Our Mother’s House in Portland, Oregon

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Welcome to Our Mother’s House, a Portland-based program to address the needs of mothers who are trafficked, in prostitution or sex work, and their children.


Background:

Our Mother’s House (OMH) was founded in September 2007 by Brian Willis, Director of Global Health Promise (www.globalhealthpromimse.org), and a group of volunteers. We operated out the Downtown Chapel from 2007 to the end of December 2011. We then partnered with Rahab’s Sisters, which operates a weekly drop in center on SE 82nd Avenue in Portland, from January 2012 until February 2013 when Brian received a fellowship to do research in Cambodia. We are now exploring re-opening OMH and are in discussion with local partners. In the meantime we continue our work through meeting with the mothers where they need support and by phone and texting.

About this website:

Unfortunately, due to a technical problem, the original website for OMH was lost. This website has been created and is still under development but provides basic information about OMH.

Our Mission:

The mission of OMH is to assist mothers who are trafficked and in prostitution/sex work and their children.

We implement our mission through direct services and advocacy.

What we do:

  1. Services:  
    We provide some direct services and also connect mothers and their children to existing services. If existing services are not available or cannot quickly respond to the needs of the mothers and their children we try and secure the needed services directly. For example, a number of women with whom we have worked have needed glasses but there are few agencies in the Portland metro area that help women get glasses. We make appointments for women and accompany them to the examination. As an example of how this helps women, one of our clients has very poor vision and was reduced to using one contact lens for months. By the time we learned of this situation and got her an appointment she had already developed damage to one of her eyes from using the contact too long. Fortunately the damage was caught in time and if she just wears her glasses for a year the damage will be reversed.

We also help mothers who have small infants. We also accompany our clients to the emergency room and to their doctor’s appointments as well as visit them in the hospital.

We also provide baby clothes and blankets, toys and books, and hygiene products for the children.

  1. Advocacy  
    Much of our time is dedicated to educating government officials, other organizations, and the public about the situation of mothers who are trafficked and in prostitution/sex wrok and their children. While there is increasing awareness of the situation of adolescent girls who are trafficked, few people appreciate that many adult women  in sex work are also mothers.

Our position is that society needs to understand that first and foremost these are mothers and their children and are families. Therefore, society needs to address the situation of these families as we would for other families and not stigmatize the mothers or their children.

Who we are:

OMH was founded by Brian Willis and a group of volunteers.

You can also contact Brian Willis directly at bwillis@globalhealthpromise.org

Donations:

Our greatest need is financial support to purchase infant formula, diapers, and other supplies as well as other items as the need arises, such as glasses, food, and to cover the cost of prescriptions for some of our clients.

We also need funding to cover the cost of our outreach staff and other expenses, including gas (our gas costs are approximately $50.00 per month), phone ($40/month), and car insurance ($69/month).

OMH is a program of Global Health Promise (GHP), a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization (EIN 47-4355802). If you would like to donation to OMH you can do so on the GHP website (www.globalhealthpromise.org) or contact Brian at bwillis@globalhealthpromise.org.

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Recruiting new volunteers

We met with two groups yesterday to discuss volunteering for Our Mother’s House. They were very productive discussions and we hope to have new volunteers soon. We also discussed our effort to re-start our drop-in-center. We continue to look for the appropriate location and space but it is also contingent on additional volunteers.

After the meeting we met one of our clients at the emergency room and helped care for her children. This is one of the functions of Our Mother’s House and what volunteers do.

Update: October 10, 2016

We continue to help several mothers and their children in the Portland area as well as to recruit additional volunteers and build partnerships. Last Thursday we met with three potential volunteers and this coming Sunday, October 16, we will have another meeting with potential volunteers. In addition we continue to look for donated space for a drop-in-center. Although we have met with numerous organizations over the past year we have not been able to find an appropriate location for a drop-in-center. Now we will meet with an organization located in SE Portland in the near future about partnering on the drop-in-center.