photos by Joni Kabana | interviews collected by Rob Kerr


“Most people know nothing about homelessness unless you’re in the business,” said Roma Peyser, director of development at Transition Projects in Multnomah County. “Participants in our programs have housing issues—from affordability or evictions.”

The Transition Projects research found that Multnomah County has a current shortage of 22,000 affordable housing units. Its goal is to help people move from homelessness to housing.

The organization offers various shelter programs, including a day center, which services 700 to 800 new participants each day. The center is a starting point for people who have lost shelter. They come here to use hygiene products, obtain new clothing, sit and relax, use the information table, plug in their phone, use the mail services, secure an identification card, get a haircut at the barber shop and check in at the wellness health center for acute care.

Photographer Joni Kabana photographed a cross-section of participants on their journey with Transition Projects. Join Statehood Media in helping Transition Projects by contributing at tprojects.org, or by taking items to 665 NW Hoyt Street, Portland.


LARONDA HOVIS, 60, ADA, OKLAHOMA

When someone passes you on the street, what is the one thing you wish people knew about you?

I don’t care what they think. When they won’t acknowledge you with a smile or nod, you learn not to see them either. I’m still a human being, created by the Most High!

Homeless people, photographed at Transitions Projects in downtown Portland (see separate notes and quotes)


Homeless people, photographed at Transitions Projects in downtown Portland (see separate notes and quotes)

PASTOR GEORGE MAXWELL II

When someone passes you on the street, what is the one thing you wish people knew about you?

I’m here to help!

DAHLAK EZRA, 30, PORTLAND

What is the greatest thing that has happened to you this week?

For a moment I felt I was living the dream (I always wanted) which was to be a songwriter and get paid well and I did so on a corner overpass.
Homeless people, photographed at Transitions Projects in downtown Portland (see separate notes and quotes)

Homeless people, photographed at Transitions Projects in downtown Portland (see separate notes and quotes)

DUSTIN MARX, 37, PORTLAND

What is the greatest thing that has happened to you this week?

Acquired two great reads courtesy of Street Books.

When someone passes you on the street, what is the one thing you wish people knew about you?

You’re a human being. Actually intelligent, and possess skills and have feelings and emotions.

TAMMY MOODY, 26

What is the greatest thing that has happened to you this week?

I got housing.

When someone passes you on the street, what is the one thing you wish people knew about you?

That I am harmless.
TAMMY MOODY, 26 Homeless people, photographed at Transitions Projects in downtown Portland (see separate notes and quotes)

Photographer Joni Kabana met William, a 22-year-old experiencing homelessness at Transitions Projects. William is an aspiring poet and shared a line of his verse with us.