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History of Sisters Of The Road

For the full history of Sisters Of The Road, click here.


  • Sisters awarded the Outstanding Service Award from the Oregon Psychological Association


  • Former Sisters Research and Health Policy Associate Heather Fercho awarded the Multnomah County Josiah Hill Public Health Hero Award in honor of her work at Sisters Of The Road towards social health justice


  • Sisters Executive Director Monica Beemer awarded the Red Dress Society’s Humanitarian Angel Award
  • Sisters brings our community together to celebrate the movement for economic justice and nonviolent social change at peaceroots: growing economic human rights and nonviolence. At the event, Sisters’ visionary Co-Founder Genny Nelson was presented with the Genevieve Nelson Nonviolence and Economic Human Rights Award.


  • Sisters Of The Road celebrates its 30th birthday in November!


  • Our book Voices From the Street, Truths About Homelessness from Sisters Of The Road is published. Our manual about how to conduct such a research project is published.
  • The Personalist Center opens adjacent to Sisters’ Cafe, expanding our barter program, moving our line indoors, and making room for increased and improved phone use service, mail service, and hygiene supplies, and also for new meeting and office space for our community organizing and other work.


  • Genny Nelson wins the National Caring Award, driving the Mayor of Portland to declare a day honoring her. Her induction to the National Hall of Fame for Caring Americans highlights the impact and innovation that Genny and Sisters Of The Road have had both locally and nationally.


  • 600 Sisters’ Research Project interviews are completed.
  • A contract is signed with the University of Washington at Tacoma School of Urban Studies to analyze the information from more than 40,000 pages of input from 600 interviews with people with experience with homelessness, asking them about their experience.


  • The Community Organizing Project of Sisters Of The Road is launched with two components; the research project which will conduct 600 interviews with people who have experience with homelessness, and the development of a self- and community-advocacy group.


  • We finish our manual, “Dining With Dignity” and our video “The Invisible Community.”


  • Sisters Of The Road hosts our first march and rally honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., especially his work for racial justice, peace, and economic human rights.


  • The Meal Coupon Program begins as a means to build community with people asking for money in public spaces.


  • Victory! Under pressure from Sen. Hatfield and the House Select Committee on Hunger, a new law allows people experiencing homelessness to use their food stamps for prepared meals in non-profit dining facilities. Sisters Of The Road is the first in the nation to implement this new legislation.


  • Executive Director Kurt Liska and Genny Nelson go to Washington D.C. to present Kurt’s food stamp proposal to the USDA. Endorsed by Sen. Hatfield, the request was to accept food stamps for prepared meals from people who were experiencing homelessness. The proposal is rejected at first.


  • Sandy Gooch and Genevieve Nelson open the Cafe with $10.00 and barter for the rent!