30 Stories to Celebrate 30 Years of Service
The Community Warehouse
The Community Warehouse
The Community Warehouse
The Community Warehouse is one of IHI's great community partners. The Community Warehouse was founded in 2001 as a volunteer-run organization to help vulnerable populations improve the quality of their lives and become self-sufficient by providing them with basic household furnishings. Thirteen years later, they own and operate two Warehouse locations (Portland and Tualatin) and have paid staff, but they still rely heavily on over 100 volunteers to support their mission.

Tom Elston is the Community Warehouse's Portland Site Manager and is very familiar with the way they help many residents at Innovative Housing's properties. Most residents who utilize the Community Warehouse are in a period of transition and don't move in with many household furnishings. They are in the unique situation of having a new place to live, but almost nothing to put in it. The Community Warehouse is a great resource that people can access and receive almost everything they need to furnish their home. According to Tom, "The average household gets about $700 worth of furnishings for a $50 access fee." Nowhere in town can you get a deal like that, not to mention that the Community Warehouse is the only place where you can receive a used mattress that is guaranteed to be bedbug free. Kat Lentz, IHI's Resident Services Coordinator adds, "The Community Warehouse provides a warm and welcoming staff that make clients feel right at home. Individuals can walk in with just a backpack of belongings and a long history of struggle. In the same day they can walk out of the Warehouse with a household full of furniture and a fresh start to life. One tenant in particular was just released from prison. He had lived months on a broken, twin-sized bed and the only other thing in the room was a nightstand he found on the sidewalk. After a quick referral and trip to Community Warehouse, he was able to upgrade to a proper size bed and a room full of furniture and necessities."

Recently the Community Warehouse partnered with JOIN to study the retention rate of residents after utilizing Community Warehouses services. The study revealed the retention rates increased by 40% when residents furnished their new home with Community Warehouse items versus not furnishing their new place at all. Tom explains, "People that are homeless have a community that they function within. When they are given a place to live this helps them become stable and independent, but they are no longer within the community that they are used to and they are now living in this empty apartment alone. It makes a big difference when you are going to sleep on a bed instead of a floor. Community Warehouse helps make this possible and assists with making their new place more than just an empty box. We help people create a home. The study showed that people wanted to stay because of the dignity of having a functional, comfortable home to go to."

The Community Warehouse is a great resource for residents at IHI. Tom reports, "Our Warehouse is emptied and filled back up 5-6 times a week and we are serving 10-12 households a day. Right now, our turnaround time is a week with two Warehouses, but we are hopeful that in the future we will have more Warehouses and our turnaround time will be one day."

The Community Warehouse is always in need of donations. If you have gently-used furniture or household goods that still have life to give, please consider dropping them off at one of the Community Warehouse locations or visit their website to request a pick up at your house for a nominal fee.

Drop Off Sites

Community Warehouse, Portland
3969 NE MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR 97212
503-235-8786 | Open Daily 10-4

Community Warehouse Tualatin
8380 SW Nyberg St, Tualatin, OR 97062
503-347-2147 | Open Daily 10-4

Visit them online at www.communitywarehouse.org