DePaul Security Officers Robbie and Tina Shank

As Robbie and Tina Shank and their daughter moved from the Goose Hollow Family Shelter into their own apartment in early 2013, they had a team supporting them. Volunteers from a local congregation helped them furnish their new home, assisted with school registration and provided a variety of other supports. The Shank family was featured in The Oregonian in March 2013, and today Robbie and Tina both work as Security Officers with DePaul Security and have stable housing.

The Shanks were among the first participants in the Village Support Network, an interfaith program of the New City Initiative that connects communities of faith with families transitioning from homelessness. Robbie and Tina (pictured at right in front of City Hall) spoke about their experience at yesterday’s Portland City Council meeting, where Portland’s mayor and city commissioners unanimously declared their support for the Network and encouraged increased participation.

Village Support Teams are composed of 4-6 volunteers from a congregation who assist families for a six-month transition period. In 2013, the Village Support Network assisted 15 families; with the support of the City, it hopes to increase that number to 50 families in 2014.

Jobs are vitally important to families transitioning out of homelessness, and DePaul partners with the New City Initiative and other social service organizations to help people with barriers to employment obtain jobs. Congratulations to the New City Initiative and all involved parties on the continued growth and success of the Village Support Network!