In 2017, Kristle Delihanty, founder and executive director of PDX Saints Love, looked around and saw hunger and loneliness in her East Portland community. Having had her own experience with houslessness and addiction, Kristle knew she could do something to help. She put a big pot of chili in the back of her car and just started driving around meeting her unhoused neighbors, offering a hot meal and some basic necessities.
She realized that what the people she was talking to really needed was a human connection, just someone to listen to them with no agenda. A friend.
“We belong to each other and are responsible to one another,” said Kristle.
PDX Saints Love applied for a small grant from Civic Life’s East Portland Community Office to establish a pilot program providing support to folks in East Portland experiencing houselessness, substance use disorders, and resource scarcity.
These regular community events in Portland parks bring people together with music and food to provide basic human comforts like a shower and laundry. Community Health Workers and Peer Support Specialists are also on site to help with ID replacement vouchers, vaccines, shelter and detox referrals, and other resources.
- Every Monday, Lents Park - 4808 SE 92nd Ave., 10a.m. to 2p.m.
- Every Thursday, 247 SE 82nd Ave., 10a.m. to 2p.m.
- Every Friday, Lents Park - 4808 SE 92nd Ave., 5 to 7p.m.
“It’s so important to have support there when someone decides ‘I want something different.’ But if there are no spots open at detox centers, we could lose an opportunity for life,” said Kristle. “You can’t really detox from fentanyl without medical intervention and it’s hard to just hand them some Narcan and say, ‘Stay safe until I see you again’. Portland's infrastructure for substance use disorder treatment and stabilization is a huge challenge in this crisis.”
On just one Monday in May, PDX Saints Love provided services to more than 130 Portlanders! These events are open to the public and prioritize folks living unhoused, immigrant communities, and Black, Indigenous, and other communities of color.
You can get involved to help PDX Saints Love reach our most vulnerable community members by emailing info@PDXSaintsLove.com to volunteer or learn about resource needs!
And in other good Portland news:The Joyce Hotel, which received funding from the Portland Housing Bond, opened in Downtown Portland to provide permanent supportive housing for people exiting homelessness. Read more!