Linda and Jim

Linda and Jim are two elderly clients of Community Action of Washington County (CAO) who were in need of weatherization assistance. Jim is severely impacted with health problems and must use a feeding tube directly into his stomach.

Linda and Jim’s furnace had been non-functional for 15 years, so they had been using a wood stove to heat their mobile home for over a decade. Using a wood stove was unsustainable due to Jim’s respiratory issues, leading them to start using space heaters. However, they couldn’t evenly heat their whole home due breaker problems. Before receiving assistance from CAO, their home was very drafty and had several critical weatherization issues.

CAO worked with contractors to do several upgrades. They added insulation into the ceiling and floor, installed a new kitchen fan, and replaced single pane metal windows with double pane vinyl windows. The project had many successful weatherization impacts including:

  • A five-fold reduction in duct leakage
  • A nearly three-fold reduction in air infiltration
  • Installation of a new heat pump furnace (Linda stated that it had NEVER been this warm in their mobile home, even when they purchased it 33 years ago. Additionally, the air conditioning was great during the heat and really helped Jim’s quality of life).

Linda said she is THRILLED with Community Action’s program and that it FAR exceeded her expectations. She said, “I can’t say how much this program has meant to us. I never dreamed that we would get so much. I LOVE our new windows and the fact that we have even heat throughout the entire home. I don’t have to go warm up the bathroom with a space heater for Jim and then worry about him getting cold when he comes out.”

Linda and Jim are not done with their upgrades yet! They are working with CAO partner Washington County to install a wheelchair ramp and grab bars near their bathtub.

Submitted by Community Action of Washington County

Mr. Arthur

CAPO’s Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) in Klamath Falls works with many local military service clubs, nonprofit organizations, and businesses. With this overwhelming support in Klamath and Lake Counties, we serve the local homeless veteran population with an all-encompassing hometown approach, using the Rapid Resolution Program method.

This strong support yields success. Mr. Arthur*, a veteran experiencing homelessness, was having ongoing medical and financial issues. He previously received services through SSVF and was a mutual client of our partner, the OHSU Interprofessional Care Access Network (I-CAN) Program. It was decided that moving back to reunite with his family support network would be the best solution for Mr. Arthur. Now the challenge was finding the financial support needed for his move. And that’s where our support network comes in.

Around this time, the CAPO SSVF team was hosting an open house to showcase its new office space. With a number of community partners attending, we were able to share Mr. Arthur’s need with key partners who immediately pledged support. Within 11 days of the open house, we had secured:

  • $353 for Mr. Arthur’s Amtrak ticket from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Lead Service Officer Brigitte Marker and Ray Ramirez, Commander of the local DAV chapter. (Mr. Ramirez is also Homeless Prevention Case Manager for our Klamath Falls SSVF).
  • $250 for the shipment of Mr. Arthur’s personal items from the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association Oregon Chapter 29-6 thanks to Commander, James Lindsey who called a Command Executive Board meeting over the phone to authorize assistance for Mr. Arthur. In addition, Combat Vets Treasurer Shorty Ogdon-Moles met with Mr. Arthur at a UPS store to ship his personal items.
  • $130 for meals and incidentals from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Commander Karen Johnson, Senior Vice Commander Noko Herrera, and Quartermaster Duane Whitehead.

Mr. Arthur has now safely returned to his family, thanks to the swift and generous support of our partners. Thank you to all the organizations that partner with us to support our veterans and our programs, including DAV, VFW, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, Marine Corps League, The American Legion, the VA Community Based Outreach Center, Klamath County Veteran Service Office, Lake County Veterans Service Office, Senior Center, WorkSource, Goodwill Inc., Klamath Housing Authority, Legacy Furniture, Klamath and Lake Community Action Services (KLCAS), Big Lots, local hotels, and several other community donors.

Strong community connections in Klamath Falls demonstrates what can happen when we pull together for one common goal to end veteran homelessness. Noko Herrera, Ray Ramirez and Savannah Hardy, the CAPO SSVF team, are always ready to take action to assist some of our most vulnerable veterans in Klamath Falls.

