Oregon’s Community Action Network bids farewell to Jon Reeves

Jon Reeves was hired by Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action (MWVCAA) in 1998 to oversee the Child Care Information Services program, now called Child Care Resource & Referral.

In 2015, after 8 years as the director of MWVCAA’s Head Start program, Jon was hired as the Executive Director. 

Since 2015, the agency:

  • MWVCAA was asked to house Salem’s new youth shelter, expected to open in September 2018, and funded by United Way, Oregon Housing and Community Services and private donations.  The shelter (Taylors House) will fill regional service gaps for at-risk, homeless, runaway and street youth ages 11 – 18 years by offering around the clock holistic support to this vulnerable population at Taylor’s House.
  • Purchased a building in Salem to house the ARCHES Program, the umbrella program for housing and homeless services, including services to veterans.  In November 2018, the facility will add Marion County’s first sobering center.  The Sobering Center will provide a safe, clean and supervised space for intoxicated clients to sober, and serve as an avenue for service connection to detox and substance abuse treatment, in addition to other housing and homeless services offered through MWVCAA and other agencies.  This multi-disciplinary collaboration includes public, private and governmental investments to help relieve the financial and service pressure on our hospital and jail, pressures that have increased dramatically with the growing number of chronically homeless persons in Marion and Polk Counties.

Marion and Polk counties will miss Jon’s willingness to take on new challenges and address the difficult agency capacity issues, that made it possible for the region to experience significant new services designed to serve the most vulnerable citizens.

Jon is moving to a position in the Department of Education where, in the Early Learning Division, he will advance systems for infant and toddler programing.  We wish him well.

Jeff Sargent Steps Down as Executive Director of Yamhill Community Action Programs (YCAP)

Oregon’s Community Action network will miss Jeff Sargent, executive director of Yamhill Community Action Programs (YCAP).  Jeff served three years before stepping down at the end of June. 
 
Jeff believes that he is proudest of the work the agency has done to successfully house and support vulnerable people in Yamhill County.  Jeff said, “I would say the fact that we have been placing homeless people and families into stable homes or keeping them in their homes, and we’ve been getting more emergency food out the door to those who need it.”
 
Sargent started his job at YCAP just as the visibility of homelessness in McMinnville increased.  When leaders of McMinnville Cooperative Ministry began allowing homeless people to sleep overnight on the church grounds in the fall of 2014, more people took notice of the issue.
 
Since then, many local residents united with YCAP to find solutions to the homeless problem. “However, Jeff added, finding answers to the many questions raised by homelessness takes time.”  Jeff’s advice to Yamhill County, “Stay the course because it’s a long process.  There are no easy solutions, as communities have seen all over the country.”
 
Sargent and his wife Julia, are moving to Keizer for what he called “a sabbatical”.  They have no firm plans for what they will do afterward.  Jeff said, “I expect I will still be connected with nonprofits and social services in some form.”   
 
After selling their home, Jeff and Julia did experience what many people have discovered when looking for a place to rent.  The high housing prices in Yamhill County forced them to find a rental in Keizer.
 
The job announcement for his position at YCAP has been posted and is available on the agency website.
 
At the CAPO annual board meeting in June, the CAPO Board of Directors wished Jeff well.  He will be missed.

Published in:
Yamhill Valley News Register

Vital Repairs Help Mother, Daughter Remain in their Home

Maria no longer felt safe in her own home, where she lives with her daughter, Margarita, in rural Malheur County in eastern Oregon. Wind blew in through the cracks around the windows, and water leaked through the roof. But with her low monthly income, Maria could not afford repairs. She was stressed, unsure what to do, and imagined the house might simply fall apart around them while they slept.

A friend suggested they talk to Community in Action, and Maria learned she qualified for assistance from the nonprofit, which had recently received a Housing Preservation Grant from USDA Rural Development to expand their assistance to low-income residents to help make critical repairs to their homes. Marie was one of six residents in Malheur County to receive a grant from Community in Action supported by this USDA program to cover the costs of her home’s maintenance needs.

With this financial assistance, Maria was able to replace her windows and install a new metal roof. Then, midway through construction, the home’s sewer system backed up into the shower and sinks. She and her daughter had to use a neighbor’s bathroom, which was especially difficult for Maria, who uses a walker. When Community in Action learned of the problem, they stepped in and repaired the plumbing as well, still at no cost to the homeowner.

“Without the USDA program, I don’t know what we would have done,” said Maria. “And Community in Action was great to work with.”

The repairs are even saving her money. With the new windows providing improved weatherization, her energy bill was significantly lower this past winter.

“Now I don’t have to worry about drafts coming in all the windows,” said Maria, “and I don’t have to worry about the roof leaking.”

