Jennifer's Story

Jennifer Head Shot

I was living in Salem and was unemployed in 2011, when I broke my leg. I got hooked on pain medication and started using meth in April 2012; by December I was homeless. After living on the streets for two years, I came to Portland looking for a fresh start.

I stayed at Right 2 Dream Too and the Severe Weather Shelter at Bud Clark Commons on the coldest nights. For a few months I stayed at the Woman’s Winter Warming Shelter (now SOS) and made daily use of the Transition Projects Day Center shower and laundry services. I soon moved into an SRO and began outpatient drug treatment through Central City Concern, during which time I worked with a case manager and got my GED.

Once in stable housing, I was driven to give something back and got a job at Transition Projects, first as an on-call Client Services Specialist and then a fulltime Hygiene Specialist. In that time, I completed our Mentor Training Program because, as someone who successfully ended my homelessness, I wanted to show others that it is possible to get clean and off the streets and become a productive member of society again.

Reunited with my now 16-year-old daughter, who lives with me full time, I was promoted to the position of Case Manager, which I have held for a year and a half. I help people who are not in shelter work on mitigating their barriers to housing. I love getting people who have lived on the street for years back into housing. I am looking forward to being a grandma again and enjoying my life being sober.