Deputies assigned to the Homeless Outreach and programs Engagement Team go above and beyond to help stranded, homeless couple get back on their feet.

In March, deputies assigned to the Homeless Outreach and Engagement (HOPE) Team met an elderly couple living in their compact pickup truck near the truck stops in Troutdale. Victoria and Wayne said they had lived there since January. HOPE Team deputies learned that the couple had lost their home due to financial hardships caused by illness. Victoria had a number of health problems, and Wayne had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. After Wayne’s diagnosis he was fired from his work as a truck driver. The couple said the majority of their family lives in Texas, and they had hoped to save enough money to eventually travel there to be with family.

The HOPE Team began looking into resources to help them to Texas, but immediately hit several roadblocks. The “A Ticket Home” program had run out of funding and could not help. Deputies tried to get Victoria and Wayne off the streets and into a shelter, but there was no room for the couple. The HOPE Team didn’t give up, they continued to look for options.

Deputies reached out to the Clackamas Service Center for help. Once again, deputies and outreach workers were met with a number of barriers, one of which being access to medications for Wayne. Deputies were not deterred. The HOPE Team coordinated with Portland Street Medicine to assist with getting prescriptions. Deputies then worked with the Clackamas Service Center to help pay for the medications.

Then, another speed bump, their pickup truck started having vehicle trouble. HOPE Team Deputy Cortada determined the truck’s battery had died. Cortada removed the battery, had it recharged and placed back in the vehicle. Cortada found another vehicle issue. He diagnosed the problem and purchased the car part out of his own pocket, knowing that they did not have funding to pay a mechanic. During this repair, deputies learned the couple’s prescription insurance had expired and the cost of the medications totaled thousands of dollars. Clackamas Service Center helped the couple get their insurance re-instated and prescriptions re-filled. The HOPE Team delivered the medications.

A date of July 7th was set to begin the trip. The date was based on Wayne and Victoria receiving their small social security check to fund the trip. The HOPE Team contacted Wayne and Victoria on July 2nd to make last minute preparations and found that Wayne and Victoria had spent their Social Security check on a first and last month’s rent on a house in Texas. After spending the entirety of their funds for the month Wayne and Victoria were prepared to spend another month homeless in Troutdale. The HOPE Team recognized that another month would mean another round of prescriptions, plus an increased danger to Wayne and Victoria’s health. Deputies spoke the Clackamas Service Center and were able to forward $500 for fuel costs. Wayne and Victoria left Troutdale on July 9th.

Several days later, Victoria and Wayne sent a photo to the deputies entering Texas. They report they are now living indoors with family. Welcome home!

MCSO’s Homeless Outreach and Programs Engagement (HOPE) Team works day-in and day-out to build networks with service providers and create trustworthy relationships with vulnerable populations to connect them with needed services. The Team also conducts and facilitates clean-up efforts to mitigate public health hazards in our community. HOPE’s goal is to provide a peacekeeping response to neighborhood and business livability complaints through a process which treats everyone involved with dignity and respect.

We want to recognize the compassionate and caring work by Deputy Cortada, Lt. Asboe, the members assigned to the MCSO HOPE Team and the many regional partners who helped Victoria and Wayne get back on their feet. Each one of these tasks took days and sometimes weeks to complete. During the waiting periods, the HOPE Team was able to keep Wayne and Victoria supplied with food and ensured that their health did not become life threatening.

Best of luck Victoria and Wayne!