Maria and Margarita now feel safe in their own home. Without the constant stress of knowing the house needed repairs that were too costly, they are enjoying their daily lives again and happy to know they can stay in their home.

Submitted by:
Community in Action

KOBI TV/NBC5 and ACCESS Win Northwest Emmy for SO Close to Homeless

The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter presented KOBI TV/NBC5 the Governors Emmy Award for its 24-week series, SO Close to Homeless. The Governors Award is presented to a television station that shows a strong commitment to its designated market area beyond delivering the news.

Representing the project at the 55th Annual Norwest Regional ceremony in Seattle on June 9 were Vice President/General Manager of KOBI TV/NBC5 Bob Wise and KOBI TV/NBC5 Anchor and Reporter Natalie Weber. From ACCESS at the event was Executive Officer Pamela Norr.

The SO Close to Homeless series was produced by KOBI TV in conjunction with ACCESS. SO Close to Homeless gave viewers an in-depth look into the lives of people who are homeless, have been homeless, or who are very close to it. The personal vignettes told the stories of how (often swiftly) employment and income, health care and housing issues took people and families to the point of despair.

Norr commented on the Emmy Award saying, “This award would not have been possible without ACCESS’ amazing partnership of KOBI NBC5, 5:00 Marketing and 25 other agencies. Those organizations and the community members, our neighbors, featured in the stories, are the true ‘stars’ of this series and are the reason for this prestigious award. All deserve a standing ovation! It is an honor to collaborate building community.”

The goal of the on-air and web campaign was to educate and inform people about support programs that help individuals who are experiencing homelessness and/or poverty. The on-line component of the project received 7 million hits.

Wise commented on the award saying, “The effort Natalie Weber and our entire organization put into this series was extraordinary. Truly a collaborative undertaking. We could not be more proud of the Award, but more importantly the impact of local broadcasting informing our viewers of the issues surrounding us.”

On any given night in Jackson County, at least 732 people including children are homeless.

To learn more and to view the entire Emmy-winning SO Close to Homeless series, visit www.soclosetohomeless.org.

Sobering Center coming to serve Marion and Polk Counties

The ARCHES Project of the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, in partnership with the City of Salem, Marion County, Bridgeway Recovery, and Salem Health plan to open a sobering center as part of the Day Center renovation scheduled to be completed this fall. The Sobering Center will provide a safe, clean and supervised space for intoxicated clients to sober, and serve as an avenue for service connection to detox and substance treatment, in addition to other housing and homeless services offered through MWVCAA and other agencies. The Oregon legislature and governor’s office have provided start-up financing for the sobering center, to help relieve the financial and service pressure on our hospital and jail, pressures that have increased dramatically with the growing number of chronically homeless persons in Marion and Polk Counties. Submitted by: Community Action Agency

Mike Fieldman honored for service on HSC!

The Housing Stability Council, formerly the Oregon State Housing Council, is a nine-member body charged with regulating affordable housing in our state. The Council provides leadership and sets policy for the development and financing of housing throughout the state.

Recently, one of its long-time members, Mike Fieldman, Executive Director of United Community Action Network, reached the statutory term limit for service on the Council. At the June HSC meeting, Margaret S. presented Mr. Fieldman with an honorary plaque in recognition of his many years of service. CAPO appreciates the work of the Council and wishes to likewise extend our gratitude to Mike for his laudable contributions to the HSC.

KOBI TV/NBC5 and ACCESS Win Northwest Emmy for SO Close to Homeless

Medford, June 11, 2018

The National Academy of Televisions Arts and Sciences Northwest Chapter presented KOBI TV/NBC5 the Governors Emmy Award for its 24-week series, SO Close to Homeless. The Governors Award is presented to a television station that shows a strong commitment to its designated market area beyond delivering the news. Representing the project at the 55th Annual Norwest Regional ceremony in Seattle on June 9 were Vice President/General Manager of KOBI TV/NBC5 Bob Wise and KOBIT TV/NBC5 Anchor and Reporter Natalie Weber. From ACCESS at the event was Executive Officer Pamela Norr.

The SO Close to Homeless series was produced by KOBI TV in conjunction with ACCESS.  The goal of the on-air and web campaign was to educate and inform people in our community about support programs that help those individuals who are experiencing homelessness and/or poverty. The on-line component of the project received 7 million hits. 

Wise commented on the award saying, “The effort Natalie Weber and our entire organization put into this series was extraordinary.  Truly a collaborative undertaking. We could not be more proud of the Award, but more importantly the impact of local broadcasting informing our viewers of the issues surrounding us.”

