Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Portland, Oregon - Habitat for Humanity Trip

While in Portland through Habitat for Humanity’s Collegiate Challenge, we were able to participate in a variety of jobs and experience much of the city. On Tuesday, our seven student team worked with ReStore, a branch of Habitat for Humanity that receives donated house wares and materials and sells them to the public to raise money for Habitat builds. We also met with a Program Coordinator of Portland’s Ending Homelessness Initiative in her office downtown and were able to ask questions and learn more about the initiative and the 10-Year plan to end homeless. We resumed our normal schedule Wednesday and reported to Victoria Cottages, one of the build sites of Portland/Metro East’s HFH. It rained the entire day while we put up siding, put in drywall, filled electrical holes with insulation, and a variety of other tasks. After work, a member of JOIN, a homelessness organization, came to speak with us about their unique take to combatting homelessness. They believe in forming connections with the homeless to encourage them to move back into society and take the steps necessary to find and maintain housing, and they strive to be a friend rather than a government program. On Thursday, our team was assigned to prepare a donated Section 8 house for an AmeriCorps team who would be staying there. We cleaned the yard of leaves and trash and tore up urine-soaked carpet and padding to install new carpet. We returned to Victoria Cottages on Friday and left that evening. Thanks to the guidance of one of our native volunteers, we were able to visit Multnomah Falls, Voodoo Donuts, Powell’s Bookstore, coffee shops, thrift stores, and many other Portland sites. Overall we had a great trip building, sightseeing, and being educated on the issues of homelessness.

Carmen Ren 

Trip Leader Spring 201