Our Mother’s House in Portland, Oregon

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 (now St. Andre Bassette Catholic Church, http://www.saintandrechurch.org) 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.

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 and the sex industry 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. One mother we met in the last spring of 2012 had a 2-month-old infant. We met her at various locations about Portland when she needed diapers and infant formula.

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 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 the sex industry 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 ourmothershouse@gmail.com.

Donation:

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, especially as gas prices are going up again. Our gas costs are approximately $50.00 per month.

We are currently looking for another 501(c)(3) to partner with but at this time, since we are not a 501(c)(3), unfortunately donations are not tax deductible.

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10 thoughts on “Our Mother’s House in Portland, Oregon

  1. I would like to get emails about what projects you are working on, how many women are given help etc.. I would love to know more about your organization so I can spread the word and possibly get more donations from others to help these families. Thank you,
    Maggie

    • Please contact Mary Dettman at RahabsSisters.org and she can give you more information on what is needed. I do know that after moving to Seattle I go down 1 Fri. a month to help out at the Fri night drop in center. I do know that all donations are used directly towards the programs for the women.

  2. OMH was the first agency that I found in Portland that was a huge help to me and also to my children. Although I had started mental health by that time for MY trauma from being trafficked I never did learn how to be a healthy balanced parent. OMH did so much for my kids even as the next to youngest was on her way to prison at 16 Mr. Willis talked to the courts and explained how this family had fallen through the cracks of getting the help we ALL needed to heal from that lifestyle. My youngest daughter is now entering UW in Sept. thanks to OMH and their wonderful volunteers! They gave me my first birthday party as an adult, and took me to meetings where people in society gathered to look for solutions to trafficking. I never thought there was anyone that even knew that a large percentage of these girls don’t want to be out there. Women who are trafficked that have children are often held hostage because someone in the pimps family will be the baby sitter, forcing her to bring the money to him. There is never enough I can do to thank OMH and Rahabs Sisters for what they have done for this family but I hope that my giving back by doing outreach and hospitality on 4th Friday allows me to be a part of the battle that seemed hopeless so many times. Let me also, as a survivor, thank each and everyone that gives
    of their time and donations to these agencys because it is only with YOUR help that they are able to be there and show a trafficked victim that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Again Thank You…Debra Foster

    • Debra,
      Thank you very much for your comment. It is greatly appreciated. We are all very happy to have had the opportunity to work together and to get to know your children. That is great news about your youngest starting UW! Please tell her we said “Congratulations” to both of you. Thanks also for all your help to connect us with other moms and their children and all you do to help them too. Keep up the good work! Brian

      • So what are YOU doing lately? I heard you were in Asia somewhere….should I start collecting sewing machines or something? How about just socks and underwear? I don’t believe it matters WHERE in the world someone is if they want to change their lifestyle, what’s important is that there is someone somewhere willing to step forward and become a part of that journey. And you and those wonderful people that stepped up were there for my family and I try to live my life today in accordance with how I know THEY would like to have me do. I miss you. Yeah the brats in UW, full ride,she got a speeding ticket coming back from Yakima July 5th and is going to court about that, aaahhh…. how lil they REALLY know about life. LOL

  3. Hi Debra. Yes, I’m in Asia (Cambodia) but expect to be back by Christmas. Not sure if sewing machines would help here. There is actually a very large garment industry so they have lots of sewing machines. The solutions aren’t very clear. When I get back to Portland I plan to do outreach on Christmas. Last year I couldn’t get anyone to go with me but was still able to provide food a toys to one mom and her two children and dinner to four other women. Will try and get donated food again this year. Does M need anything, like a new pair of glasses? We can cover that if she needs them. If not, we can put together a box for her and take it down around Christmas if she would like. If so, let me know what she wants or needs. Hope B is enjoying UW and didn’t have too much problem with that ticket.

    • If you need me here to help I will be here no problem. Havent spoken to M in a couple years ..her and him got kicked out of N.E. and his brother says they live in G, hooked on M I don’t know.B is finding out that she is NOT REALLY A PRINCESS at UW and that kids there say ” I don’t use that Husky Card my parents drop money in my account”. In THIS family she was the smartest thing around but there she is just one smart kid out of thousands…..If you have FB get at me and Ill send you my # if you don’t have it any more. Your right much more labor trafficking there….

      • That would be great. I have one or two other people who want to help too. We’ll load up the van and go to 82nd. Regarding M, I mean M who is in Coffee Creek. Your M. Does she need glasses or anything? I’m sure it must be hard for B, but I think that is common for a lot of students in their first year. I’ll get your number when I get back in a couple of weeks.

  4. Brian, I still go to Rahabs Sisters every 4th Fri from. I don’t know if you’ve made it back to town or not as I haven’t heard from you. Let me know your plans and I will start making some resource bags that we can hand out if your back in town. M would need a new vision apt and that wont happen. She finally got her GED and B will be going down to the celebration on the 28th. My # is 853-3182. The area code is where I live now and you know where that is. I am arranging to talk to a real estate lawyer about the benefits of allowing a non profit to use all or part of your property for shelter, it’s quite a tax break. I’m also composing a letter to a TV station that could do a reality show about these girls trying to get their lives together. Bad Girls Club look out!

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