Excellence in Community Service Award

We were honored to be recognized by the East Portland Chamber of Commerce as a winner of its "Excellence in Community Service Award." We greatly value our relationship with EPCC, an organization that is based in and cares deeply about East Portland, as we do. Thank you for the recognition!

Pictured here: Lori Stegmann, Multnomah County Commissioner, District 4, Human Solutions Katia Selezneva and Andy Miller, and EPCC President Gary Russell.

Learn more about the award and the recipients at https://eastportlandchamberofcommerce.com/.

Thank You Amazon!

Amazon Troutdale Fulfillment Center General Manager Mike Moore Announces Gift to Andy Miller, Human Solutions Executive Director

Amazon Surprises Human Solutions with $100,000 Financial Contribution & Holiday Gifts for Families Served by Portland Nonprofit

On Monday morning, Amazon delivered holiday cheer with a donation of essential items, Prime Book Boxes and toys to show support for children and families at Human Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to helping thousands of Oregon families build pathways out of homelessness and poverty since 1988.

The morning was filled with holiday spirit as Amazonians from Portland’s local fulfillment center spent the day helping families decorate cookies, play games like toss the ring on the reindeer, take family keepsake portraits and listen to holiday stories.

The holiday fun and smiles didn’t stop there. To further support Human Solutions’ operations and mission to end homelessness in greater Portland, Amazon made a surprise $100,000 donation – the largest non-restricted corporate donation in the organization’s history.

“Human Solutions is deeply grateful for this generous investment from Amazon that will fuel our work fighting homelessness and housing instability,” said Andy Miller, Human Solutions Executive Director. “It is together with partners like Amazon that we will create a community where everyone has a safe place to call home.”

The donation is part of Amazon’s annual holiday campaign to celebrate with communities near its fulfillment centers by making over $1 million in donations to nonprofits supporting homeless families across the U.S.

“This holiday season, Amazon is giving back to the communities where our employees live and work, and we’re thrilled to support Human Solutions as part of this initiative,” said Mike Moore, General Manager of Amazon’s Troutdale fulfillment center. "Human Solutions has given so much to the community for the last 30 years through their dedication to helping families find pathways out of poverty, and we’re excited to be partners in this important work.”

Joining Amazon employees and families served by Human Solutions were Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, State Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, and State Representatives Carla Piluso, Jeff Reardon, and Alissa Keny-Guyer.

 

December eUpdate

Human Solutions Ballot Measure Positions | November 2018

As with most elections, there are important ballot measures to vote on that impact Oregonians. At Human Solutions we work every day with people who have very low incomes and are and have been oppressed for much of their lives. One of our jobs is to take a stand on ballot measures that could help or hurt them. The Fall 2018 election includes several measures that could help vulnerable Oregonians and a handful that could hurt. Below you'll find our position on the eight measures most relevant to our work and to our our partners' work. We invite you to consider our opinions and reasoning as you cast your vote.

Together we are powerful - especially when we vote for what we know to be right. Thanks for listening.

Local Measures:

  • YES on Measure 26-199 | Affordable Housing Bond in the Portland Metro Area: This will create safe, permanently affordable housing for thousands of people across Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. If both Measure 26-199 and Measure 102 pass, up to 12,000 people — including low-income families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities — will gain access to safe, affordable housing. You can learn more here.
  • YES on Measure 26-201 | Portland Clean Energy Initiative: This will bring $30 million in new annual revenue for clean energy and clean energy jobs in Portland, with a focus on jobs for low-income and people of color. Nonprofit organizations, alone or in partnership with for-profit companies, schools and/or other government agencies, will be able to apply for grants to weatherize homes, install solar and other renewable energy projects, provide job and contractor training, expand local food production and build green infrastructure in Portland. Learn more here, and be sure to check out their values - they really resonate with our Guiding Principles.
  • YES on Measure 26-200 | Campaign Finance Reform-Portland: Measure 26-200 will limit campaign contributions and independent spending on contests for City of Portland public offices, including Mayor, City Council, and Auditor. It will also require that political ads prominently disclose their actual major funders (not just nice-sounding names ofcommittees or nonprofit corporations). We think this measure will help level the playing field for candidates who cannot raise large campaign contributions from the wealthier interests. By limiting campaign contributions, candidates who represent traditionally oppressed communities may have more access to the democratic process, resulting in a more representative City Council. More information can be found here.