*Pseudonym used to maintain client’s anonymity.

Community Action National Impact Report

Our colleagues at the National Community Action Partnership published their national impact report earlier this year. Community Action National Impact Report: Building Opportunity for All is a comprehensive look at the impact of the work done by our Community Action agencies throughout the nation.

Additionally, released this month is a one-pager summarizing the most notable findings from the report. This abbreviated version is a great way to share the work Community Action does and show the tangible impact of the services you provide.

You can order copies of both the full impact report and/or the one-pager by using this form. These and other materials can be found on the NCAP website.

Local Students Complete Class Requirements, Perform Community Service by Volunteering with ACCESS

Senior projects, college internships, community service hours, and more

In the spring of 2017, Crater High School student Andrew Morris was looking for a senior project that would help people in his community. He was already volunteering once a week at ACCESS in the Durable Medical Equipment department when he contacted ACCESS Volunteer Specialist Chris Kline to learn about other opportunities.

Pictured: The Pig Pals 4-H crew who recently helped repack food boxes in the ACCESS warehouse to help feed the hungry in Jackson County.

Kline connected Morris with ACCESS’ Nutrition department and together they organized a significant fresh produce distribution to the West Main Church of Christ in Medford.

“It was exactly what I was looking for,” says Morris. “It met all the parameters of my senior project and it was fun, too. I learned a lot.”

Students of all ages have found ways to meet class requirements at ACCESS, even if they only need a couple of hours. In December, 11 students from South Medford High School’s Interact Club volunteered to accept donations and pass out candy canes during the annual Greystone Court Holiday Food Drive. Internships are occasionally available for college students as well.

“One of the strengths of our volunteer program is the variety of opportunities,” says Kline. “Along with our food pantry partners and community gardens, we often have canned food drives, warehouse repacks and annual events on-site and off. Often it’s just a matter of matching up someone’s availability with the needs that we have.”

To volunteer with ACCESS or to learn more, call (541) 774-4315 or email

Submitted by ACCESS

ACCESS and Community Partners Join Forces with Local Law Enforcement to Address Homelessness

When I think of community partners, I frequently think of other nonprofit Community Action agencies that I work with on a daily basis, whether I am referring participants to them or they are referring participants to ACCESS. I have, for the most part, not thought of our local police departments as a community partner in the same way as ACCESS, RVVCO, Easterseals, and others. After some consideration, I realize that this is wrong thinking on my part.

Every month, the Medford and Central Point Police Departments, the Jackson County Sheriff Department and Adult Probation and Parole conduct a Greenway Sweep to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the greenway in Jackson County. It is a safety concern for the residents and the people who are sleeping along the greenway. As an ACCESS/SSVF (Supportive Services for Veterans and their Families) employee, I have been going along on these sweeps for several months; I admire the consideration, the compassion, and the understanding these officers show as they conduct their sweep.

Our local police and law enforcement departments are acutely and painfully aware of the fact that the community members they must ticket for trespassing along the greenway, for the most part, have no other place to go. So, to encourage the individuals they ticket to seek help and assistance from community partners, the police department:

  1. Puts out the word to local Community Action agencies that they can come along on these monthly sweeps to offer their services to those trespassing on the greenway.
  2. Discards the ticket if the person receiving the tickets reaches out for services. The service provider contacts the lead police officer for the sweep to let the officer know that person is seeking services.

The willingness of local law enforcement agencies to think outside of the box in serving our community, helps ACCESS and our community partners to lead people experiencing homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Submitted by Kevin Knapp

MWVCAA Gets Salem Residents Out of the Cold

Intersectional Collaboration of Partners Is Saving Lives through Salem Warming Network Warming Centers

Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, in collaboration with area services, is dedicated to saving lives this winter season through the activation of warming centers. This initiative is produced via the Salem Warming Network. Centers are open to anyone who is homeless and housing unstable, including their pets.

