Pablo & Carly

Pablo and CarlyIn mid-December 2017, I received messages via social media and email from Jackie Hammond-Williams of the Oregon City Farmers Market. Jackie informed me a woman named Kimberly Rose was trying to help a homeless couple living in the hilltop area. Kimberly Rose sought assistance for the couple in a social media group called Oregon City Chit Chat. Jackie wanted the couple to know if they could get to the Farmer's market, she could match up to $10 on their SNAP food benefits card for them to buy fruits/vegetables.

In addition to Jackie reaching out to me about the couple, I received an email from a woman named Kristina Hattan who was concerned about them as well. Kristina purchased the couple a new tent and two sleeping bags as the temperature was so cold. She asked me if there was anything I could do to help, explaining the couple was looking for work and a place to sleep comfortably.

On December 13, 2017, I met with the male, Pablo Winder, behind Money Saver Mini Storage on Molalla Avenue. Pablo shared his story with me. He told me he'd been homeless for about 9 years. Pablo told me he'd been hopping freight trains and hitchhiking throughout the United States. He said they ended up at Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City as his fiancé, Carly Ballard, was sick. He also told me Carly was pregnant.

Pablo informed me he struggled with both mental and physical health issues and utilized a dog as a service animal. He'd previously received social security income, but it was discontinued and he needed to re-apply. Pablo was job searching but didn't have a birth certificate, identification, or a working phone.

Pablo was a textbook example of the idiom, "Don't judge a book by its cover." He has multiple facial tattoos which can carry a stigma and come off as intimidating. However, Pablo is far from intimidating. He is kind, respectful, and friendly. I set a goal to help Pablo acquire his birth certificate and identification.

On December 14, 2017, I met with Pablo at the Oregon City Police Department. Pablo obtained an application for a certified copy of his birth certificate out of California. I gave Pablo a ride to the Clackamas County Transition Center to acquire an ID letter and notary for Pablo's birth certificate application. Transition Center Coordinator Kelli Zook assisted us with this and provided postage to mail in the birth certificate application. Pablo and I then went to Safeway where we purchased a money order to cover the cost of his birth certificate. I was able to purchase the money order for Pablo using donated funds.

On December 19, 2017, I met with Carly Ballard and she shared her story. Carly had been homeless and unemployed for about one year. She had a variety of work experience but was in need of identification for employment. Carly was on housing lists in Clackamas County, but she and Pablo were currently living unsheltered. In addition to the challenges of living unsheltered, Carly recently had a medical emergency. Carly and Pablo were expecting a baby, but sadly Carly had a miscarriage. During my interaction with Carly, she was able to schedule a follow-up medical appointment. I share this sad information with Carly's permission to show how Carly and Pablo thrived in the midst of tragedy.

On December 27, 2017, I met with Carly again. She'd obtained a letter of domicile from The Father's Heart Street Ministry, which she needed to acquire an ID. Carly told me she put her resume' into the system at WorkSource and obtained a list of workshops to look through. She told me her mother purchased her some interview clothes and also paid to put her up in a motel. Carly said her mother was willing to provide additional financial assistance, so she could stay in the motel longer. Being prudent, Carly wanted to make the best use of her mother's financial assistance by finding a housing situation that would last as long as possible.

Pablo and Carly both had a history of substance abuse, so I reached out to Iron Tribe Network to see if their Recovery and Wellness Homes would be an option. I spoke with the Iron Tribe Property Manager, Meli, who was great to work with. Meli said she would provide an emergency bed for Pablo and Carly on Saturday night and they could attend a house interview on Sunday. If accepted into the house, their rent would be $525 a month plus a $300 deposit. With the rent being $525 a month, the financial assistance Carly's mother was able to provide would cover an entire month's rent, as opposed to just one week at a motel. I followed up with Kristina Hattan regarding Pablo and Carly as well. Kristina generously volunteered to pay the $300 deposit for them. However, I checked in with Meli on January 1, 2018, and learned Pablo and Carly weren't selected for the house.

Carly and Pablo didn't give up on their housing search and we continued to work together. On January 3, 2018, I met with Carly and gave her a ride to the Gladstone DMV. Using donated funds, I purchased Carly's Oregon identification card for her. Carly and Pablo didn't have a working phone and were in need of one for their employment and housing search. Clackamas County Community Paramedic Amy Jo Cook was able to provide them with a Tracfone cell phone and pre-paid minutes to eliminate that communication barrier.

On January 4, 2018, I followed up with Pablo and Carly at the Transition Center. Carly was working with Transition Center Employment and Training Specialist Kimber Gillaspy. The Transition Center was also working to assist Pablo with the removal of his facial tattoos through Project Erase. I went to the Oregon City Express Employment Professionals office and met with Staffing Consultant Ashley O'Grady. We facilitated the scheduling of an appointment for Carly on January 5, 2018.

I followed up with Carly again on January 8, 2018. Carly had great news! Carly and Pablo started renting a room a couple of days ago with her mother's financial assistance. In addition to that, Carly got a full-time job through Express Employment.

On January 10, 2018, I met with Pablo at the Transition Center. Pablo told me he went to Love INC yesterday, who was going to provide them with furniture for their new place. Transition Center staff also contributed by gathering blankets, quilts, and pillows for their new place. Additionally, Corrections Counselor Kristen Watson scheduled an appointment for Pablo to get health insurance via the Oregon Health Plan.

On January 25, 2018, using funds donated by Kristina Hattan, we purchased an Oregon identification card for Pablo and TriMet bus passes for the month of February for both of them. Pablo and I also went to Express Employment in an effort to find him a job. On February 12, 2018, I followed up with Ashley O'Grady of Express Employment and learned Pablo obtained full-time employment.

Ashley O'Grady sent me an email on March 9, 2018, informing me Pablo was wondering if there was any way we could help him get a bicycle. Kimber Gillaspy of the Transition Center referred me to Classic Cycle in my search for a bike. I reached out to Classic Cycle in Oregon City who subsequently donated a great bicycle to Pablo.

On March 29, 2018, I met Pablo and Carly for coffee and an update on their lives. I was excited to learn they were no longer renting a room. They were now renting their very own apartment. I'm inspired by Carly and Pablo's determination to succeed. I'm also inspired by the village of community/family members who came together to ensure their success. Carly has since moved on to another employment opportunity and their lives as young adults are really starting to take shape. I most recently learned that Pablo and Carly's lives are taking them in different directions, which will change the circumstances of their living arrangements. However, I will continue to work with them in an effort to ensure their success. Thank you Carly and Pablo for allowing me to share your story. I have no doubt it will give hope to many.

Thank you, Kimberly Rose, Jackie Hammond-Williams, Kristina Hattan, and Love INC for the assistance you provided. I know Carly and Pablo are very thankful. Also, special thanks are in order for Ashley O'Grady and Express Employment Professionals of Oregon City for finding employment for Carly and Pablo.