Pastor Les Bailey, Founder Albany Helping Hands

Founder Pastor Les Bailey Passes

The founder, chaplain and retired executive director of Albany's Helping Hands homeless shelter, whom most people just called "Pastor," died Oct. 25 at 75, leaving a lifetime's legacy of helping those in need.

A memorial service is scheduled at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Hope Church, 2817 Santiam

Highway SE. Instead of flowers, family members are asking for memorial contributions to some of Bailey's favorite charities: Feed the Children, Gideons International or the Helping Hands shelter he created.

"Les Bailey had one of the biggest hearts our community has ever seen. He devoted his life to serving the less fortunate," Mayor Sharon Konopa said. "Helping Hands Homeless Shelter lived up to its name from Les Bailey's helping and caring hands."

Content above (c) Copyright 2018, Albany Democrat-Herald. For full multi page newspaper article and separate Obituary, click here.

In the Beginning

Albany Helping Hands was founded as an non affiliated, independent faith-based 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization in 1998, but it's roots go back to the early 1980's with services and a seasonal shelter provided by Pastor Les Bailey and others. 

For fourteen years, starting in 1984, Pastor Bailey ran a shelter from Oak Hill Community Church of God, at 103 Main Street SE in Albany, Oregon, where he was a pastor until retiring in 2014.

Pastor Les Bailey had a gift, people in crisis and need,  the homeless and the hungry.

People that others would avoid would gravitate to him where personal and spiritual relationships  were established.

In 1998, the shelter separated from the church and became Albany Helping Hands, an independent non-denominational, faith-based 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Also that year the Shelter moved to a leased retail space at the intersection of Santiam Highway (20) and Pacific Boulevard (99E) then in the mid 2000’s the organization moved and purchased the current facilities at 619 SE 9th Avenue. 

The local non-denominational ministry has grown from sheltering a few during extreme, harsh winter weather in a small church on Main Street to operating a Homeless Shelter, a three meal a day kitchen, Thrift Store, U-Haul Rental Dealership, Woodlot, and Seasonally five Christmas Tree lots.

The non profit organization is supported primarily by contributions of individuals, businesses, churches and nonprofit organizations.

“During this time, we purchased the buildings for our current housing of 110 beds.  Later we purchased the present location and building for our thrift store.  It is also during this time we developed the production of cords of wood at our woodlot and the sale of Christmas trees.  
All these investments have been made in our effort to become self-sustaining.
— Pastor John Leon, Executive Director

In January 2018 Pastor John reported in his web blog “… our board seized the opportunity in purchasing three new properties— two adjacent to our main campus at 619 SE Ninth Ave., as well as the former church building at 103 Main Street SE of Pastor Les Bailey, the founder of this mission.

This residential building at 103 Main St SE will be renovated and designated for single mothers with children.

 Oak Hill Community Church of God on Main Street. Home of First Temporary Shelter in the 1980's through 1998. In 2018 Albany Helping Hands purchased this property from the Church and is converting the building to transitional housing for women and children.

Oak Hill Community Church of God on Main Street. Home of First Temporary Shelter in the 1980's through 1998. In 2018 Albany Helping Hands purchased this property from the Church and is converting the building to transitional housing for women and children.

 
 Albany Helping Hands (2010)

Albany Helping Hands (2010)

 Retirement BBQ for Pastor Les Bailey and Grace Gantt (September 3, 2014) at the Shelter Facility parking lot.

Retirement BBQ for Pastor Les Bailey and Grace Gantt (September 3, 2014) at the Shelter Facility parking lot.

Slide13.PNG
Slide9.PNG
 Construction of building #2 which now houses the dormitory, chapel, laundry room, staff quarters, GED training center, office and Board Room.

Construction of building #2 which now houses the dormitory, chapel, laundry room, staff quarters, GED training center, office and Board Room.

 Albany Helping Hands main facility at 619 SE 9th Avenue, Albany from Google Earth.

Albany Helping Hands main facility at 619 SE 9th Avenue, Albany from Google Earth.

 Albany Helping Hands (2018)

Albany Helping Hands (2018)

Slide26.PNG