New Veterans Housing Project

The Klamath Housing Authority (KHA) has announced a new veterans housing project on East Main Street after securing a $2 million grant from the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department. Titled Liberty Park Village, the development would create eight housing units for homeless veterans, as well as provide access to rehabilitation services. Diana Otero, KHA executive director, said she learned the grant had been awarded Friday. Plans are now underway to begin construction by July or August. “There’s some preliminary work that still has to be done,” said Otero. She said KHA plans to purchase the former KDKF television station building on the 200 block of East Main Street for the project. The property is currently owned by Chambers Communications Corp., of Eugene, the license holder for KDKF, a satellite station for KDRV, out of Medford. The building is occupied by Mentor Oregon, which recently vacated their previous facility on Vine Avenue. A representative for the group said they are aware of plans to sell the building and are prepared to move out in July. Otero said they have budgeted $1.2 million to renovate the building and construction will take around six months to complete. She said the remainder of the grant will be used to purchase the property, valued in tax records at $168,210, and to hire employees to help with resident rehabilitation. Otero said the grant is expected to cover the entire project without matching funds from KHA. She said this will allow for low rental rates because KHA does not need to pay off any loans on the facility. Liberty Park Village will likely be managed by staff at Liberty Commons, a separate KHA facility less than a mile up the road. Liberty Commons was completed in 2016 using another $2 million grant from the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department. Outside of Liberty Park Village, KHA is continuing to work on Sky Meadows, a 32-unit complex on Homedale Road. Otero said their success with such housing projects helps lessen the burden on the local rental market. “Any housing that I get, it’s a win for the whole community,” she said.

Bringing awareness of the Earned Income Tax Credit

No one wants to leave their earned money on the government table and not have it in their own pocket. And yet that is what is happening when eligible individuals and families are not claiming their Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). In Oregon alone, $130 million is left unclaimed yearly. These are dollars that could have a substantial impact in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. The UCAN RSVP and AARP Tax Aide programs in Douglas and Josephine County are focused on securing EITC dollars for those who are eligible.

In partnership with The Ford Family Foundation and AARP Foundation, the initial project began in February 2017 to increase awareness by providing educational fliers (from IRS EITC education site) and distributing them to 35 local food pantries and 12 community kitchens.

At the end of last year’s tax season, the programs saw $1,087,910 total EITC dollars distributed to their eligible clients. The average EITC payment was $1,444.50. The average Annual Gross Income (AGI) of the clients served was $24,662.67; a family of four at that income is considered living below the poverty level. By those numbers, the average EITC payment is like a 6% bonus.

Though it is hard to determine the direct correlation the education and the results of the AARP Tax Aid data from last year, continued focus with our partners has allowed for a new collaboration with AmeriCorps. In September 2017, an AmeriCorps member began service in Josephine County under the RSVP Program with a work plan and focus for outreach and education in the county regarding EITC and how to determine eligibility. This will help families and individuals who file their own taxes (or use preparers other than RSVP/AARP) understand if they are eligible and how to claim their EITC payment.

AmeriCorps member, Janet Keller, has been developing partnerships with business owners in the community to educate the target audience: people that are aged 24-years and are earning less than $35,000 a year. Janet is able to give employees an estimation of their potential EITC refund and educate them on how to schedule an appointment for free tax help.

UCAN, The Ford Family Foundation, RSVP, AmeriCorps, and AARP TAX Aide are all working together so that less earned money is left on the government table and distributed to the hard-working Oregonians.

Submitted by:
UCAN

ACCESS Opens an Affordable Housing Complex for Veterans

Victory Place located at 510 N. Front Street in Medford.

Seventeen Veterans are out of the cold, just in time for Christmas, thanks to a new housing development in Medford. On December 15, ACCESS opened their latest housing development (their 17th development), Victory Place, a 17-unit affordable Housing complex for Veterans. Victory Place (pictured right) is made up of nine studios and eight one-bedroom apartments. The complex was developed by ACCESS, but is privately owned by Fred Herrmann of Commercial Counsel, Inc.

