Collaboration: as good as chocolate?

I was struck by this opinion piece in today’s Oregonian by Larry Wallack, now Dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs at Portland State University.

I had the pleasure of working with Larry beginning in 2004 as a group of us worked to hone messages that would help us build affordable housing champions. One of the outcomes or byproducts of that working group on messages was the Housing Alliance, and the commitment to collaboration for the greater good that has always guided our work. I’m not sure we can give Larry credit for all of our successful collaboration, but he certainly inspired us to define a unified agenda, taught us the value of message discipline and helped inspire us to pull towards a common goal.

Yes, collaboration does feel good, especially when we look at the results, and the ever-increasing visibility and impact of the coalition.  And even a chocolate lover like me has to admit that the benefits – to Oregonians who need a place to call home – are even better than chocolate.

Housing Alliance Results:

2005:    Regular Session

  • Expansion of the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit cap by $2 million

2007:    Regular Session

  • $26 million in new one time funding to house working families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities, and to preserve existing housing.
  • Another $2 million expansion for the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit.
  • Protections for renters displaced by condo conversion.
  • Improved protection for manufactured home park residents.

2008:     Supplemental Session

  • $2 million to seed the ‘Housing Acquisition Fund’ to preserve the homes of thousands of vulnerable Oregonians.
  • $4 million for the Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit.

2009:     Regular Session

  • Housing Opportunity Bill creates a dedicated revenue source for affordable housing.
  • Funding for Emergency Housing Account and State Homeless Assistance Program spared the worst of the budget cuts.
  • Tenants living in foreclosed properties gain some protections from hurried eviction.
  • Lottery Backed Bonds support preservation of existing affordable housing ??
  • Expansion of Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit ??

2009 and beyond: There’s more to do!!!