PORTLAND, Ore. – One Portland woman who struggled with homelessness for years is now mentoring homeless people with the hope of turning their lives around, just like she was able to.
DeWanna Harris lived on the streets in Nevada, Washington and ended up in Portland when she hit rock bottom.
“I was homeless for about five or six years, off and on,” she said. “There were times when I was in a van. There were times when I was in hotels. There were times when I was in bushes on the street, times when I was in playground shelters that provided some shelter.”
Then, Harris came in contact with Transition Projects, an organization that helps people transition from homelessness to housing. Through Transition Projects, Harris was able to find a place to live and ended up getting a job with the group.
Now she’s a mentor program manager. She uses her firsthand experience to relate with homeless people and help them find jobs paying $13-$18 an hour.
“You meet some amazing human beings,” Harris said.
She says most people just need some help to get back on their feet, and they can rise out of homelessness just like she did.