July 2018 Newsletter

JULY 2018 NEWSLETTER

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much but whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Interfaith Alliance newsletter is produced by the Poverty Awareness Action Team.
To contact: Email Bonniejgregg@msn.com



On A Mission to Alleviate Poverty in the Portland Region

Alliance members include: Westminster Presbyterian, Fremont United Methodist, Congregation Beth Israel, Madeleine Catholic Parish, First Unitarian, St. Andrews Catholic Parish, Rose City Park Presbyterian, Augustana Lutheran, Genesis Community Fellowship, Ainsworth United Church of Christ, Grace Memorial Episcopal, and Central Lutheran working with St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Parish and Community Partners

“You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets “iffy”, and flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism. “ ~Erma Bombeck





INTERFAITH ALLIANCE, JUNE 7, YEAR END MEETING

Held at Portland Central Nazarene Church, the Interfaith Alliance on Poverty met to review 2017-2018 main strengths and accomplishments and to consider ways in which the Interfaith Alliance might become more effective and increase the participation of its members.

Following general meeting, Interfaith Alliance members toured the Agape Village”, now under construction adjacent to Portland Central Nazarene Church. Central Nazarene Church tells us that “Ever since the church opened its doors, there have been houseless people living on, and near, the property. A couple of years ago, the church really began to look at what it means to love God and to love our neighbor. In this search, hearing what other villages were doing, working with other churches and organizations, and in trying to love our houseless neighbors, Agape Village was born. The ultimate goal is to create a village which involves the entire community in giving our neighbors a hand-up. We want this village to be a win-win for everyone - making our community safer while giving people a chance to find health and stability. “The goal of the village is to provide a safe place to transition into permanent housing and a healthier life. In order to do this partnerships with other non-profits and social service agencies will be formed and those resources made available to the village guests

TO GET INVOLVED, CONTACT:

Central Nazarene Church/Matt Huff/Sarah Chapman - mhuff@portlandcentralnaz.org

Village Coalition/Vahid Brown - vahid.brown@gmail.com Cascadia Clusters/David Cahana - david.cascadiaclusters@gmail.com

Agape Blitz/Ron Clark - rclark@agapecoc.com


EFFORTS CONTINUE AT OAK LEAF

By Dave Albertine

With the summer upon us, individuals and teams from member congregations of the Interfaith Alliance have begun work to help temporarily relocate tenants of the Oak Leaf Mobile Home Park in the Cully neighborhood. As the new owner of the park, St. Vincent de Paul of Eugene is leading the effort to rehabilitate the park over the next year. Nearly all the current mobile homes will be removed and the park’s water, sewer and other infrastructure will be replaced and restored. Approximately 22 new mobile homes will be provided current residents and a community center area with laundry facilities will be built. Plans also call for increased security and better lighting.

In order to prepare for this major restoration, residents are being moved for the next six to nine months to temporary housing in apartments and motels. Members of the Alliance are helping residents prepare and pack for the move, and will also serve as Oak Leaf helpers to support residents emotional and personal needs until their return. Storage pods have been provided. Many of the residents have lived at Oak Leaf for years. Some have health issues and the move, though necessary, is disrupting and challenging. Often residents need practical advice and physical help to sort and pack belongings.

If you are interested in helping at Oak Leaf, please consider joining one of our congregational teams. Please contact Dave Albertine at 503-282-7848 or davea51@gmail.com for more information. The job requires a helping heart, patience, compassion, good communication and an ability to help residents pack. Additionally, we need some who could also provide the “muscle” to move larger and heavier belongings. The work is demanding, but very rewarding. Specific instructions and help will be provided by St. Vincent de Paul staff.

NOTE: Gienia Baines, the lead social worker from St. Vincent des Paul Eugene, who is coordinating the Oak Leaf move, advises there are now 4-5 additional families/individuals who want help packing and moving their items into their pod in the coming weeks. Help can be given any day Monday through Sat, generally between 11:00 am-3:00 pm. If you are able to donate some time, please call Gienia at 541-510-2392 and let her know you are coming. Check in at # 9 mobile home for an assignment. Also, please send Dave Albertine an email and let him know you are helping and if you are with an organization or congregation- so we get a sense of how many people are helping and who they are. His email is davea51@gmail.com




OUTCOME OF LIVING CULLY’S MOBILE HOME CAMPAIGN UNCERTAIN

by Marilyn Mauch

Hundreds of mobile home residents and supporters showed up wearing orange to the Planning and Sustainability Commission hearing on Tuesday, June 12th at Portland Community College’s southeast campus. Together, through heartfelt testimony and visible support, they called on the Commission to vote YES on a proposal to protect Portland’s 62 mobile home parks with a new zoning designation that would make it difficult for developers to purchase park properties and redevelop them with housing out of reach for low income households.