This project originated in 2015 when Mr. Herrmann approached ACCESS about helping him develop the property for Veteran housing. “Veterans are the backbone of this country, and this is a good way for us to give something back to them,” says Mr. Herrmann.

This project was made possible thanks to a $1.96 million-dollar grant from Oregon Housing and Community Services to ACCESS allowing the organization to provide housing assistance to Veterans. All residents will also have support of much needed resources provided through case management and/or referral services by ACCESS’ Support Services for Veteran Families program or other Veteran programs.

You’re Invited – Fundraising & Financial Management Workshop hosted by Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente would like to invite your organization to attend a Learning Workshop.

As a part of Kaiser Permanente’s committed focus on Capacity Building for non-profit organizations like yours we are partnering with the Non-Profit Association of Oregon to provide two learning sessions.

We are proud to host Author Andy Robinson, a national trainer in the areas of Fundraising & Finance.

We hope you can join us for a day of learning!!

Event Details:

Date: Monday, December 4, 2017
Time: 8:30 am. – 4:00 pm. (Continental breakfast and lunch provided)
Location: Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill

The Dye House
1313 Mill Street SE
Salem, OR 97301

Title: Fundraising and Financial Management for Nonprofits
Presenter: Andy Robinson, National Trainer & Consultant
To Register: https://nonprofitoregon.org/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=2960 (no cost to attend)

Workshop Description

Morning Session: 9 am. – Noon
Big Money for Small Groups

80% of charitable funds come from individual donors, not foundations or corporations. Learn to build a fundraising program that honors your mission, engages potential donors, and raises more money.

Where money comes from:

  • Building a diverse funding base
  • The basic principles of fundraising
  • Identifying prospective donors
  • “The ask” — face-to-face solicitation
  • Ranking the effectiveness of different fundraising strategies

(BREAK – Lunch will be provided)

Afternoon Session: 1 – 4 p.m.
What Every Board Member Should Know About Financial Management … And Probably Doesn’t

With the possible exception of “How do I avoid fundraising?” a board member’s most commonly unasked question is, “What do all these numbers mean – and what am I supposed to do with them?” This workshop is designed to help trustees (plus staff and volunteers) get over their financial phobia — with clarity, humor, and few unexpected metaphors. We’ll discuss:

    • Five things you should know about your nonprofits finances — without looking at a spreadsheet
    • Creating a one page financial dashboard to simplify board oversight
    • Managing financial risks
    • Training board members to be financially literate and engaged

About the Presenter
Andy Robinson, National Trainer & Consultant

Andy Robinson (www.andyrobinsononline.com) provides training and consulting for nonprofits in fundraising, board development, marketing, earned income, planning, leadership development, facilitation, and train-the-trainer programs. He specializes in the needs of organizations working for human rights, social justice, artistic expression, environmental conservation, and community development.

Over the past 22 years, Andy has worked with organizations in 47 U.S. states and Canada. Recent clients include the Association of Fundraising Professionals, National Main Street Center, American Rivers, the Land Trust Alliance, and many, many local organizations.

Andy is the author of six books, including Train Your Board (and Everyone Else) to Raise Money, www.trainyourboard.com. His latest is What Every Board Member Needs to Know, Do, and Avoid.

When he’s not on the road, he lives in Plainfield, Vermont.

We have limited space and can allow up to two people per organization. Please RSVP to reserve your seat!!

Empty Bowls

As the holidays approach, those of us in Community Action service see the escalating impact of poverty in people’s lives. It’s colder outside. Bills are higher and food, as a less costly and more mutable expense, is often the need that gets ambushed in the process.

That is why Empty Bowls Projects in food banks across the country are so important. Not only do they generate resources for the food bank, they also help generate community conversations around the topics of hunger and food insecurity.

This past month, UCAN held its first annual Empty Bowls Project Dinner event. Our staff and volunteers were very pleased with the event and its outcomes. Over 120 people attended, more than 50 bowl makers participated, 12 restaurants prepared soups and breads, and those joining in enjoyed the dinner.

