Home forward

contact | forward to a friend |

home forward  
July 2013
hope. access. potential
drop shadow
A new name for the Housing Authority of Portland

drop shadow


Feeling the Pain: Sequestration Takes Hold

Resident rent increases, staff pay cuts, frozen voucher waiting list

Residents, staff and those waiting for a Housing Choice Voucher now are feeling sequestration's impact on Home Forward.  Starting August 1, participants in the public housing and Section 8 programs will shoulder rent increases of 1-2% of their income, which is between $1-$50 a month for most.  In addition to a voluntary lay-off and retirement program, there will be no pay increases for staff and everyone will take two mandatory furlough days and have the option of a third day.  The agency will not draw anyone from its new 3,000-person Section 8 waiting list until April 2014 at the earliest, more than a year after the list was created.

The actions help close a $5.3 million funding gap created by federal sequestration.  "While we haven't yet had to remove anyone from our programs, this creates real pain for residents and staff, and we can't offer near-term hope to those waiting for a voucher," said Steve Rudman, executive director.  

Home Forward offices will be closed on the two mandatory furlough days, August 30 and October 18.

Learn more about the impact of sequestration>

drop shadow

1,200 Homes for Most Vulnerable Residents at Risk

Boiler at Northwest Tower

Age has caught up with Home Forward's 10 public housing high rises.  Between 30 and 50 years old, their heating and plumbing systems are deteriorating, they need new roofs and siding, and they would pose a significant risk in the event of a major earthquake.  The price tag to fix these issues is $80 million -- well beyond what federal public housing funding can cover.

With desirable locations in Portland's central city, the buildings are home to more than 1,300 seniors and persons with disabilities who have very low incomes and need easy access to health care and other services.

Options to let the buildings deteriorate or to sell some of them to finance repairs on others are unacceptable, said Steve Rudman, executive director.  Instead, the agency is embarking on a challenging initiative to preserve these homes and their deep affordability.  "This will be the largest and most critical preservation project in our community over the next several years," he said, "It's even more significant because we intend to pair our real estate improvements with efforts to link our residents to affordable health care and services that allow them to age in place."

Learn more about the high rise preservation initiative>

drop shadow

Kindergarten Enrollment Program Earns an A

School kids With strong evidence that kindergarten attendance is a key indicator for success later in school, Home Forward joined community efforts to promote on-time kindergarten enrollment.  The outreach took on added importance when staff research discovered children in Home Forward's programs account for seven percent of kindergartners in Multnomah County.

The first report card:  on-time enrollment jumped from 69% in 2011 to 79% in 2012 for Home Forward kids in Portland Public Schools.

Learn more about the enrollment program>
drop shadow

Two Project Milestones Bring New Homes Closer

Project Networ/Beech St. ground breaking

Construction starts on development with LifeworksNW

A sunny June groundbreaking launched the next phase of the development Home Forward is undertaking in partnership with local non-profit LifeworksNW.  Slated for completion in July 2014, the project pairs a residential substance abuse treatment facility that will be owned and operated by LifeworksNW with 32 affordable apartments that will become part of Home Forward's portfolio.  Apartment residents will live in a nurturing community that supports their recovery.

Learn more about the joint development>

All vouchers for homeless vets in use, with another 55 awarded

Thanks to a community effort dubbed Operation 305, all of Home Forward's VASH rent assistance vouchers are at work helping veterans pay their rent and the agency has just been awarded another 55, bringing the total it administers to 360.  Achieving full lease up has been challenging nationwide for the federal program that provides rent assistance and supportive services for vets who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.  Operation 305 raised flexible funds to help veterans with expenses, such as moving costs, that the program doesn't cover.

Learn more about Operation 305>

  drop shadow

© 2011 Home Forward. All rights reserved.
135 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
tel: 503-802-8300 | email: | web:
unsubscribe from this list