Human Of the Month: Phoebe O’Meara
Detroit native Phoebe O’Meara moved to Portland after attaining a degree in social work from Saint Louis University, and she’s been working for Rose Haven to help create a healing space for women, children, and gender nonconforming people in the community. As the manager of the Rose Haven Advocacy Program, Phoebe helps to provide emotional support, resource information, and financial assistance to individuals seeking shelter and guidance while coping with the after-effects of abuse, home loss, and other health and life challenges.
“Each day our team of advocates meets one-on-one with folks to work on tasks like housing applications, job searches, and safety planning. Our financial assistance offerings focus on reducing barriers to community connections, like transportation, documentation, and communication. How can someone apply for a job without a working phone number, get to a medical appointment without bus fare, or access their bank account without an ID? These hurdles can be so discouraging to tackle alone, and our advocates are here to support people in navigating through them,” Phoebe explains.
For over twenty years Rose Haven has operated as a “community within the community” of Portland, removing stigma and barriers for those who are marginalized and often overlooked by society, may it be due to abuse, homelessness, or other struggles. They provide restrooms, showers, hygiene, food, mailing addresses, clothing, and first aid. Beyond the basic needs, Rose Haven offers education programs, guidance, and socialization that address more than just the bare minimum of what people need to survive. The day shelter and community center is a beacon of inclusivity and compassion in a particularly desperate and difficult time.
“Our guests have a particularly lovely way of putting community care into action,” Phoebe says. “I love the days when Rose Haven is bustling with activity in ways that conventional thought would say couldn’t work, yet it does in beautiful, harmonious forms. Our community that builds in this space – adults, kids, pets, and all – continually defies the misconceptions society has about what it looks like to experience marginalization. Getting to witness the ways our guests support each other through both the celebratory moments and challenging days is my favorite part of my job; those are the moments when Rose Haven is at its best.”
When she’s not working at Rose Haven, Phoebe has been enjoying the return to movie theaters and live concerts, and she’s even taken up a new hobby.
“I began learning to weave this past year and find it to be a great complement to my day job. It is technical and creative in a way that I find relaxing, and it is so satisfying to have something tactile to track your progress,” she explains.
We thrilled to feature Phoebe as our Human of the Month for September. She’s an excellent example of cultivating community and we’re delighted to spotlight her efforts and her passion.
If you’re interested in donating, volunteering, or just learning more about Rose Haven, check out their website. As a selected partner for 2022, our business is dedicated to providing as much support as we can. This Fall, our Sock It to Me teams ran a donation drive where we collected school supplies before the Back-to-School season and gathered a bin full of backpacks, colored pencils, pens, crayons, calculators, 3-ring binders, folders, and more. Our next effort is at the end of September, where we’ll be rallying together to provide in-person volunteer hours helping sort their stock room and warehouse. By the end of 2022, we’ll also have donated hundreds of pairs of new socks and underwear – hopefully delivering a little joy to the recipients in need.
We invite and encourage you to help us support Rose Haven in whatever way possible. Give them a follow on social media to stay connected to their activities and events!