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SE Portland late-day coffee shop on mission to help people in recovery

By Michaela BourgeoisTravis Teich,

2023-05-30

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PORTLAND, Ore. ( KOIN ) – By day, Portlanders can find Tiny’s Coffee Shop at the corner of 12th and Hawthorne. By night, the shop transforms into Outside Issues Coffee — a non-profit on a mission to help people in recovery find a job and learn life skills along the way.

Outside Issues Coffee is open from 5 p.m. until midnight and is part of the non-profit Lift Sober , which is geared toward helping people in recovery through fitness — offering workout classes at the CrossFit X-Factor gym in Northwest Portland.

“Outside Issues Coffee is essentially a coffee shop with an altruistic view on helping people in recovery,” said Outside Issues Coffee Founder Nic Jeffords.

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Jeffords has gone through his own recovery and noticed others going through drug, alcohol or homelessness recovery needed help learning essential life skills like finding and keeping a job.

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“We’re teaching them how not to get fired from a job,” Jeffords said.

He added, “in my experience you can’t really do a lot of stuff at a job without getting fired immediately, and to these interns who are going to be working here, it’s going to be very challenging for them to lose this job because we’re going to teach them how not to lose a job. And kind of give them that tough love I wish I would have gotten when I was 18 and getting sober.”

Alec Hrabal is the first intern at Outside Issues. Hrabal, who was homeless by the age of 17, feels that this opportunity can put his life on the path he wants.

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“It’s been rough, but it feels really good to be here. It feels like I got the opportunity to redeem myself because I wasn’t doing good, I was in ‘juvie’ for a bit, and I didn’t know where I was sleeping the next night. I just took this step and I needed to know that I needed to change,” Hrabal said.

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Now, Hrabal is in stable housing and says he may even pursue coffee as a career.

“I feel motivated to do things. I feel like I want to keep this job and keep participating and doing what I’m doing,” Hrabal said.

Jeffords says that feeling is exactly what he hopes people will take away from working at Outside Issues; a new skill set, leading to a new life.

“They can attempt to take what they learn here and go get a living wage job,” Jeffords said. “Some people can come from traumatic situations, and this can give them that new beginning.”

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