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Transitional Shelter Ministries offers housing and other resources for homeless families



CLARKLake Oswego Transitional Shelter Ministry’s efforts to help homeless families transition to a place of self-sufficiency were honored Wednesday night with a 2016 Clackamas County Community Impact award.

The annual awards are sponsored by the Clackamas County Community Action Board and honor organizations and individuals that “make a significant contribution to local communities by working to help those who are struggling to meet their basic needs improve their life circumstances.”

Also among the winners: the Mountain Park New Seasons Market, which won the 2016 Business Award for its continued donations to the Meals on Wheels program at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center (“New Seasons recognized for support of Meals on Wheels,” May 19); FoodWaves, a Milwaukie nonprofit that installs gardens at Head Start centers, elementary schools and other locations to support vulnerable families; and Dr. T. Michael Norris, the medical director of Clackamas County Volunteers in Medicine.

All were honored at a special dinner at the Oregon City Golf Club in Oregon City.

“We’re very excited to honor the recipients of the 2016 Community Impact Awards,” said Clackamas County Social Services Director Brenda Durbin. “These individuals and organizations play key roles in helping those in need, and we think they should be honored for all of their hard work that may otherwise go unnoticed.”

Lake Oswego Transitional Shelter Ministry (LOTSM) received the Distinguished Services Award for its efforts in combating homelessness in the city. According to Amy Clark, vice president of the group’s board of directors, the volunteer organization is a consortium of six Lake Oswego-area churches and a handful of other community members.

Though the organization is church-based, Clark stressed that its outreach efforts are non-religious and that the group “does not engage in any form of active evangelism or proselytizing.” LOTSM was founded in 1988 as a way to provide temporary housing for homeless families. The group originally used extra space in one of the churches, but has grown over the years to include two permanent apartments.

“Ours are transitional shelters, they’re not emergency. We take people who are homeless and transition them to self-sufficiency,” said Clark. “We make sure they get the right classes, the right help and the right resources to be able to be on their own again.”

New resident families are vetted and referred to the program by Clackamas County; they typically stay in one of the apartments for around six months. Clark told The Review that she hopes the award will bring more awareness to the organization and its mission.

“We’re 100 percent volunteer run, so we just quietly do what we do,” said Clark. “I think the good that can come out of (the award) is if it brings awareness to the issue or to what we’re doing or brings us more volunteers or a donation. So we’re looking at it positively from that aspect.”

Clark also commended the Mountain Park New Seasons Market, not only for its support of Meals on Wheels but also because the store and its staff have provided significant help to LOTSM over the years.

“In lieu of an employee Christmas party one year, they pooled their money and bought food and gifts for our shelter residents — and they called us and offered to do that,” said Clark. “They’ve done so much for LOTSM; they also held a fundraiser for us one year.”

As for LOTSM, Clark says the group plans to keep providing its services and is in the process of upgrading its website, LOTSM.org, to provide more information and encourage potential volunteers.

“Anyone can reach out to (the website) and a real person will get back to them,” said Clark. “If people want to help, it could be as simple as driving someone to an appointment or donating a couple books.”

Contact Anthony Macuk at 503-636-1281 ext. 108 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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