Bridges to Housing: Multnomah County Appreciation Event a Success!

On Friday, July 16, 2010, Bridges to Housing case managers, staff, and Multnomah County partners gathered to appreciate and celebrate the success of the program, now four years old.

Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, describing herself as a member of the Bridges to Housing fan club, welcomed families, case managers and those who’ve worked at the City and County to make this program a success.  Commissioner Kafoury also announced the great news that Multnomah County had committed over $400,000 to services in 2010-2011 for Bridges to Housing!

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Photo by Maileen Hamto, Portland Housing Bureau

Commissioner Nick Fish discussed the importance of the regional effort, and talked about the critical contributions made by various partners: the Housing Authority of Portland, which dedicated project-based Section 8 vouchers, making housing affordable for these families and allowing funds to be spent on case management; the City of Portland, who contributed resources to build new affordable housing units and to reprogram existing units to create 139 units dedicated specifically to this program; and Multnomah County, who committed funds for services to continue the program.

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Photo by Maileen Hamto, Portland Housing Bureau

Janet Byrd of Neighborhood Partnerships described the four county effort, and the importance of the ongoing evaluation, which is being conducted by Portland State University.  Janet also talked about the private funds raised to support Bridges to Housing and thanked the many foundations who have contributed over the past four years.  She also described the huge contribution of time from Regional Steering Committee volunteers and thanked them for their efforts.

Jean DeMaster talked about the contribution and partnership shown by housing providers, and property and asset managers, and how important their support had been to making the program successful.   Suzanne Washington recognized the dedication and hard work of case managers who have been working alongside these families since day one.  The case managers have played a huge role in helping these families maintain their housing, and move forward on their goals.   She thanked them for their commitment to the program and to the families

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Photo by Maileen Hamto, Portland Housing Bureau

We also had the opportunity to hear from some of the families who have participated in Bridges to Housing.  Several were generous enough to tell us their stories of how they came into the program, and how it’s helped them.  We heard from a family of four, who camped for a year after losing their rental apartment when it was sold.  The father is now back in school and earning a degree in green building.  We also heard from a family who escaped domestic violence and substance abuse and is now also back in school.  Commissioner Kafoury said it best when she reminded us that the families are the one and only reason this program matters.

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Photo by Maileen Hamto, Portland Housing Bureau

Thanks to everyone who came, and thank you especially to the families who shared their stories and their afternoon with us.

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Photo by Maileen Hamto, Portland Housing Bureau

Also special thanks to those who donated food or raffle prizes to the event: Cupcake Jones, New Seasons Market, Starbucks, World Cup Coffee, Human Solutions, and Ellington Handbags.  Thanks to Maileen Hamto of Portland Housing Bureau for taking photographs. And thanks to Hacienda CDC’s Micro Mercantes for a wonderful lunch.