The network is comprised of three fixed sites. Salem First Presbyterian Church is the primary location: opening each activation due to its proximity to the downtown core. Two auxiliary sites, Church at the Park and South Salem Friends Church, serve as other home bases for guests. Currently, the network capacity can support 189 guests and has the ability to transport free of charge.

Each of the Warming Centers offer hot beverages, a comfortable mat, and a blanket. This year, the activation range changed from 27 degrees to 32 degrees following input from volunteers and the community; this change has received positive responses and helps further the networks mission: to save lives.

So far this Warming Season, which spans from November 1-March 31, the Network has:

  • activated 14 nights,
  • serving 811 guests,
  • with the support of 102 volunteers
  • giving a total of 1,540 hours.

The Salem community has continued to support warming efforts by donating tea and coffee, hundreds of knitted scarves and hats, and socks for guests. To improve accessibility, a Warming Center Information Line has been created. The voicemail is updated daily with the status of the warming center and open locations.

This Warming Center Network is truly a working collaborative between entities and is a prime representation of a multifaceted service delivery model. The City of Salem supports the Warming Network by providing funds to reimburse sites for utility costs incurred by hosting a warming center; with further support provided by the city’s Fire Marshalls to help improve site capacity and safety. Congregations Helping People helps facilitate these reimbursements.

Additional partnerships with Willamette Valley Yellow Cab and Cherriots (city bus) help the network by offering free transportation to guests accessing Warming Centers. It is this transportation to/from unsheltered camps, and between sites, that helps eliminate barriers to accessing warming services. For families who visit warming centers, Family Promise has committed to offer alternate sheltering services.

Lastly, Willamette Valley Humane Society provided 18 kennels in order to help house pets who access sites with their owners.

Breaking Ground – 18th Street Development

On October 11, Community Action Team, Inc. (CAT) in St. Helens hosted a gathering of local and state officials, planners, project funders, building professionals, and interested citizens to celebrate the ground breaking of the new 18th Street Development, a 16-unit multifamily affordable housing complex.

This long-awaited and now imminent housing solution will take shape on a small tract of land along 18th Street between Columbia Blvd. and St. Helens Street in St. Helens.

Margaret Salazar, Director, Oregon Housing and Community Services; Senator Betsy Johnson; Joanne Sheehy, Oregon Housing and Community Services; Dan Brown, Executive Director, Community Action Team, Inc.; Nina Reed, President, Self-Help, Inc.

Owned and donated to the project by Columbia County Self-Help, Inc., the property is set to emerge as the address of sixteen 400-square-foot units, each tagged at a little over $100,000 for a total project cost of $1.633 million.

Self-Help, Inc. President, Nina Reed says that, while small in size, this number of available units will chip away at a big problem in Columbia County.

CAT Executive Director Dan Brown’s pointed remarks from the podium summed up the area’s present condition. “A recently completed housing study identified only 1,200 units of low-income affordable housing in Columbia County. The same study documented the current demand for an additional 1,900. That’s 1,900 more units required TODAY just to respond to the immediate needs of our most vulnerable population. That’s 160% more affordable units than are available right now in Columbia County.”

In 2016, former CAT director, Jim Tierney, submitted the funding application for 18th Street Development to Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). Once on the drawing board, the collaborative efforts of key local and state individuals and entities advanced the project through the planning stages to its now near launch. A special thanks goes to HomeFirst Development (Fairview, OR), whose vision is to help mission-driven organizations build quality, affordable housing.

Rich & Ellen Bailey, Rich Bailey Construction; Robert Justus, Principal, HomeFirst Development; Ben Pray, Principal, HomeFirst Development; Tony Jones, Project Manager, HomeFirst Development; & Doug Circosta, Architect, HomeFirst Development.

The first deposit in CAT’s 18th Street Development kitty came from Oregon Housing and Community Services’ LIFT fund (Local Innovation and Fast Track) in the amount of $608,000. A year later, Wauna Credit Union came through with a lending finance package that added $675,000 to the purse. Unfortunately, construction costs rose by $350,000 during that waiting period. Thanks to eleventh-hour intervention by State Senator Betsy Johnson and OHCS Director, Margaret Salazar, a grant from OHCS’s Mental Health Housing Fund came through to make up the difference.

