Volunteers Paint a brighter future for Portland’s homeless

Painting a Better Tomorrow – Shelter Care Program & Volunteer Blitz

For the fifth year in a row, teams of volunteers went out into the community armed with paintbrushes to make a difference in the lives of Portland’s homeless on Saturday, Nov. 6. Teams from Genesis Mediation, Miller Paint, Panera Bread, HBA’s Professional Remodelers Organization (PRO) and Rodda Paint had teams of volunteers at three local shelters. The groups were separated between three shelters, including a Volunteers of America location, Portland Rescue Mission’s Burnside Shelter and Janus Youth Programs’ Clackamas House.

Volunteers of America Project - PRO Team

Nancy Long & 3 of her team mates (yep, those are stilts)

The largest group of volunteers was at Volunteers of America’s Woman’s Residential Center, where more than 20 people (kids were welcome too) were on site to paint all of the staircases, hallways and doors of the dorm area within the large shelter.  The team at the Women’s Residential Center  was led by longtime HBA PRO member Nancy Long, who owns Sisu Painting. Nancy worked hard to recruit volunteers from several local companies to ensure those wanting to, had both an opportunity and guidance from  skilled members of her team.



Lis Weller and Abigail Adams

Mark Tracy and his son Ben

























The paint project at Portland Rescue Mission was also an important one. For a long time, the Mission had been trying to find the resources to properly seal and repaint a shower and bathroom located in the emergency part of the shelter. In 2009, 74% of Portland Rescue Mission’s funds went to direct services for the homeless, so finding the extra resources for maintenance has been difficult.

Luckily, Rodda Paint stepped up to donate a special material that was required to ensure that the shower was sealed correctly, as well as a volunteer to teach Genesis Mediation how to handle the product. A team from Panera Bread, a new partner of the HBF, was also on site to paint some offices and a staircase leading to the kitchen where residents make lunch and dinner for those receiving services at Portland Rescue Mission.

“The Painting a Better Tomorrow event is like Christmas to us every year,” said Holly Hummel, Group Involvement Specialist for Portland Rescue Mission’s Team. “Year after year the Home Builder’s Foundation make lasting improvements to our facilities, keeping a safe and healing environment for our residential shelters for men, women and children. We’ve met some amazing vendors we trust and utilize for jobs throughout the rest of the year.”

Panera Bread volunteers paint the staircase.











Genesis Mediation & Lakeside Lumber Volunteers pose for a group shot











Jamie Pepiot (Pepiot Painting) is an example of a contractor who will work with the Rescue Mission even after the volunteer event is over.


















Last, but certainly not least, a team of about a dozen volunteers from Miller Paint was at Clackamas House, which is operated by Janus Youth Programs. Led by Bill Swenson, the volunteers painted almost the entire downstairs of the home in record time; it took the team just two and a half hours to complete the project. Clackamas House is a home for girls ages 13-17 who need continued structure after being subjected to physical and sexual abuse. The girls were so excited to have the team there and make it beautiful that they made signs to welcome the Miller team to their home.










Making the lives of those who call a shelter “home” is what Painting a Better Tomorrow is about. It’s an opportunity for volunteers from the home building community to use their skills, invite their friends, and give back to those in our community who need it most. Since its start in 2006, volunteers have given 7500+ hours of community service through the Painting a Better Tomorrow event.

We’d like to again extend our deepest thanks to the sponsoring organizations who make this event possible.

  • Paint  – Miller & Rodda Paint
  • Breakfast  – Panera Bread
  • Radio  – Alpha Broadcasting, Entercom & Clear Channel

If you’re looking for a way give back individually or as a company with a team building event, please contact HBF Executive Director Melanie Duncan (mel@hbapdx.org) for upcoming volunteer opportunities.