My Father’s House was founded by Pastor’s Ray Morris and Cathe Wiese in the spring of 2000. The overwhelming need for families to find shelter was the driving force behind the beginning of this organization. Opening the doors to five families on January 2, 2001 on Division Street in Gresham was just the beginning.
Of course, the opening may never have been without the financial help of a local businessman and his wife, who sold their business of thirty years and donated the sum of $250,000.00 to My Father’s House. This enabled us to open our doors just a year later.
Visiting churches and businesses proved to be much harder than anticipated, but once a significant amount of money was raised for My Father’s House, it soon became part of the community. In just two short years enough money was raised to not only sustain our shelter program but also to begin the dream of a larger facility. Our dream was to have enough room for classes, childcare, a donation center, computer lab and a chapel. The first step would be to purchase land.
Since land in Gresham was scarce, we soon realized that we needed help in locating suitable property. Realtor Michael Yoelin was able to find 2.5 acres of land that the city approved “location worthy” for our cause. The Family Worship Center owned the property and when they found out who My Father’s House was, they were so excited that they sold the land to us for half the market price. Pastor Dan Hatton quickly became a firm supporter and has continued with his support to this day. We broke ground on the property July 5, 2005 determined to pay cash for the building. A build-as-you raise funding program (not recommended by our general contractor, Ed Heissler).
Continuing the work of helping families transform their lives while beginning a capital campaign stretched all the staff and My Father’s House started growing by adding a few more staff members. From 2001 to 2007 we served approximately 26-28 families each year with an average success rate of 84% (families leaving MFH with income and affordable housing).
With the help of more than 140 churches, 95 businesses, and hundreds of individuals we know we can reach more families. In 2008 we opened our new larger facility in East Multnomah County. The new shelter is paid in full, raising over $3.9 million to complete this project. This new site will allow us to help more than 120 families each year.
It would be easy to stand around and pat each other on the back. There are so many people to thank for such a huge show of dedication and commitment. But this organization chooses to thank God for all his loving mercies. It is by His grace and love that we are able to commit ourselves to the work of helping families change their lives.