More than $3,500 in funds were raised. And further – and perhaps more importantly – the on-going issue of food insecurity is now more prevalently discussed than prior to the dinner. Next year’s event is already being planned for October 15, 2018, which is the evening before World Food Day.

Leadership Lunch Focuses on Affordable Housing

On October 12, 2017, over 270 leaders from Washington County and the surrounding region convened for an important conversation on affordable housing at our Leadership Lunch. These generous supporters came together, giving over $64,000 to help Community Action deliver hope, help, and change to families across Washington County. Attendees also heard from top business leaders about what affordable housing is, why it matters to our community, and what leaders in the private sector can do to help address this challenge.

Roy Kim, Owner of Central Bethany Development, spoke about the importance of partnership in addressing the affordable housing need, and how Community Action helps him understand the perspective of those in need of affordable housing. [CLICK TO WATCH ROY KIM]

Sarah Joannides, Director of Social Responsibility at New Seasons Market, shared how the proximity of affordable housing to the workplace impacts their workforce. As one of the largest employers in the state, this issue has become a top priority for their business and has influenced the company’s role as an advocate promoting affordable housing. [CLICK TO WATCH SARAH JOANNIDES]

Caroline Roper, a client of Community Action, rounded out our speakers by sharing her own story of transformation thanks to the support she received from Community Action helping her find affordable housing. When she was able to stabilize her home, she was able to create stability in other areas of her life, to the benefit of both her and her children. [CLICK TO WATCH CAROLINE ROPER]

Our deepest thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Tuality Healthcare, our additional sponsors and table hosts, and all of our guests for making the Leadership Lunch a tremendous success.

Leadership Lunch Focuses on Affordable Housing

On October 12, 2017, over 270 leaders from Washington County and the surrounding region convened for an important conversation on affordable housing at our Leadership Lunch. These generous supporters came together, giving over $64,000 to help Community Action deliver hope, help, and change to families across Washington County. Attendees also heard from top business leaders about what affordable housing is, why it matters to our community, and what leaders in the private sector can do to help address this challenge. Roy Kim, Owner of Central Bethany Development, spoke about the importance of partnership in addressing the affordable housing need, and how Community Action helps him understand the perspective of those in need of affordable housing. [CLICK TO WATCH ROY KIM] Sarah Joannides, Director of Social Responsibility at New Seasons Market, shared how the proximity of affordable housing to the workplace impacts their workforce. As one of the largest employers in the state, this issue has become a top priority for their business and has influenced the company’s role as an advocate promoting affordable housing. [CLICK TO WATCH SARAH JOANNIDES] Caroline Roper, a client of Community Action, rounded out our speakers by sharing her own story of transformation thanks to the support she received from Community Action helping her find affordable housing. When she was able to stabilize her home, she was able to create stability in other areas of her life, to the benefit of both her and her children. [CLICK TO WATCH CAROLINE ROPER] Our deepest thanks to our Presenting Sponsor, Tuality Healthcare, our additional sponsors and table hosts, and all of our guests for making the Leadership Lunch a tremendous success.

Head Start Rally in Washington DC Draws Enormous Crowd

Near the steps of the Capitol on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, hundreds of people gathered for the “Families Unite for Head Start Spirit Rally.” Many were parents or Head Start employees who came from all over the United States, including California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, New York, and elsewhere. Virtually every state in the Union was represented.

The National Head Start Association organized the rally and set up 300 visits to congressional leaders later that day with the goal of encouraging lawmakers to increase funding for Head Start programs.
Several house representatives and a U.S. senator were on hand to speak, including U.S. Rep. Charlie Christ (D-FL) and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Their powerful speeches excited the enthusiastic crowd.

