Virginia's Story

A Single Working Mother Trying to Find a Home.

Meet Virginia and her two kids. Virginia worked full time the entire time she experienced homelessness. With the support of our Housing and Retention Specialist, Mary, Virginia and her two kids moved back into permanent housing.

There are so many misconceptions around homelessness. People often wrongly assume that people who are experiencing homelessness don’t want to work and/or don’t have a job.

At PHFS, over 75% of the parents we work with are employed. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to support a family on low paying jobs – especially when you’re a single parent raising kids in a city like Portland where rents have increased dramatically in recent years.

Virginia, a single mom of two teenage kids, Pollux and Shayla, worked full-time the entire time she was in shelter at PHFS.

“Being a single person and trying to raise two children in this economy is almost impossible,” she says. “We became homeless because every three months, without fail, our rent would go up. It wasn’t leveling out any more. There was no way for me to continue.”

Finding a temporary home and support from housing specialists at PHFS was just what Virginia needed to get back on her feet.

After arriving at shelter, she says, “I think I cried for the first two days. I was so relieved that we found a safe place to sleep. I could actually sleep because I knew my children were safe. It was like the world was lifted off of my shoulders.”

Virginia realized her family’s experience was not unique. “So many of the families at PHFS are just like us. They just ended up without a place to live.”

With help and support from PHFS, in March 2017, Virginia and her kids were able to move into permanent housing. “Just having our own door to close and our own four walls was probably the happiest I had been in a very long time."