Sep 22, 2015|
AN INTERVIEW WITH JEAN DEMASTER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WITH HUMAN SOLUTIONS AND DAVID SNODGRASS, PRESIDENT OF DENNIS’ 7 DEE’S, ABOUT THE WORK HUMAN SOLUTIONS DOES TO HELP HOMELESS FAMILIES AND THE GENEROUS DONATIONS THEY RECEIVE FROM DENNIS’ 7 DEES.
AN INTERVIEW WITH REBECCA BROWN WITH COMCAST AND TINISHA WILLIAMS, A CUSTOMER, ABOUT INTERNET ESSENTIALS, A SERVICE THAT HELPS PROVIDE INTERNET ACCESS AND LOW COST COMPUTERS TO PEOPLE IN NEED.
AN INTERVIEW WITH DENNISE KOWALCZYK WITH KINSHIP HOUSE AND DERENDA SCHUBERT WITH BRIDGE MEADOWS ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO WITH FOSTER CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.
AN INTERVIEW WITH BILL RUSSELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UNION GOSPEL MISSION PORTLAND ABOUT THE WORK THEY DO WITH HOMELESSNESS AND THEIR HOLIDAY OFFERINGS AT THE MISSION.
AN INTERVIEW WITH KEN MADDEN, VP OF SALES AND MARKETING FOR MADDEN INDUSTRIAL ABOUT THEIR RECRUITING EFFORTS WITH THE MILITARY COMMUNITY AND THEIR SUPPORT OF THE MILITARY HELPLINE.
Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
This is microscope and Entercom radio Portland public affairs program. I'm your blocks them in this time on the show we're going to be talking about human solutions human solutions is an organization that works and east Portland and east Multnomah County in some of the highest poverty neighborhoods in our area for the plunging to master executive director with human solutions and David sawgrass president and co owner of Dennis the seventies to microscope. Hello there welcome to the show thank you for joining us so let's concern Jeanne let's let everybody know what what is human solutions. He was solutions is an agency that serves homeless and low income people in east Portman and it is small Makoni. And assist people to overcome because being homeless and trying to help people get out of poverty to be able to live full self sufficient lives. And you've been working with human solutions for that I've been there for almost thirteen years. And what have you seen over those years. What we've seen is first of all an increase in the number of homeless families. When I started almost thirteen years ago that there were almost Emmons who are always serving homeless families but the number has increased dramatically. We also seeing just a number of many more are families that are unable to pay their rent their living from paycheck to paycheck. They have real financial insecurity that affects their health and affects their kids being able to. Go to schools that participate in activities because the families tend to move around a lot because of lack of income. Susie more homeless families as opposed to homeless individuals took. We're seeing many more homeless families on in eastbourne and we're also seeing a lot more homeless individuals on you certainly see them at every freeway on entrance or exit. And then immigration area there's a spring water trail and there are many homeless single adults on the spring water trail. And why do you suppose there are more homeless people. Particularly for families on the issues really economics that people came here for jobs and then plants closed down. On we also seek to see people who were working forty hours a week maybe it minimum wager a little higher but then they had their hours cut so instead of getting a paycheck for forty hours a week. They know paycheck for thirty hours a week. And their benefits are no longer paid so the dollars that they receive for working just don't go as far. And they don't have enough money for the rent if anything else happens if a child has an emergency. Medical emergency that money goes through the medicine instead of for the rent or if the car breaks down. You have to fix the car seat can get to work with and you don't have enough money for the red so we're seeing a lot of people with a much more economic instability. And on trying to make ends meet but really just not able to because they don't have enough money. The economy's kind of turning around especially that seems to be on the on the coast areas that the economy's turning around because at. Helping I think the economy and it it does turn around and it turns around for the very wealthy first and then for the middle income people and very slowly for low income people. There always the first to suffer the effects of the recession but always the last to recover. Because they have the jobs that pay the worst and as people get forced out of higher paying jobs. They tick lower paying jobs and that forces the people that we serve. Into unemployment or underemployment so coming back is much harder for them it happens to them first but become that much more slowly file a vicious cycle. It is a vicious cycle and is demoralizing to people people who are working. Very hard working it to John to try and make ends meet and still don't have enough money to pay rent it becomes very demoralizing. What sort of programs to see him solutions offer. For families who are homeless we have a shelter and their shelters stays open because of the generosity of Dennis the seventies. But we have a shelter for families that are outside Ari any kind danger situation. And then we also provide apartments and we pay the rent until the family gets back on their feet we provide lots of employment services for people. We also about a separate department and human solutions that helps prevent homelessness because it's much more. Cost effective to prevent homelessness but for families it's much better to prevent them from becoming homeless instead of overcoming the effects of homelessness. And so in addition to those programs we also build own and operate affordable housing. And that's very important. It it is important because unless they're can be enough apartment buildings in these four ladies don't Makoni. On the so that the risk remain low air raid that families can afford. If there's a shortage of them than their risk increase and families don't have enough money to pay the risk which just keep going up but nothing nothing that's what we're seeing right now. Is that rents which used to be affordable to families have been raised by fifty dollars a month or a hundred dollars a month. And the family can't afford to stay in the apartment that they've been living in for a long time. And we have some more of the housing shortage in we definitely are housing shortage for