PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the wake of multiple homeless people getting killed so far this year, the Blanchet House in Portland is trying to help more homeless people before it’s too late.

Scott Kerman, the executive director for the Blanchet House, says that violence is all too common for the homeless people they serve meals to.

“It sickens us and in a lot of ways, it angers us,” Kerman said. “In the last two months that we know of two people who would come to us frequently for meals at Blanchet House that have been shot and killed.”

The first homicide victim was James “Tony” Wise, who was brutally beaten to death in February in Old Town according to police. The second and most recent casualty was Jennifer Drain, who police identified as the victim in Thursday’s deadly shooting on the edge of Old Town, just blocks away from the Blanchet House, where she would go for help.

“Jennifer would often come, you know, pretty desperate for emergency clothing and other kinds, of supplies,” Kerman said. “And it was clear that this was an individual who was searching for more services and, unfortunately more services than perhaps we’re equipped to do at Blanchet House.”

According to Blanchet House peer support specialist Jenn Coon, Jennifer was prepping to go on a blind date before she was killed.

“Last time I talked to Jennifer she was super excited about going on a blind date. She asked me to get her a nice outfit. I was able to get her some cute boots and a sweater. She was going to tell me about the mystery man next time I saw her,” Coon said.

Jennifer is one of at least four homeless homicide victims KOIN 6 has recorded in 2022, making up for nearly 15% of the homicides so far this year, a deadly trend the Blanchet House, and its partners, hope to prevent.

The Blanchet House is now spearheading a project to create teams of peer support specialists across various day shelters. The peers will also help with the mental health of those experiencing homelessness. Additionally, the Blanchet House is hiring a housing navigator to help people fill out applications for supportive housing.

“We want a navigator who can take the baton, who has the skill and the experience to really make it happen for folks like Jennifer,” Kerman said.