Rescue Mission.
“I don’t know what I would have done, where I would have gone, or how I would have sustained my existence without this place,” Gary explained. “When I walked in, I saw instant relief. It was like taking an aspirin for my whole situation. It was crisis management.”
“I was just so happy there was actually a place available for me where I don’t have to sleep in the bushes … I don’t have to wander around the streets looking for a car that’s open so I can crawl in at night just to get out of the weather,” he said. “My crisis didn’t seem so big anymore. It wasn’t as overwhelming because there’s a peace here, and a level of comfort, you’re not going to get at a lot of places. There’s a grace, mercy, forgiveness and joy that fills the atmosphere.”
As Gary continued to explain his experience at Connect, another reason he said the Burnside Shelter is such a special place to him is because it’s God-centered.
“God is here, He’s working and you’re under his protection … You’re not a stranger when you walk in here. There’s something so inviting about this place. The staff is truly concerned about the guests that come in here and they have a big heart for their situation.”
Since our interview, Gary has graduated from our three-month Connect program and moved into a place of his own just a few blocks away. His transition has not only been a success, but he’s built a forever friendship in the process and become one of the Mission’s biggest champions.
“It doesn’t matter what you believe. Atheist or not, if you need help, you can come in here and experience the reality of grace and mercy like you’ve never experienced anywhere else in your life. God’s grace is upon this place, and His mercy endures forever.”
Your financial gifts and compassionate heart for men like Gary can transform lives. With your help, we can continue to give hope and restore life to men and women looking to transition quickly off the streets and into permanent housing and employment through our Connect program. (To find out more about what we offer through our Hope Ministries, check out PortlandRescueMission.org/BurnsideShelter).