One of the perceptions that I work to address here at the blotter is that Lake Oswego is a community of the wealthy and the rich. Yes, we have more than the average number of million dollar houses. But we also have homes that are less expensive and even people who are struggling with homelessness. We are a diverse community with diverse needs.
In 1998 six churches in Lake Oswego formed the Lake Oswego Transitional Shelter Ministry to address homelessness. The first shelter was opened in 2001 at the Lake Oswego United Church of Christ, and a second shelter was opened a few years later at the United Methodist Church. Both shelters are supported by all of the churches involved which also includes Church of Christ, Scientist, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic, Christ Episcopal, Lake Grove Presbyterian, and Our Savior’s Lutheran.
The shelters provide housing to families for 3 to 6 months while they get on their feet after whatever brought them to homelessness. Families are pre-screened by Clackamas County Social Services and the Annie Ross House Outreach Program. They are aided by counselors who help them to find employment and break the cycle of homelessness. Volunteers from the churches involved drop in daily to provide a ride, a listening ear, and when needed, advice.
Over the years that I have lived in Lake Oswego I have known people who struggled to keep food on the table and who lived economically on the edge. This community is not just a community of the wealthy. It really is a cross section of humanity. I am proud that within the community there are programs to aid those in need.