The development is slated to be completed by June 2019, and fully occupied by August 2019.

Submitted by:
Community Action Team

Weatherization Day at the Capitol

We celebrated Weatherization Day, and were joined by James LaBar from the Governor’s Office.  Randy Olson, Jessi Adams and Rogelio Cortes, represented the Community Action network’s weatherization and energy programs by educating Housing Stability Council members on how weatherizing homes improves the health and safety of families, reduces energy bills and preserves affordable housing stock.

Thank you Community Action for your hard work and commitment to improving the lives of low-income families in Oregon.

From left to right: Kurt Pugh, OHCS, Jessi Adams, CAO, Rogelio Cortes, Mid-Willamette, Randy Olson, CAO, Janet Merrell, CAPO, Dan Elliott, OHCS, James LaBar, Governor’s Office, Michael Figueredo, OHCS, Anna Geller, Housing Stability Councilperson, Sarah Mentzer, OHCS, Val Valfre, Chair, Housing Stability Council, Mary Li, Housing Stability Councilperson, Zee Koza, Housing Stability Councilperson, Claire Seguin, Deputy Director, Housing Stabilization, OHCS, Margaret Salazar, Director, OHCS

NeighborImpact launches the Principal Reduction Program for low income homeowners

CAPO member organization, NeighborImpact, is promoting a new program for low income folks in the central part of our state. The program, known as the Principal Reduction Program, helps low-income households by lowering their mortgage payments through a combination of principal reduction and refinancing. For eligible families, the program will pay down the principal of their mortgage by up to $50,000, which reduces their monthly payment making it more affordable to stay in their homes.

The program serves veterans, seniors, and people with disabilities on fixed incomes of no more than 125% of state median income. News channel 21 in Bend did a story profiling the first family to be helped by the PRP.

Applications for the PRP may be submitted through the Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Initiative (OHSI) website.

NeighborImpact’s HomeSource also runs an array of other homeowner assistance services in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties, including financial and energy conservation workshops, homeowner coaching, weatherization grants, and more. Visit their website for more information.

Construction Begins on UCAN’s New Roseburg Head Start Building

In late July, ground was broken for a new UCAN Head Start Center that will serve children from throughout Douglas County. The 11,800 square-foot facility will feature seven classrooms, a family service room, a health screening room, and a natural play area. The building will be located adjacent to UCAN’s primary Douglas County service center and will be serviced by UCAN’s own fleet of UTrans buses. The location and access by public transit will make it much easier for families of young children and pregnant women served in Early Head Start/Head Start to obtain wrap-around services best meeting their needs. Up to 280 children can receive services on any given day at the new Center.

UCAN began raising funds for the Center in 2015. After The Ford Family Foundation generously offered to match local donations 3:1 for an amount of up to $1.25 million dollars, community donors and local foundations came together to provide more than the amount needed to raise Ford’s maximum grant amount. The Meyer Memorial Trust and The Collins Foundation provided additional, substantial grant funding. The City of Roseburg successfully obtained $1.5 million in CDBG funds from Oregon’s Infrastructure Finance Authority on behalf of the project and is working closely with UCAN to support development of the Center.

For decades, UCAN has had to move its classrooms from one leased location to another, each time causing great disruption to families and staff. Moves have been expensive, costing anywhere between $50,000 to $150,000. The new Center, which should be completed in Spring of 2019, will provide a permanent home for Head Start and Early Head Start services beginning in the Fall of 2019. Michael Fieldman, UCAN’s Executive Director, states: “Eventually, we want to make this an early childhood service center, as we have a variety of programs that serve early childhood families.” As he points out, families with young children will further benefit from having these programs provided on Roseburg’s nonprofit campus, which also houses the Family Development Center (a local relief nursery), the Umpqua Community Health Clinic, and the Fish Pantry.

Submitted by: