Harbor Light: No Longer Just “Three Hots and a Cot”

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A HOT MEAL–Harbor Light cook prepares a nutritious pasta dish for hungry clients. (Photo courtesy Cascade DHQ.)


The clients lined up outside Portland’s Harbor Light get more than just a meal inside the 95-year-old building–they have the opportunity to have their lives touched–and changed–by caring staff and programs.

The center, under the direction of Major Neil Hogan, offers homeless men, women, and families emergency shelter and daily hot meals. Each year, the Harbor Light serves more than 2,000 people, including homeless single adults and more than 250 children who are housed with their families.

In all, eight programs meet the changing needs of Portland’s homeless population through: Door of Hope–short term housing for 8-24 women and children who are waiting for other community services; Beacon House–short term transitional housing for 8-12 men who are re-entering the community from corrections facilities; Safe Harbor Dorm–nightly shelter for homeless single adult males, usually 34 per night. The intended population is the working poor; and Winter Shelter–offering seasonal nightly shelter for homeless single adults and families–typically 125-150 individuals per night. “Shelter for women and children is the compelling need in Portland,” stated Pat Mohr.

In addition, up to 150 homeless and low income individuals are served hot meals at the daily meal line; the county health clinic operates there three days a week, providing TB and HIV testing; a street ministry on Friday and Saturday nights provides food for the hungry, distributes clothing when available, and ministers God’s love. The Bridgeway, designed for 12 individuals for 6-8 months, provides a social rehabilitation program based on spiritual mentoring, life skills lessons, and accountability.

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