low income families in the region the estimate is that were almost a 100000 units short. Having everybody in a place that they can afford that is safe and decent at this point we see lots of families that are doubled up. On the in other words to families are living in an apartment meant for one family. We see a lot of families at this time of the year who have been living in somebody's garage or had been living in an unheated basement or in an area. Not expected to be had a tape edited by individuals. And as the weather gets colder and wetter they can't stayed journey longer and they come in for shelter. Yeah for its that the weather's pretty nice now puts its cozy nice no place in Louisville last night was 47 has been in the fifties and knighted as it gets colder and colder. People who are staying in their cars or staying in campgrounds just can't do that anymore. And remember that means that kids have to get up from sleeping in a car sleeping at a campground. Or in an unheated building. And get ready for school and get themselves to school which is very difficult if you don't have heat light and electricity. Guess school's back in session so aware of where our kids homeless kids going to school. All over certainly the schools in the Reynolds school district are seeing lots and lots of homeless kids David Douglas and park grows are seeing homeless kids so is Gresham Barlow. To then number of homeless children in school is just increasing every school district is seeing more and more kids. Including the for the public schools. How tough has it on the kids. It's very hard on accusing people think oh kids are resilient. But and the kids are resilient but it really is very difficult for kids to keep up with their peers because they don't have any place to do their homework they don't have computers they don't have the things that other kids have to work on. Their homework and keep up. But more than that they don't even have a way to get clean clothes they have one set of clothes are maybe two or three sets of clothes. But no way to wash those clothes and sodium kids are sensitive to what they look like and other kids will make fun of them if they don't have clean clothes so. It's very hard for home miscues to keep up academically. It's hard for kids that come to school in clean clothes that are living in a campground are living in a car. And so it's just difficult and then especially for little kids. That are used to death familiarity and the security of a host. At a home. Those days are disrupted and moving from place to place is really traumatic on little kids. If you don't know where you're gonna be sleeping you don't know if you're gonna have an X next meal or not it's very difficult. Cook and listeners help out. Listeners can help out by helping us make sure that all of the shelters stay open. There's shelters for on the survivors of domestic violence there are shelters for families their shelters for use and also for single adult men and women. We he a human solutions provide shelter for families and so the public can help out by. Financially helping us to make sure that they have enough money to keep operating the shoulders. Our shoulder will open our winter shelter will open in November. And we have the money to pay the rent and pay the staff but there's nothing in the budget for food. So we have to rely and the public to bring food for a hundred people a night we serve about a hundred people and I dinner shelter. And we have to have all donations of that they have a evening meal and that they have breakfast and us. We would take my honey dew on we provide food for in our shelter. On and so that is a hundred people in ninth but if you add together the number of people there in the shelter. Plus the ones that we're housing in our apartments that's where we get to 400 families and 12100 people. While it's your Bure an amazing moment isn't he pretty amazing stuff. It has to be done people have to have a place inside they have they have a place it's safe. Kids have to be able to know that they can play and not have to worry all the time. Parents have to know that they have the opportunity to look for work or look for apartments. And not be out in cold wet weather where they just can't do those things. And you do a lot of assistance from Dennison seventy's aren't we do we do golf tournament with Dennis is seventies every year and they provide this assistance through all of the year. On the proceeds from the golf tournament are what we used to make sure that we can keep to shelter open all year long. Once we open in November. We've we're gonna make this now be year round shelter with help from Dennis is seventies and Pomona Makoni. It will be coming year around shelter it has been a winter shelter. Closing in the summer months but promises doesn't go away in the summer months and so we know are going to be able. Thanks to Dennis is seventies and the kind to be able to stay open year round and we're very pleased about that because it will mean that. Will be able to find housing placements and get his baggage Kelly's back in the housing in time for kids to start school. Instead of opening in November and having kids have two months of going to school from living in a car. Now we want to get introduced at sawgrass president and co owner of Dennis the seventies though they didn't grow so how come you guys are so enthusiastic about helping a human solutions. Well besides the obvious I mean it's it's a great organization I'm gonna help them out. If it is an incredible organization. Hand down. Yeah it's really all about neighbors helping neighbors in need and you let get did the homeless and in what gene just described. As send the poverty in our own neighborhood and and you really once you start to really understand. You know that is all around us anything it is right here in our community. Any understand how deprived children are and and how it impacts the rest of their their world. It is something that. He's perfect for aspect as you know we left to support the and human solutions it is absolutely. Making a difference when it comes to homeless. Children family is in in poverty Dave. You know what what they're all about is his or there about not only helping those in need that they wanna get people back on their feet. So again they can be productive and can't stand on our own hand moves through the system and and be productive and hint to me that there could be nothing