One of the qualities that makes JOIN’s work unique is how authentically we value relationships and community. I’d like to introduce you to Lindsey. JOIN found a friend in Lindsey, and Lindsey found a community in JOIN.
Lindsey moved to Portland to pursue a better life. However, things didn’t go as planned and he found himself faced with life on the street. Lindsey had never experienced homelessness before. Being new to Portland and without a community of support, he didn’t know where to turn.
Fortunately, Lindsey met JOIN Outreach Worker, Mike. Through JOIN, Lindsey was connected to shelter during the cold winter months. While in the shelter, Mike and Lindsey worked together to create a housing plan– while building a friendship. “Every time I came to Mike, needing advice, he was honest. Mike is right there in your corner.” Just as Mike showed up for Lindsey, JOIN shows up each day for people experiencing homelessness in our community.
“I don’t take anything for granted anymore. Being homeless was something I never thought would happen to me, and when I met Mike from JOIN, it was like an answer to my prayers.”
With JOIN’s help, Lindsey was connected to housing. He settled into his new home, found a steady job and met a woman named Nyshell. Lindsey and Nyshell fell in love and began their life together.
As life does, it took a turn. Lindsey received devastating news that his brother was diagnosed with cancer. Lindsey and Nyshell needed to move to Michigan to care for his brother. Over time, his brother’s health improved. Lindsey and Nyshell were ready to return home to Portland. Mike and Lindsey never lost touch and once back in Portland, they were reunited as old friends– and could work together to re-establish the stability they had found before having to move to Michigan.
“When I talked to Mike, he said that he’d be happy to help, but that I had work to do as well. I was raised with the Southern value that your word is your bond. Sometimes that was all I had to offer– my word that I would do what I said. Mike was like that, too.”
Lindsey met with all the landlords that Mike connected him to, and it wasn’t long before Lindsey and Nyshell moved into an apartment in East Portland.
Once settled in their new home, Lindsey and Nyshell welcomed their son, Kahiem. A few months after their son’s birth, Nyshell held Kahiem as she walked down the aisle to marry Lindsey, among their closest friends and family, including Mike and his son.
Their family has since grown, and Kahiem is now a big brother to K’Von. K’Von adores Kahiem and imitates him in everything. Lindsey described Kahiem as a proud big brother to K’Von, “he’s protective and loving of K’Von.” Kahiem and K’Von have always had a home to grow up in, their lives are the fruits of stability for their parents.
As time went on, Lindsey was able to not only provide for his family but also give back to JOIN’s community. During the holidays, Lindsey helps at our Thanksgiving meal. Throughout the year, Lindsey teams up with our garden party crew, growing fruits and vegetables for all to enjoy. Lindsey found a community in JOIN.
“Whenever I think about what Mike and the community at JOIN did for me, tears start to flow. I’m grateful. I’m blessed. I’ve learned how to accept the things I can’t change, and to have the courage to change the things that I can.”
Everyone walks through life differently, JOIN meets people where they are. Our work is to build community and ensure collective wellbeing. We achieve this by helping people move off the street and into the safety and peace of home.