Statewide Measures:

  • YES on Measure 102 | Amendment for Affordable Housing Bonds: Oregon Measure 102 is a statewide ballot measure that will make it easier to create more affordable housing throughout the state. This simple change will stretch public dollars by allowing local governments to partner with private and nonprofit partners - like Human Solutions - to build more affordable housing when they pass general obligation bond measures (like 26-199 above). This measure is a very important piece of solving the affordable housing crisis in our area and it will benefit our work directly by making more funding available for organizations like ours. You can learn more here.
  • NO on Measure 103 | Misleading Ban on Food-Related Taxes: This effort was proposed by businesses who want to forever protect their future profits (in our state constitution), but is being sold to voters as a measure to save consumers money. We don’t like this voter manipulation, but we especially don’t care for corporate interests telling Oregonians and the lawmakers we elect to represent us how to raise revenue to fund the essential services our state provides, like education, health care for low-income Oregonians, mental health services, and affordable housing. In our view, it has real potential to harm Oregon families and puts the wrong people in the driver’s seat. Learn more here.
  • NO on Measure 104 | Adds a Hurdle for State Lawmakers to Raise Revenue: Currently, the Oregon Constitution requires bills for raising revenue to receive a three-fifths vote of approval, also known as a “supermajority” (for other bills only a simple majority is required). Backed and funded by the National Realtors Association, M104 is an attempt to expand this requirement to more bills, effectively making it more difficult for lawmakers to pass revenue measures to pay for public services. Importantly, this will very likely lead to needed services - that matter to our mission - being harder to fund. Learn more here.
  • NO on Measure 105 | Ends Oregon’s 31-year-old Sanctuary Law: Oregon’s sanctuary law for immigration, which we support wholeheartedly, says no law enforcement agency can use its money, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending people whose only violation is being in the country without documentation. While sanctuary cities are relatively common around the U.S., Oregon is one of only seven sanctuary states. This measure would repeal our existing law and encourage racial profiling by some local law enforcement. The group behind this law, Oregonians for Immigration Reform, was labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Learn more here and here.
  • NO on Measure 106 | Blocks State Funds for Women’s Reproductive Health: Women’s access to the full range of reproductive health services is essential to their economic stability and opportunity, as well as to their basic human rights. If passed, this measure would end state funding for abortion, meaning that Oregon women who depend on state-funded health programs, including all state employees and anyone with state-funded insurance (e.g., Medicaid/OHP), would have fewer options than other women in the state. In other words, only those who can afford it would be able to access the constitutionally-protected services of an abortion provider. A right is not a right if you can’t afford to access it. Human Solutions believes that every person should have self-determination and equal economic opportunity. This bill goes against both these beliefs. Learn more here.

Reminder: The final day to cast your ballot is Tuesday, November 6th. After November 2 it is safer to drop your ballot in a dropbox instead of mailing it. You'll find a complete list of ballot dropboxes here.

October eNews from Human Solutions

There is so much to share with you this month – about what we’ve been up to and what’s coming down the pike. First and foremost: with Election Day upon us, we encourage you to vote. We know how concerned folks are right now about what’s happening in our area when it comes to housing stability. Human Solutions has endorsed two housing measures and the Portland Clean Energy Initiative. We urge your vote in support of these local and statewide measures that we believe are critical to solving our local housing and homeless crises and to expanding community equity.


Visit From Governor Brown

What an honor it was to host Governor Brown yesterday at Arbor Glen, one of our affordable housing communities. She joined our staff and incredible residents for a dialogue and listening session to hear from people with very low incomes and experiences with homelessness. It really was an amazing opportunity to convey to decision makers what people are facing every day - from barriers to housing like criminal histories and past evictions to childcare affordability struggles and juggling multiple jobs. We were inspired by how hard families work to make ends meet, raise kids and overcome barriers that too often are the outcomes of policies that create and perpetuate poverty and inequality. The morning filled our hearts and sharpened our determination to keep doing the work we do at Human Solutions. What a day! We are grateful to Governor Brown for wanting to hear directly from some of the most vulnerable Oregonians she serves and to take their experiences and thoughts into account as she strategizes solutions.


