Construction company lends hand to people in need

Beisa’s Legacy Construction, a general contractor in Wood Village, is setting an example for the community by making a tradition out of doing good.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - In the living room of their home, from left, residents Whitney Jett and Mollie Dundas, and Oxford House state coordinator Edward Smith.Each year through its “Helping Hands” projects, the company offers free construction services to families and people in need.

In years past, “Helping Hands” projects have included helping a Damascus family make its home more accessible for a daughter who was disabled in a car wreck, sprucing up a church for its 100th anniversary and painting a bedroom for a single mother.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Anwar Beisa, owner of Beisas Legacy Construction, stands in soon-to-be basement rooms at an Oxford house in Gresham.This year, Beisa’s Legacy is lending a hand to those affected by addiction.

Beisa’s construction workers are expanding the living area of a women’s sober living Oxford home in Gresham.

Oxford House refers to any house operating under the “Oxford House Model” a community-based approach to addiction treatment that provides an independent, supportive, and sober living environment.

Workers have already begun to convert the garage at Oxford House “Brannigan” on Southwest Fourth Street into two extra bedrooms.

When complete, the home will have enough room to house seven women and their children in need of a safe place to recover.

Beisa’s Legacy owner Anwar Beisa said he wanted to do more than just earn an income when he started his construction company seven years ago.

Every year since, Beisa said he’s taken advantage of opportunities to help someone out.

He can’t remember who came up with the name “Helping Hands,” but it stuck.

Beisa said he couldn’t do the projects without the assistance of his 10 or so longtime employees, who are more than willing to carry out these services in their free time.

Beisa believes these projects are a way of contributing to the greater good.

“If we all help each other a little, this will be a better society and a better world,” he said.

Edward Smith, Oregon state coordinator for Oxford House, said the need for sober housing is high, especially in Multnomah County, where he said up to four people show up to interview when a room opens up.

There are 155 Oxford homes in the state with around 1,200 members. Locations of homes are divided into chapters. Chapter 6 includes three Oxford homes in Gresham — two for women and one for men.

Oxford’s mission is to provide safe, affordable housing for addicts or alcoholics who want recovery, Smith said.

Women and men pay a monthly rent to live in one of the many single-family homes Oxford rents from regular landlords throughout Oregon.

Smith said the idea is to make rents affordable, but also, “We try to have nice houses in nice neighborhoods where people can be proud of their living.”

Mollie Dundas moved into the Oxford Brannigan house in September when it opened.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - Beisas Legacy workers convert the garage of an Oxford House into bedrooms for women in recovery.Dundas said the only requirement to live at an Oxford house, besides paying rent, is to quit using alcohol and drugs.

“We have a zero tolerance rule,” she said. Regular drugs tests are required of residents. “If you come up positive for anything, you have 24 hours to pack up your stuff and get out.”

The rules are strict because Oxford is serious about people committing to sobriety. Oxford homes are self-managed. Peers support and hold each other accountable. They also share chores and yard work like a family household.

At the Brannigan house, one mother cares for her baby, and another has her two sons visit on the weekends.

Dundas says the new rooms will help provide two more women the option of sobriety.

Dundas had a problem with alcohol and drugs before she moved into her first Oxford home. She says living there is her stability.

“Oxford has been a huge part of my life,” she said. “They’ve been there when I need a place to go.”

Dundas and Smith are grateful for Beisa’s work to construct two new rooms in the house.

“To see a team of seven or eight men help these women they don’t know … it was moving,” Smith said.

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