Happy New Year! 2018 went out with a bang here at Human Solutions. In December we hosted Governor Kate Brown, County Chair Deborah Kafoury and State Housing Director Margaret Salazar at the Gresham Women’s Shelter, received an award for our work on the Housing Crisis from the East Portland Chamber of Commerce, held our 14th annual Holiday Store for low-income families to find gifts for their kids, and proudly earned a $100,000 investment from Amazon.
I’d love to share some highlights with you – about both our exciting year-end events and what’s ahead in 2019. Also, I want to extend a BIG thanks to everyone who contributed during our year-end giving campaign. We are grateful for each and every gift and proud to have earned your trust.
GOVERNOR BROWN & CHAIR KAFOURY VISIT
We were delighted to welcome Governor Kate Brown, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and State Housing Director Margaret Salazar to the Gresham Women’s Shelter on December 10th for a press conference about the Governor’s proposed housing budget and priorities (event overview here). Importantly, the Governor took time to connect one-on-one with shelter residents to hear their thoughts and experiences. One resident read a written statement to the Governor, another performed a dance, and a third handed her a copy of the most recent Street Roots paper. They seized the opportunity to share themselves and their stories with the Governor. These visits are important because they connect decision-makers with individuals whose lives are impacted by homelessness.
Pictured here with the Governor is Human Solutions’ shelter manager Marci Catagena; Gov. Brown is holding a welcome card made by shelter residents.
We are deeply grateful to our partners at Amazon for their generous contribution of $100,000. The donation is part of Amazon’s annual holiday campaign to celebrate with communities near its fulfillment centers (in our case, Troutdale) by making over $1 million in donations to nonprofits supporting homeless families across the U.S. Mike Moore, General Manager of Amazon’s Troutdale fulfillment center, summed it up:
“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. 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.”
Read more here about Amazon's gift and the holiday party they threw for low-income families.
NEW REPORT ON LOCAL HOMELESSNESS
The Oregon Community Foundation – a terrific organizati
on with whom we are proud to partner - commissioned a report to take a deep look at the causes of homelessness in the Portland Metro Area in an effort to identify effective solutions. The report, “Homelessness and Housing in Portland: Root Cause Analysis Illustrates both Complexity and Potential for Collaborative Solutions,” is an important read. There’s a great Executive Summary if you don’t have time for the full report but have been wanting to understand more about this moral crisis and what a solution might look like.
HOLIDAY STORE 2018: IT’S A WRAP!
Well that was fun! This year we held our 14th Annual Holiday Store at a wonderful new (generously donated!) location, St. Aiden’s Episcopal Church at NE 174th & Glisan. Huge thanks go to everyone who gathered or made or purchased gifts and to the 80 volunteers who staffed the store – and to the cookie bakers who created our abundant snack station. This community effort provided holiday gifts to over 500 children in 170 low- and very-low income families. What’s really special about this event is that parents can choose new, unwrapped gifts for their kids. We’ll be doing it again next year, so mark your calendar to be involved!
Pictured: Human Solutions’ Yolanda Medina and a couple she works with who shopped at the store this year.
THANKS FOR THE AWARD
We were honored to be recognized by the East Portland Chamber of Commerce as a winner of its "Excellence in Community Service Award" for our work responding to the local Housing Crisis. We greatly value our relationship with EPCC, an organization based in East Portland that cares as deeply about our service area as we do. Thank you for the recognition!
Pictured here, L to R: Multnomah Commissioner Lori Stegman, Katia Selezneva and Andy Miller of Human Solutions, and EPCC President Gary Russell.
The Oregon State Legislature opens its 2019 legislative session on January 22nd. Housing bills will be front and center and Human Solutions will be paying close attention. We are an active member of the Oregon Housing Alliance, a local coalition of affordable housing advocates, and we will be supporting their policy agenda, including attending their “Housing Opportunity Day” in March. Stay tuned for details as that day approaches – it’s a great way to learn how our state legislature works and advocate for answers to our statewide housing crisis. One bill we are particularly keen on would bring us a step closer to preventing harmful and unnecessarily steep rent increases; it is explained in this Willamette Week article.
Why not get a new job for the New Year? Human Solutions has several job openings right now. Join our mission-driven team!
Thanks, as always, for taking a minute to stay current with Human Solutions and the important community issues we are working hard to solve. We appreciate you!