Sen. Jeff Merkley speaks to head start rallySenator Merkley talked about the importance of fighting for expansion of funding. “Just a week ago there was a bill on the senate floor to increase military spending by 80 billion dollars,” he said. “What would be the impact to Head Start and Early Head Start if we increased funding by a few billion dollars?” Senator Merkley then asked the crowd to think of all the returns that would come back to society if the nation invested in helping all children thrive and succeed. He said, “Generations to come would feel the positive effects.” (video below)

Lawmakers weren’t the only ones taking the stage to energize the crowd, numerous Head Start parents spoke as well. Hector Banuelos from Los Angeles (a father of six) told a heartwarming story about how Head Start made a positive difference in his life and the life of his children. Banuelos admitted that he was ill-prepared to be a parent, but Head Start gave him the tools needed to flourish. “If you are a parent,” said Banuelos, “and you take advantage of every program they have, you will become a successful parent.” Banuelos also said, “Before you can take care of others, you have to take care of yourself first.”

That is a concept that Head Start believes in. And they are committed to their work, giving every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, an opportunity to succeed in school and in life. In the 50 years since its inception, Head Start has improved the lives of more than 32 million children and families. The Community Action Partnership stands proudly beside them in support of everything they do.

View the CAP press release.

$350,000 Immediately Available to Help Homeless Veterans

SALEM, OR – Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) in partnership with the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is pleased to announce the release of $350,000 in resources to provide immediate assistance for Oregon’s homeless veterans. Governor Kate Brown is leading the effort to end veteran homelessness in Oregon, and these funds will be implemented by Community Action Agency partners across the state and delivered through the Veterans Emergency Housing Assistance program administered by OHCS.

“Every veteran in Oregon deserves safe and stable housing,” Governor Brown said. “I’m proud of the progress we’re making to ensure every veteran has a roof over his or her head, and this dedicated funding takes us another step closer toward ending veterans homelessness in Oregon.

“We’re excited about our partnership with the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs as we work together to end veteran homelessness in Oregon” said Margaret Salazar, Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services.  “Our veterans have bravely served our country and we owe it to them to ensure that they have a safe and stable place to call home.”

The most recent homeless Point-in-Time count found the number of homeless veterans in Oregon has declined by 121 people, which is a decrease of 9% from 2015. Significant attention and resources, particularly from local governments, have been focused towards housing Oregon’s homeless veterans and these numbers indicate progress is being made. However, there is still work to do; the 2017 Point-in-Time count found 1,251 veterans are still homeless in Oregon. With the additional $350,000, we expect to provide even more homeless veterans with housing opportunity and see veteran homeless rates continue to drop.

“In the last few years, we  have made great progress in reducing the number of homeless veterans, but we still have a long way to go to meet our goal of ending veteran homelessness in our state,” said Cameron Smith, director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs. “This funding is essential as we continue to work to address the housing needs of all of Oregon’s veterans and their families.”

Funding for this program is part of a swath of new and expanded veteran services made possible through the allocation of 1.5 percent of net Lottery revenues, which Oregon voters approved by an overwhelming margin in 2016 (as Measure 96).

UCAN AmeriCorps Team Ramps up for the 2017/18 Service Year

New member orientation on August 30 for United Communities AmeriCorps, a program of the United Community Action Network (UCAN), was a dynamic mix of learning about the history of national service, civic engagement, and active citizenship, as well as team-building for strong future ties among members. There are 19 members in our service area, with 14 being new this year and 5 returning from last year.

Jordan Jungwirth, the AmeriCorps Program Manager here at UCAN, feels “hopeful and inspired. Each year the team brings passion, excitement, and energy and this year is no exception. At orientation, our members opened up with one another to share their commitment to their projects and their reasoning behind joining a year of national service. The agencies in which they work are very thankful.”

Members came from as far away as Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, and Colorado to focus their time and attention on promoting education, economic opportunity, and healthy futures in the communities in which they serve. They will be working in programs such as the Douglas County Partnership for Student Success, the Elkton Community Education Center (where the butterfly garden is located!), Coos Watershed Association, the UCAN Food Bank, the Early College Program at Phoenix Charter School, and many more.

“We couldn’t be prouder of AmeriCorps members serving in our communities,” said Jungwirth.

Submitted by UCAN