From Shawna: Feeding Others Feeds The Soul

For many of us, the holidays are about food. Reminiscing about family meals and recipes (creamed onions, anyone?), baking pies and decorating gingerbread houses, flipping through recipes, and sharing your results with loved ones.

As you know, all that is going to look a bit different this year, thanks to COVID. The need in our community is greater than ever, so we are inviting you to build community with us and share food with those who need it this holiday season. Feeding others is a surefire way to feed our own souls. We’ve got a handful of COVID-safe opportunities for you to build community with us through sharing food. Hopefully one of these will work for you:

  1. Cook and deliver a dish for one of our many “drop-off potlucks” this season: Thanksgiving Day, mid-December dessert party, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Sunday brunches, and more… See all the options and sign up here! [Pictured right is a volunteer at our most recent Sunday brunch!]
  2. Coordinate your own “drop off potluck” with your personal or workplace networks – we’ll set you up with an easy and sharable online sign-up on a date that suits you.
  3. Sponsor a meal for one of our three emergency shelters by catering a dinner from your favorite local restaurant – they all need a boost right now. We’ll help you order!
  4. Make sack lunches at home for one of our shelters – this is a great family activity and works as a service project for students. You’ll need to buy supplies and deliver. Click here for tips!
  5. Donate canned food or host a canned food drive for our shelter cooks – they work magic with donated food, so these specific shelf-stable items really stretch their recipes.
  6. Some folks are able to cook for large groups – we do that, too, if you want to prepare a meal for everyone in a shelter some night. It’s a big, but rewarding job!

Ready to get started? Great! Please reach out to me or Brielle on our team to find out more:

Sharing is what the holidays are all about!  Since we’re not able to feed our extended families a big, loving holiday meal, let’s join together and feed our neighbors ☺

Thank you for all you do for our community, we sure appreciate you!

October Volunteer News: Indigenous Cultures Day, Virtual Orientation and What We Need Now

We have fall on our minds and in the midst of COVD are grateful for the beautiful weather so we can still get outside. In this month’s Volunteer eNews we have a few seasonal opportunities for you that include pumpkins and potlucks – read on to find out how you can engage. Thank you for being part of Human Solutions’ response to COVID, which continues to hit East County hard. We depend on our strong volunteer community to meet our community’s needs.

DROP-OFF POTLUCK TO HONOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY

Indigenous Peoples’ Day honors the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout the US. The holiday recognizes the legacy and impact of colonialism on Native communities, and it also celebrates the cultures, contributions, and resilience of contemporary Native peoples. We want to acknowledge and celebrate this special day with our second “drop-off” style potluck dinner for residents of our emergency shelters. Want to join us? Great, because we need your help!

  • WHO: Volunteers like you!
  • WHAT: Drop-off potluck dinner to feed 30 shelter shelter residents. You cook & deliver a dish for 12, shelter residents eat a fabulous meal prepared by a loving and engaged community.
  • WHERE: Gresham Women’s Shelter, located at 16141 E. Burnside Street, Gresham (here’s a map)
  • WHY: A well-functioning community where everyone has what they need includes mutual aid. Plus, sharing food is a powerful act of community.
  • SIGN-UP: We use Sign-Up Genius to track dishes – see what’s still open and add your name right here. (If all slots are full, don’t worry, we’ve got another planned soon. Contact Brielle if you want to be notified when that sign-up is ready!)

If you’d like to read more about Indigenous People’s Day, this article is a great resource.

Questions about out drop-off potlucks? Call/text Brielle @ 971.806.7759 or email

JOIN US! VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION ON WEDNESDAY, OCT. 21ST

Thanks to the community’s strong response during COVID, we have a host of new folks helping us in various ways, from driving to collect and deliver donations, making sack lunches and hot meals, baking cookies for shelters and more! So, we’re planning a virtual orientation so we can all get to know each other. We want to share with you who we are, and also connect us all because we believe deeply in a connected, engaged and supportive community and want to help foster it whenever we can.

We’ll be gathering on Zoom on Wednesday, October 21st from Noon to 1 PM for a casual brown bag lunch conversation, featuring our Executive Director Andy Miller, our Emergency Services Director Marci Cartagena, and us, your trusty volunteer team, Shawna and Brielle.

EXCITING NEWS TO SHARE ABOUT OUR NEWEST HOUSING COMMUNITY

Nine months after the untimely death of Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, a cutting-edge new development in the Gateway neighborhood will be named in his honor.

The Nick Fish, now under construction at NE 106th and Halsey Street in East Portland, is shaping up to be a landmark project adjacent to a gorgeous new city park, with housing priced to help families remain in the neighborhood and retail spaces for small, local and minority-owned businesses.

The Nick Fish will offer 75 affordable and market-rate apartments, many with exceptional views of Gateway Discovery Park, considered only the second “barrier free” greenspace in Portland with a plaza, accessible playground, “skate dot” for skateboarders, outdoor seating and more. Residents will also enjoy a resident lounge that opens onto the park’s plaza, convenient access to neighborhood and parkside amenities, and accessible public transit.
Read more about this historic development

WHAT OUR PROGRAMS NEED :

We depend on volunteers to help us do what we do (truly: where would we be without you?!), and we have a few ideas for you this month – in case you were looking for the right fit for you:

  • Have a car and some time? We need weekly and on-call drivers to pick up and deliver donations, especially food! We’re especially seeking folks in East County who have some time mid week.
  • Have unused art and knitting supplies? We know all about those hopeful but unfinished projects! If you have some that are new or gently used, we’ll happily take them off your hands.
  • Large size diapers! The families at Lilac Meadows, our family shelter, often need size 4-6 diapers – and wipes, too! Grab a box next time you’re grocery shopping, or send us one from Amazon. (7740 SE Powell Blvd, PDX, 972__)
  • Pumpkins! ‘Tis the season – we want shelter residents to enjoy the festive decoration and fun activity of having pumpkins to paint. If you’re out getting some for your front porch or grandkids, grab a few extra for us!