Norr commented on the Emmy Award saying, “This award would not have been possible without ACCESS’ amazing partnership of KOBI NBC5, 5:00 Marketing and 25 other agencies. Those organizations and the community members, our neighbors, featured in the stories, are the true ‘stars’ of this series and are the reason for this prestigious award. All deserve a standing ovation! It is an honor to collaborate building community.”

On any given night in Jackson County, at least 732 people including children are homeless. To learn more and to view the entire Emmy-winning SO Close to Homeless series, visit www.soclosetohomeless.org.

ORCCA Iron Chef contest

On April 14, 2018, over 200 people attended our first Iron Chef fundraiser. Three local chefs were escorted in a limousine to the North Bend Community Center: Karen Owsley from Restaurant O, John Beane from So It Goes Coffeehouse, and Greg Marshall from Elkhorn BBQ.

Judges Clay Rasley from Canard Labs, Emily Stockland from The Waterfall Clinic, and Timm Slater from the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce along with eager community members watched carefully as the food items were revealed. Each chef was given the same ingredients, all items commonly found in a food pantry box. Chefs also had access to a shared pantry. They had to get creative as there were small quantities of many items.

Chefs were given 30 minutes for the first course and one hour for the second course. After tasting each dish, the judges scored the food on overall taste and flavor, presentation, and creativity.

In the end, Karen Owsley from Restaurant O took the title of Coos County Iron Chef. She will be back next year to defend her title!

The Coos Rhythm and Blues Quartet played music everyone loved and rocked out most of the evening.

Guests devoured the delicious appetizers from Chef Frank Murphy and the North Bend High School Blazing Bulldogs. Drinks were provided by 7 Devils Brewery, Stillwagon Distillery, Oregon Wine Cellars, Bandon Brewing, and Bandon Rain.

We had over 30 silent auction items and baskets that included things like a tuna fishing trip, a jet boat ride, a bicycle, trips, and restaurant gift certificates.

Additionally, there was a lot of press and excitement in the community about the event. We saw our Facebook engagement go through the roof with videos of the chefs. Local businesses gave so generously and also put the event on their reader boards, 300+ posters were plastered all over every town, radio giveaways and so much more.

Overall, we raised a little over $16,000. After expenses $7,000 will go to programs to support our mission. Stay tuned for Iron Chef 2019!

If you missed the action this year, check out our website for photos of the event – including the food! Find even more photos and video on our Facebook page.

Submitted by:
Oregon Coast Community Action

May 3 Forum – Dramatically Increasing Mobility from Poverty

The US Partnership on Mobility from Poverty will conclude two years of research with the release of recommendations for philanthropy and the public sector to increase mobility from poverty.

Speakers include: 

  • Elisabeth Babcock, president and CEO of Economic Mobility Pathways; 
  • Arthur Brooks, president of AEI; 
  • John Powell, director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society; and 
  • Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, among others.

The event will be held at THEARC Theater in Washington, D.C., from 8:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. EDT, and livestreamed on the Partnership’s website.

New outreach approach in Energy Assistance yields more applications, happy participants

The Energy Assistance Program (EA) team in the Clackamas County Social Services Division is constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve service for low-income Clackamas residents. One of the team’s main goals is to increase the number of program participants who enroll for services prior to receiving a utility shutoff notice. This goal has two main benefits:

  • Participants have uninterrupted heat during winter months (or cool air during extreme heat); AND
    EA can serve more residents as the cost of reconnecting service is significantly more than the average payment to maintain service.

In pursuit of this goal, the team has conducted outreach events in rural areas, distributed information through community partners, and offered monthly enrollment opportunities at state Aging & People with Disabilities offices. Newly equipped with a full-service mobile office that ensures remote access to the EA database and the ability to upload key documents, the EA team has now taken community outreach to a new level.

In December, EA began partnering with affordable housing providers to bring program information and enrollment services to low-income housing complexes. Residents can meet with EA staff, ask questions and fill out required paperwork from the comfort of their home location. If they are missing documentation, they can quickly return to their apartment to grab what they need, streamlining the participant experience.

In addition to being convenient for the program participant, this approach allows EA to more effectively reach target populations, such as low-income older adults who traditionally have not used EA services because of misconceptions about the program. It also enables the team to reach participants before they are in an energy crisis, thus supporting the program goals. And it has facilitated to more low-key, friendly interaction between staff and participants and increased overall satisfaction for all involved.

“I have to tell you, you guys ROCK!!! I know that sounds funny, but it is the truth. My residents have been very grateful for the assistance they have been receiving. I have heard several make comments about how they can use their heaters now and they can do a little bit of baking. They are grateful for this service,” wrote Marie Alaniz, resident service coordinator with Northwest Housing Alternatives.

In the first three months of implementation, the new approach has yielded more than 250 applications, about 20% of which are from households who are new to the program.