I am so proud of all the great work our team is doing at Human Solutions that I just had to share three recent highlights with you. As someone who has supported our work in the community (thank you!), I hope you will be as energized by our progress and impact as I am.
Delivering More Affordable Housing
Over the next two to three years, we will bring 168 new apartments to East Portland, where the housing crisis is increasingly acute. Two big pieces of news to share:
- We broke ground in September on our most ambitious project yet: 75 new apartments with ground-floor retail and an anchor office/service center for Human Solutions, right next to Discovery Park in East Portland’s Gateway neighborhood. We look forward to moving into our new home 18 months from now, together with 75 families who will move into theirs. We sure hope you’ll join us for the grand opening! The site is at 106th & NE Halsey – you’ll see the cranes when you drive by.
- We are redeveloping our former family shelter site into 93 permanently affordable homes for families. Human Solutions was awarded $13.9 million from the City of Portland’s 2016 Affordable Housing Bond (thank you, voters!) to move this exciting project forward. We’re thrilled that 16 of the apartments will provide “permanent supportive housing” for families experiencing chronic homelessness. What makes these units different is the high level of supportive services available to families to end their ongoing struggle with homelessness. Permanent supportive housing is a national best-practice with a proven track record creating sustainable homes for those who have been unhoused for years. Human Solutions has been an Oregon leader in developing and providing this type of housing for families, and we are thrilled to expand options in East Portland for families who have been unhoused for too long.
Our New Family Shelter Is Open
Over the last few months, our hard-working shelter team began welcoming families to Lilac Meadows, our new emergency shelter for families. We are partnering with Multnomah County to operate this new site, a former motel that allows families the privacy and normalcy of family life with the on-site support they need to find stable housing. Our terrific team works one-on-one with every resident family to transition from homelessness to housing. With homelessness in our region continuing to grow and a hundreds-long waitlist for emergency shelter, we are proud to be part of the solution, providing a safe place to live and rapid rehousing support for 39 families – including about 80 kids - every night. Our track record is strong, too: last year 85% of the families who moved into housing from our shelter remained housed for at least one year. If you want to help out (we hope you do!), our shelter volunteer & donations coordinator, Christina, would love to hear from you: email@example.com or 503.278.1637.
New Employment Programming
The group you see here are proud graduates of Skills2Work, a new program we created to support people experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness as they prepare to re-enter the job market. While we have long worked with low/no income folks to help them increase their skills and find career-track employment, this program fills a gap by offering training and support for those with the most barriers to work so they can recover confidence, skills and self-awareness on the road to potential employment and a brighter future. Our incredible Employment Team worked to craft this unique series specifically for a cohort of women – including many who reside in our Gresham Women’s Shelter. After many weeks of inspiring hard work, the cohort of 13 graduates received their diplomas at an emotional ceremony. It was a morning filled with pride, accomplishment, tears, hugs and love – one of the most memorable celebrations I have attended in my 25 years of doing this work. I’ve enclosed a recent article in the Gresham Outlook about this program – take a look!
Community Conversation on Homelessness
This summer we hosted a conversation about homelessness and enjoyed dialoging with the community about what’s happening in our city and what we are doing to help solve it. About 50 folks joined us at a coffee shop in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, where we had a robust, productive conversation that moved us all toward greater understanding of homelessness and more empathy for the people trying to survive it. Folks had the chance to talk with our experts and each other about their personal beliefs about our economy, our housing markets, and how to help those left out of the prosperity we are seeing in Oregon. Thank to locally-owned office sharing company CENTRL Office for hosting another Community Conversation at their Pearl location on Tuesday, December 3rd from 5:30-7:30 PM - RSVP here. If you’d like us to bring this kind of dialog to your community, please reach out to our communications director Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503.548.0282.
Thank you, as always, for caring about our community and Human Solutions’ role in making it work for everyone. I am so glad that you are part of the Human Solutions family.
Andy Miller, Executive Director
PS – If you are inspired by our accomplishments, we’re open for gifts 24/7 right here (thank you!): humansolutions.org/giving.