Be the Solution: Phone Bank for Affordable Housing

Human Solutions has proudly endorsed the Metro Regional Housing Bond (local Measure 26-199) and the constitutional amendment for housing bonds (statewide Measure 102). We did so because together they will make real strides toward adding desperately needed affordable housing in our region. To ensure these measures pass, we have knocked on doors to chat with voters and are hosting a phone bank next week on Tuesday evening, October 30th at our Rockwood office (124 NE 181st  here’s a map). You will want to be there because you’ll know you were part of the solution – PLUS you can see our cool office space and eat candy with us the day before Halloween. Drop in for an hour or two (or three!) between 5:30 and 8:30 PM.

Please spread the word and invite friends on Facebook – here’s the event page.


Join Us @ Our 30TH Anniversary Celebration & Gala Auction

We’re planning a BIG PARTY to celebrate our 30th Anniversary on Saturday, November 17, 2018. We hope you’ll spend the evening with us as we come together as a community to know each other a little better and fuel Human Solutions work into the future. It is so needed right now!

Get event details and register right here; contact Matthew at 503.548.0279 with any questions. See you in a few short weeks for a very fun night! Thanks to all who have already purchased tickets and tables – they are selling fast!


Season of Sharing: It's Nearly Time for Our Annual Holiday Toy Drive!

The annual Holiday Toy Drive is a joyful tradition at Human Solutions! Every year, we partner with volunteers and organizations in our community to collect gifts for kids who need them and invite their parents to “shop” (for free, of course!) for the holidays. The event serves low-income community members who live in our affordable housing communities or are participating in our programs. Details and volunteer sign-ups are on our web page. We hope you join in this community tradition – we’re pretty sure you’ll be glad you did!


Our New Development in Portland’s Gateway Neighborhood

We are working with experienced local developer Gerding Edlen Development to build a catalytic, mixed-use community next to the new Discovery Park in the heart of the Gateway community in East Portland.

There will be ground-floor retail fronting Halsey Street and the park plaza, as well as a second-floor office and service center for Human Solutions, and 78 units of mixed-income housing adjacent to the park. We are busily pulling all the pieces together so we can break ground in early 2019. If you’ve not yet visited Discovery Park, we can’t recommend it enough. The photo here is a rendering of how the building will look, a product of robust community input. We like it a lot and believe it will be a real asset to east Portland and a wonderful home for Human Solutions, area businesses and 70 families for years to come!.


New Report on Portland Area Homelessness

Earlier this month the Oregon Community Foundation (one of our generous funders) released a report to better understand and solve the area’s growing homelessness problem. We appreciate funders zeroing in on this critical issue in an effort to identify effective solutions to get behind. While we were not surprised by its finding (we need more affordable housing and services), we were glad to know that the credible partners who produced this report validated our approach to ending homelessness – providing deeply affordable housing coupled with services that support the success of residents. We’re including a link to the full report here, but if you’re short on time (as most are these days!), the six-page Executive Summary offers a great summary. Check it out!

Thanks, as always, for reading. We’re glad you’re part of our community and our work and invite you to get in touch with questions anytime.  

We’ve Pledged Yes

It’s election season! Human Solutions is proud to support two measures on your November ballot that will help solve our homeless and affordable housing crises: the Portland Metro Regional Bond (Measure 26-199) and the statewide constitutional amendment (Measure 102).

The Yes for Affordable Housing campaign is working to win both, and we are pleased to be partnering with them to reach voters. Thank you for your time to read through this update and hopefully we will see you at either our upcoming phone bank or canvass – or both!

Vote YES for Affordable Housing

We have a big opportunity this fall to address the need for affordable home for folks who live and work in our communities. By voting YES on Measure 102 and Measure 26-199, we can help up to 12,000 people in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties secure a safe, affordable place to live.

Human Solutions has joined over 600 nonprofits, businesses and community leaders who have endorsed Measure 102 and Measure 26-199. We are asking you to join us.

We invite you to pledge to vote YES for Affordable Housing on November 6th.

Skyrocketing rents have priced hard-working people and families out of their homes. In our region, a person making minimum wage would have to work 81 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment.

Measure 26-199 is a regional affordable housing bond that will build or preserve affordable homes for thousands of our neighbors in Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties -- and it will only cost the average homeowner $5 per month. Measure 102 is just as critical. It’s a sensible statewide ballot measure that will allow local governments to work with nonprofits and local businesses to make affordable housing bond money go further. Together, these two measures will house up to 12,000 people in our communities.

