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.

Nonprofit Organizations: Did you know about No-Cost Governance Assessments by UO Nonprofit Clinic?

The University of Oregon Nonprofit Clinic provides a free governance assessment to Oregon nonprofits (budget size $50k to $3m). Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with assessments conducted January through April each year. Participating Nonprofits are assigned an interdisciplinary team of graduate students drawn from the U of O’s School of Law, the Nonprofit Management Program, the Business School and the Master’s Degree Program in Conflict and Dispute Resolution (CRES). An experienced consultant assists the team. The Nonprofit Clinic provides tailored assessments, intended to assist Oregon Nonprofits’ Boards of Directors in identifying strengths, needs for growth and educating them about best practices. A written report, guidance on how to accomplish suggested changes and a detailed resource packet to help with implementation of recommendations is included. The Clinic also proves a valuable legal compliance check, including review of the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws. For more information, visit https://law.uoregon.edu/explore/bizlaw-nonprofit-assessment

Jackson County Emergency Housing/Shelter Contact Info

  • Medford Gospel Mission
    Mens Shelter (men only)- 541-779-1597
    125 W. Jackson St. Medford, OR 97501
  • Womens Shelter (women and children)- 541-772-2931
    534 N. Bartlett Ave. Medford, OR 97501
  • Rogue Retreat
    Kelly Shelter (Transitional Warming Shelter Medford, Oregon) 541-499-0880
    1410 W 8th St, Medford, OR 97501
  • Hope Village (Tiny Home Homeless Community) 541-499-0880
    1410 W 8th St, Medford, OR 97501
  • St. Vincent DePaul
    Family Shelter (limited capacity)- 541-772-8163
    2424 N. Pacific Hwy. Medford, OR 97501
  • Community Works
    Dunn House (Domestic Violence Shelter)- 541-779-4357
    Must call- address not listed for safety purposes
  • Salvation Army
    Hope House (Transitional Shelter and Housing)- 541-773-7005
    1065 Crews Rd. Medford, OR 97501
  • Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland
    Ashland Warming Shelters (Sunday through Thursday Nights)- (541) 631-2235
    611 Siskiyou Blvd #4 Ashland, Oregon 97520
  • Maslow Project
    Day Shelter (for youth and families with children)- (541) 608-6868

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:

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.