At the end of the meeting, the Commission postponed the vote until its July 10 meeting in order to consider amendments submitted by some of its members. Supporters of the zoning change fear that these amendments could seriously weaken the initial proposal and invite redevelopment of park properties. Living Cully has called on members of the Alliance and its other supporters to submit testimony to the Commission urging it to adopt the original manufactured dwelling park zoning proposal and reject any amendments that make it easier to redevelop a park. Submit your testimony before July 10 at https://www.portlandmaps.com/bps/testify/#/mdp Living Cully expressed sincere thanks for the Alliance’s letters of support to Commission members, for providing a bus to take families to the hearing and for Alliance members attending the hearing.

“YES, FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Campaign Kickoff, Portland Mercado, June 21, 2018.

The Oregon Legislature has referred Constitutional Amendment (HJR 201) for Affordable Housing to voters in the fall of 2018. As rent and home costs skyrocket in the Portland Metro area and across the state, we are fighting to keep our communities together. Support #HomesWeNeed and vote YES for Affordable Housing this fall!

The Oregon Housing Alliance, sponsor of the “Yes, For Affordable Housing” campaign has racked up the following accomplishments during the 2018 legislative year:

Document Recording Fee (HB 4007) -- The Legislature increased the document recording fee for affordable housing from $20 to $60, which will raise $90 million a biennium for critical affordable housing needs!

AHTC Technical Fix (HB 4028) - The Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit (OAHTC) can be used to purchase and preserve manufactured home parks, to ensure long term affordability for residents. HB 4028 makes a slight change to allow an LLC or an LP controlled by a nonprofit organization to be an eligible purchaser. - The Legislature passed this important technical fix for manufactured home park preservation.

Address Racial Disparities in Homeownership (HB 4010) - People of color continue to face discrimination as they seek to purchase their first home. This bill creates a task force to study and address racial disparities in homeownership. - This Task Force was created by the Legislature!

Request for Emergency Shelter (HB 5201)

The Governor’s Office has requested $5 million to meet emergency needs. This funding will go to communities across the state to address an unprecedented increase in need for shelter capacity. - This request was funded!

Addressing Severe Rent Burden (HB 4006) Cities with a high percentage of renters with a severe rent burden (over 50% of their income goes to rent) will hold a public meeting to identify potential solutions to the problem, and submit a plan to Oregon Housing and Community Services to consider ways to address the problem. Also included in the bill are resources to support technical assistance grants for local jurisdictions, and funding for a study of the cost drivers of affordable housing. - This bill was passed, and fully funded!


“2018 STATE OF THE CITY”

REPORT BY MAYOR TED WHEELER (Excerpts Below)

“We know the key challenges that confront us in the present – homelessness, housing, policing, economic development – but we also recognize these challenges as opportunities to live our values, put them into action, and let them serve as an example to others. I believe that every one of us is entitled to a warm, dry place to sleep at night. We can’t continue to call ourselves a progressive city as so many of our neighbors live, and too often die, on our streets. Homelessness represents nothing short of a humanitarian crisis. It is unacceptable to me, and I hope to you, and I expect us to continue to lead and innovate to find humane solutions to significantly reduce this problem. “That’s why the first dollars allocated in my proposed budget will be dedicated to preventing homelessness, providing shelter for those living outside in the elements, and – most importantly – guiding people into permanent housing while connecting them to the services they need to get off and stay off the streets. “The City of Portland has a challenging budget and I’ve asked all bureaus to show me what 5% reductions in service would look like. My commitment to you is this: we will maintain the record investments we’ve made in the Joint Office of Homeless Services.

“We were one of the only cities in America that saw a reduction in the unsheltered population over the last two years—which we decreased by 11%. Don’t get me wrong – the problem of homelessness is very serious and it continues to grow, but having fewer people living outside, exposed to the elements is proof that we can make progress. We reduced our unsheltered population by increasing shelter capacity, placing more people into permanent housing, and by reducing the number of people who become homelessness in the first place. Almost 5,000 people obtained housing last year, hundreds more than the goals our partners in A Home for Everyone set before the year began, and more than twice the number placed before the coalition was created. That is 5,000 people who are no longer living outside, and no longer living in shelter. They have a place to call home. 5,000. “In addition, more than 6,000 people started receiving prevention services last year, almost 2,000 more than the year before. That is 6,000 who are right on the edge that we are preventing from becoming homeless in our community. “As we make progress on homelessness, we must also address the factors that lead people to homelessness in the first place. We must ensure that Portland remains a city that is accessible and affordable for everyone. .I don’t want millionaires to be the only people who can afford to live downtown. I don’t want service industry workers to have a two-hour commute. I want a city where we actively create housing options at every income level and for people of all ages. “More than 600 affordable housing units came online in 2017—more than double the number of units in the prior year. And this year will be another record year. There are currently more than 700 newly affordable units under construction and slated to open in 2018. This will be the largest number of affordable units ever produced by the City of Portland in a single year in modern history. An additional 1300 units are beginning construction and will open their doors in 2019. “City Council will soon approve a plan to allow for greater height and density in the Central City to create more housing, all of which will be subject to the Council’s inclusionary housing program. That alone has the potential to create thousands of units of workforce housing.

“We passed major tenant protections this year, including making permanent an existing policy requiring landlordsto provide relocation assistance to tenants they evict without cause or who cannot afford a double digit rent increase. We expanded the pool of tenants who are eligible for this greatly needed protection. And we are investing the housing bond dollars approved by Portland voters. Proponents of the housing bond promised that 1,300 units of permanent affordable housing would be created at a variety of affordability levels within 5 – 7 years. And, we are on track to accomplish that. “As of today, in the first 18 months, we have nearly half of the units promised to voters in process, in both new developments and acquisitions of existing buildings – providing new housing opportunities and preventing displacement.

“If voters approve ballot measure HJR 201 in November, our bond dollars will go much farther. We might be able to double, or even triple, the number of units created by the affordable housing bond. If metro moves forward with their housing bond, this would allow us to leverage those dollars, too. We know that the involuntary displacement and the discrimination of entire communities resulted in a legacy of lost opportunity, of lost wealth creation, and created an environment for a lack of trust. This gap in trust, can only be addressed if we honestly recognize these actions of the past, some of which are still playing out in many ways in our present, and are willing to discuss them, and take alternative actions to the best of our abilities, to right these wrongs. The spirit of Portland is that of solutions. That pioneering spirit that runs through the veins of all those who call Portland home. Join me in reaffirming our commitment to fair housing for all. To locking hand in hand and arm in arm and moving towards a reality that affirms our commitment to the intent of the Fair Housing Act both in spirit and in practice. “While we address access and affordability in the rental market, we must also provide more opportunities for home ownership. A home represents the ability to create wealth, not just for your family today but for generations to come. “We have come some of the way, not near all of it. There is much yet to do.”


CITY PURCHASES APARTMENT HOUSE TO HELP AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced the purchase of an apartment building on S.E. 105th and Burnside at a price of $14.3 million. “Funding this kind of transitional housing for our most vulnerable neighbors is extremely important to me,” he said. “Acquiring a new building with these amenities and transit options is a rare opportunity. We have been able to act swiftly before it was sold on the private market thanks to this resource given to us by Portland voters.” The building is the third project announced as part of Portland’s Housing Bond and the promise to create 1,300 units to help solve the city’s affordable housing problem. “The housing issue is a regional issue,” Mayor Wheeler explained. “It is not just a Portland issue.” The new apartment building will have 51 units including seven studios, 20 one-bedroom, and 24 two-bedroom apartments, as well as on-site supportive services. The two-bedroom units are designed to accommodate families with children.



GOOD READ:

“Breakfast At Sally’s” by Richard LeMieux

Bremerton man’s inspirational journey through homelessness—recommended by Lou Carman, Madeleine

Once a happily married businessman, avid golfer, and the proud owner of several luxury cars and three boats, conservative-minded Richard LeMieux saw his fortunes change almost overnight. In this astonishingly heartfelt memoir, he describes his descent into homelessness and his struggle to survive personal and economic disaster. LeMieux describes his odyssey and the quirky, diverse, and endearing cast of characters found among the homeless people of Bremerton, Washington….a rare inside-look at how the other America lives and how one man, beaten down and alone, was able to reconnect, find good people, and ultimately, with their help, to persevere. Lou says, “The author was a man who lived in Bremerton, WA and had a wealthy lifestyle until he lost everything except his station wagon and his little dog. This is the story of his time as a homeless person, and his story may make you see homeless people in a different way.”

RIGHT 2 DREAM TOO

Right 2 Dream Too (known as R2DToo) is a rest area in Portland that serves the houseless community on a temporary basis. Their mission is to provide a safe place for people to sleep undisturbed

RIGHT NOW, they are looking for volunteers to help build sleeping pods. Although no prior experience needed, those with carpentry skills are especially encouraged to volunteer. Construction will be led by a professional carpenter Shifts are 3 hrs long, from 8am - 5pm. Building will take place at 999 N Thunderbird Way BUILD DAYS: July 6, 7, 8, 21 & 22 Sign up for volunteer shifts at ecolloyd.org/sleeping-pod-volunteer-sign-up . More ways to help We also need refreshments, shade, and other day of support, contact sarah@ecolloyd.org for more details. Questions? Contact Sarah sarah@ecolloyd.org.

Tom Hering