This fall, every single vote counts. Your support will make a difference. Please pledge to vote YES on Measure 102 and Measure 26-199 today. Thank you for your support!

Please join Human Solutions to get the word out about the Yes for Affordable Housing campaign:

  • Sunday, October 14th from 1 to 4 PM we’ll be knocking on doors in East Portland/County to talk with voters. Meet at the Human Solutions office at 12350 SE Powell Blvd.
  • Tuesday, October 30th from 5:30 – 8:30 PM we’ll be making calls to voters from our Rockwood office @ 124 NE 181st (near Burnside).

You need not be an expert or have any experience! We’ll train you, and of course we’ll have snacks.

Please sign up to volunteer here!

We look forward to seeing you later this month and thank you wholeheartedly for being part of this communitywide solution.

Fall eNews (and an invite!) from Human Solutions

As summer winds down, we are looking ahead to a busy fall, when we will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary with a fun gala and auction. We’ve been doing effective anti-poverty work – with help from many of you - in and with the East Portland / Multnomah County community since 1988! We want YOU to join us as we celebrate all that we have accomplished together – and look ahead to all that we will do in the future. DON’T MISS IT!

Beyond celebrating our work together, we have lots of other news to share with you:

OUR AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM FOR KIDS IS SERIOUSLY FUN!

LearnLinks is our after-school and summer program that we run for kids in kindergarten through 8th grade who live in our affordable housing communities and emergency shelter. Activities are provided on-site, which is key, so when kids get home from school in the afternoon they can get a snack, some homework help, and supervised playtime. Our goal for the program is to foster greater academic achievement in public school, support positive character traits and leadership skills, increase parent participation in their kids’ academic lives, and support the overall stability of families. Watch this short video to see the activities the kids have been up to this summer (big thanks to the Portland Children’s Levy for both helping fund the program and creating this video).

JOIN US @ OUR 30TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION & GALA AUCTION

We’re planning a BIG PARTY to celebrate our 30th Anniversary on Saturday, November 17, 2018. That may seem like a long way off, but really it’s just around the corner! Please save the date and grab your ticket now – in fact, why not host a table and fill it with friends and family who also want to live in a community where housing is affordable to all?

Get event details and register right here; contact Matthew at 503.548.0279 with any questions. See you in November!

BEAUTIFUL HAND-MADE APRONS DONATED TO THE GRESHAM WOMEN’S SHELTER

The incredible quilters of the Mt. Hood Quilt Guild have donated beautiful quilts to Human Solutions for years – all of which we have delightedly passed along to local families who need them. This summer, guild members (pictured here in their creations) sewed 20 wonderful aprons for the residents and visiting chefs at the Gresham Women’s Shelter, an emergency shelter for 90 unaccompanied women (and their pets!). And they do it all with donated fabric, to boot! THANK YOU to the Mt. Hood Quilt Guild from the bottom of our hearts. We have the best community partners!

SEASON OF SHARING: IT’S NEARLY TIME FOR OUR ANNUAL HOLIDAY STORE!

The Annual Human Solutions Holiday Store is a joyful tradition! Every year, Human Solutions partners with volunteers in our community to collect gifts for kids who need them and invites their parents to shop for the holidays. The event serves low-income community members who live in our affordable housing communities or are participating in our programs. The gifts come from anyone inspired to share during the holiday season of sharing – is that you?

We invite you to help us put on this terrific event – we need toys, volunteers and generous sponsors. Get details on our website or contact us directly: holidaystore@humansolutions.org or 503.548.0213.

TRI-MET’S NEW LOW-INCOME FARE

We are pleased to share that Human Solutions recently became a community partner for TriMet’s Low-Income Fare program. For current clients of Human Solutions who have trouble affording TriMet fare, relief may be available through this new program. Here’s how it works: Oregon residents who are 18 to 64 years old and have an income less than twice the federal poverty level can apply to ride for a lower fare. If approved, riders will save 50% off a single ride or day pass or 72% off a month pass. As a community partner, Human Solutions’ staff are trained to qualify applicants income when they come to one of our locations, making it easier for people in the community to sign up. Find out if you’re eligible and apply here. We know firsthand how important it is to make public transit affordable to those who depend on it.

Thanks for reading and for always supporting Human Solutions and the wonderful folks we get to work with every day.

LearnLinks Summer Camp