CORVALLIS, Ore. – Fifteen thousand dollars is funding the women’s homeless shelter in Corvallis, thanks to two grants that were written by four Oregon State University graduate students.
Corvallis had a shelter outside of town last season, but was forced to shut its doors. Sara Power, a volunteer with the First United Methodist Church in Corvallis, says she wanted to make sure single women had a place to go during the winter months. The church had funds to run a shelter, but only for a few months.
“But then it would have been, okay, how are we going to raise the extra money?” Power asked. “We really would have been in panic mode.”
Power sent out a message to anyone she could think of who might be able to help. She contacted the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU, seeing if anyone was interested in helping.
Four graduate students within the department met with Power. Bethany Harmon, Terese Jones, Joy Lile, and Cara Ashworth wanted to do what they could to help.
“It was an immediate way, even before completing our degrees while we’re still students, to say: Hey! We can do something right now,” Jones said. “We’ll walk by it every day, and we’ll say: ‘That’s what all of that training and all of that learning has been about.’ It’s about 8 to 10 to 12 women a night having a safe, dry, place to sleep.”
Power was thrilled.
“These wonderful women show up,” she said. “Enthusiastic. Full of great ideas. They volunteered right off the bat to be the grant writing committee.”
The students say they knew their grant writing skills could come to good use, and they wanted to do what they could to raise as much money for the new shelter. In August, the students received the good news.
They received $5,000 from the Spirit Mountain Foundation, and $11,540 from the Meyer Memorial Trust to fund the shelter.
“I was so thrilled and relieved knowing the shelter would be able to open on time,” Harmon said.
Harmon says the grants could not have come at a better time. This week, Corvallis has consistently seen sub-freezing temperatures.
“We’re saving lives,” Power said. “Literally saving lives on these cold nights.”
The grant writers say the need is not going anywhere in Corvallis, and that they’ll be back next year to revise their grants and re-apply for more.
“I don’t know what some of these women would do without the shelter,” Harmon said.