An Update from Sisters of the Road’s Acting Executive Director
As many of you know, Sisters of the Road has struggled to keep our cafe open since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Even as we continued to do advocacy work, our community sorely felt the absence of a reliable dining and community space. While the team worked towards reopening the cafe, the internal systems and work culture were suffering. We found ourselves with a cafe overrun with mold and asbestos with no avenues for restoration, our leadership destabilized, and a staff shortage.
After a period of deep reflection, Sisters of the Road concluded that in order to serve the houseless community we needed to rebuild, externally and internally.
Rebuilding plans include purchasing a building in the Old Town neighborhood to serve as the permanent cafe, with updated amenities and a dignified, hygienic environment. Our revitalized cafe will be not only a dining space but also an organizing space. It will be a place to exchange resources, pick up supplies, build community, and organize. The new space will allow us to not only feed more people, it will allow us to contribute to our community in a deeper way.
We will also establish new infrastructure and policies to foster a healthy and equitable work culture. We have started reviewing past policies and ensuring they align with our philosophies and values. We know this will be a painful process at times, but we believe a future where we are living our values and treating both our customers and staff with fairness and dignity will be worth it.
As we embark on this new phase for Sisters, we will still be actively advocating on behalf of our houseless community. Currently, we are working with PSU to craft a community engagement plan to align our services with the needs of impacted individuals. We are also continuing our partnership with WRAP (Western Regional Advocacy Project) and working on several campaigns, such as the Human Bill of Rights and the Right to Rest Act, that seek to decriminalize houseless people and change the narrative that oftentimes demonizes the most vulnerable population of our city.
We are excited for our future!
Kat M, Acting Executive Director