If any of these tasks sound interesting, please reach out to Shawna at 503.278.1637 or volunteer@humansolutions.org.

Thank you for all you do. Together, we are what community looks like!

Warmly,

Brielle Jones & Shawna Hoffman, Your Volunteer & In-Kind Donations Team

PS – If you ever want to support Human Solutions’ work in the community with a financial contribution, we happily accept donations 24/7 right here: https://humansolutions.org/giving/

Introducing “The Nick Fish:” A New Housing Community Honors Beloved Civic Leader

“The reality is, to be successful on the housing front, locally and at the state level, we need a big coalition. Part of this is about the confidence and maturity of a movement, and its willingness to build a big tent.”

— Nick Fish, Portland City Commissioner, on resource development for housing and homeless services, March 4, 2011

September 22, 2020 (Portland, OR) – Nine months after the untimely death of Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, a cutting-edge new development in the Gateway neighborhood, will be named in his honor.

The Nick Fish, now under construction at NE 106th and Halsey Street in East Portland’s Gateway neighborhood, is shaping up to be a landmark project adjacent to a gorgeous new city park, with housing priced to help families remain in the neighborhood and retail spaces for small, local and minority-owned businesses. Human Solutions is co-developing the project with Edlen & Co and Holst Architects.

Holst Architects designed the complex, which will bring a striking new skyline and modern vitality to the Gateway Regional Town Center, which has long awaited major investment.  By ensuring housing affordable to a a range of incomes, The Nick Fish will help prevent the kind of residential displacement that too often accompanies neighborhood investment.

About the Project

The Nick Fish will offer 75 affordable and market-rate apartments, many with exceptional views of Gateway Discovery Park, considered only the second “barrier free” greenspace in Portland with a plaza, accessible playground, “skate dot” for skateboarders, outdoor seating and more. Residents will also enjoy a resident lounge that opens onto the park’s plaza, convenient access to neighborhood and parkside amenities, and accessible public transit.

The beloved commissioner’s name graces the housing portion of the development – but there’s more. Prosper Portland will own and operate 11,000 square feet of retail space tucked into a two-story wing of the building dedicated to small, minority-owned local businesses, including storefronts along NE Halsey Street and the park and Human Solutions will occupy the second floor of the development with an office and service center. Prosper Portland owns the land and played a significant role in financing and supporting the project.

Primary funding is through Prosper Portland, the Portland Housing Bureau, the City of Portland, Chase Bank, PNC, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), Dudley Ventures, Valley National Bank, METRO, private grants from Meyer Memorial Trust and The Collins Foundation, and Oregon Housing and Community Services.

The project is slated to open to the community in Spring 2021 and will be the first Portland building to commemorate Fish, an affordable housing visionary who served as a City Commissioner for 11 years before his untimely death in January 2020.

The Nick Fish is only one of several upcoming affordable housing communities in the works at Human Solutions: one 75 -unit rehab, one purchase with 68 units, and another new development with 93 deeply affordable apartments — all in East County, where Human Solutions has focused our work for 32 years. The organization recently received nearly $8 million federal and state grants from Oregon Housing and Community Services to move these community investments forward. Human Solutions’ Executive Director Andy Miller had the idea to honor his friend Nick Fish in this way because the project represents so well what the former Commissioner steadfastly stood for. As Miller describes it:

“Nick dedicated his career to community service, with a vision of healthy, green neighborhoods where every Portlander was welcome and could thrive. Nick was thrilled to support this new housing that will provide high-quality rental homes to Portlanders across a range of incomes with a gorgeous new park in their backyard. The Nick Fish helps make real our vision – and Nick’s – to co-create vibrant, healthy neighborhoods where all people can share in the security, hopes and advantages of a thriving, supportive community in East Portland. I’ve long been inspired by Nick’s work and couldn’t think of a better way to honor his impact on our city. We toured the site recently with Nick’s family and were thrilled to receive their blessing to commemorate Nick’s legacy in this way.”

When finished, The Nick Fish will add to Human Solutions’ portfolio of 16 affordable housing communities, bringing the number of affordable rental units the organization manages in East Portland/East Multnomah County to 736.

About Nick Fish

An attorney by trade, Fish was a native New Yorker who pulled up his roots in the mid-1990s to head for Oregon, where his wife, Patricia Schechter, had accepted a post teaching history at Portland State University. Fish, of course, immediately engaged in the local community.

Politics had long been in his family, so it was no surprise when he ran for office – winning in 2008 after several attempts He was a popular commissioner and Portlanders understood him to be both effective and deeply devoted to his work and our City.

Fish was best known for his work merging the city’s various housing services and programs into one bureau, combining the City’s smaller Bureau of Housing and Community Development and the housing side of the (then) Portland Development Commission to create the Portland Housing Bureau, which he oversaw from 2010-2013. He also made lasting contributions as the Commissioner of Parks and Recreation (2010-2013 and 2018-2019), where he created and expanded programs serving children and families, with an eye toward East Portland which was historically underserved.

Fish’s deep focus on ending homelessness and increasing Portlanders’ access to affordable housing and greenspaces is what makes the new building uniquely suited to commemorate this beloved city leader.

Fish’s family toured the site this summer and is taking the opportunity to work more closely with Human Solutions. Patricia Schechter, Fish’s widow, and their children Chapin and Maria, are all in:

The work of building trust and true collaboration is painstaking. Any society can put up a building…But in a democracy, we face each other as equal citizens and deliberate in order to create a common ground that can blunt and even shift imbalances of power,” Schechter says.