better. Then that damage gives somebody a helping hand. And and give them I imagine assistance and get him back on their feet. The more you know about it because the more you wanna just. Help out yeah absolutely. That's on the mall knowledge is power that's right absolutely how long distance of seven he's been involved in helping out human solutions. Well we've we actually we have a company golf tournament has been going on for 27 years now and you should just be. That the staff have the opera's against the field and it was just. There's just lots of time there is very small and and it it and we we invited friends and and then clients and then. Suppliers and the can down. He got bigger and bigger there's always that charitable component to it because the ball again. The proceeds went to charity and we used to have to pick it had different charities here. Six years ago we decided to dedicate our turn meant to human solutions we we have some friends within human solutions. We we started to understand the problem in and there are good that they were doing and so we dedicated. Our tournament. Six years ago and and in that year we raised 4600 dollars. And so. And so we decided at that point. To have a vision vision was why not grow this thing when a drug really being himself we set that vision was sent to some day. Raise a 100000 dollars for human solutions and that was our focus we have other charities we support we support to community in a lot of ways. Read this this was when we really wanted this to stand behind. So 2010 we raised 4600 dollars we had a vision of a 100000 in 2013. We actually donated checked through our golf tournaments per 100000. And 100. 1400. Dollars. Stand. For the next the next year we raised over a 100000 and then this year. This year we were also successful. New hit that mark and we were able to raise. A 108000 dollars and that's after expenses that you're able to forgive human solutions are checked. That's how you make a difference right. While in the golf tournament just happens is too little was on the seventeenth last Thursday's cat hair and it was sold out there wears. There's all kinds of enthusiastic people show up there was generosity like. Like he just wouldn't expect people really just came to the table and and they were they were. Just wanting to it to see how they could get contribute and help them. Yeah we've been doing this for human solutions for six years and can. Yeah eight it's easier it gets easier as a people. Who participate learn about. Not aspect of class and once you learn about because they want to be part of it and that's how tough that was the vision of how this should grow. And it's it is you know we were able to do it as a small business and it was fun and it was it was so it was really a win win win for everybody. Have for us as a company for human solution is. For our for our vendors and those who got involved and especially. Or the people who we were able to help them. Sorry it's just it's just been a wonderful. Wonderful guys Boris can hear your company likes to lead by example Brady who you'd love to see other businesses out there doing the very same thing. In our industry there's method to motivates us more intent to to be out header or to be leading the industry and and I'm hoping that. That other businesses other small businesses will see. But we're able to do and either jump on our bandwagon and can't support a lot of side and that's not about us it's about the Koch is about to people that we're helping. About the community. And or. Maybe maybe other small businesses will go hey we can do that too and then watching it watching it grow what you grow less and expand and and you know businesses can make a huge difference. And in our own community by getting. I asked for an event and and and focus on a cousin and making significant differences I really. Really hoped that other businesses. Or listen to this and go yeah. We can do that to domestic and community involvement is just is so important. Yeah tiny business. Absolutely well looks good on grass is a business for sure bet. You know our employees get inspired nicest things that we do is accompanied him that help others and make a difference and you know it there's there's nothing more power powerful than the people who work for you who really enjoyed cow manure can really proud of every county that there were four. And it goes above and beyond training and in compensation and then other forms of motivation you know this is really about being. BM. Proud. The company that you work for me. Are you doing the golf tournament next you're absolutely not guilty Korea. You know right now it is if it stays on track it would be September 15 we haven't we haven't actually confirmed that that I believe that's going to be. And they they were scared the senate September. Fifteenth that's Thursday. Check out start 730 and we're looking for this event to grow even bigger and so we're looking for. For friends of friends to come hand in hand widen our our network so that we can make even and even bigger. Impact. Do you know master executive director with human solutions what does it mean to have a company like Dennis the seventies helping you out and being so involved. It's really it's kind of like a lifeline or it's a mean that we can comb done. On to make sure that we can expand their services. To be able to offer homeless families homeless children all the things that they need. On the golf tournament occurs on early in honor in our fiscal year in the full on September. So that would reopen in the wintertime we know that we have that funding available. And if families need diapers will be able to get diapers if for some reasons. We can't get enough donations of food will be able to buy food but more than and it means that we had done things in the shelters that we need. Four families so we're we will offer on rent assistance to families will offer all the things that families need to be able to. Get out of the shelter get into apartments and then get jobs so we will look at. All the ways that we can help families become self sufficient we can't do that without funding. Ali and we need to know that we have enough staff people on so that we haven't the right number of staff to serve the people that commie and we don't turn anyone away in return any family weigh in our shelter set any family comes in. We find a place for them to stay so we have to have staff there regularly employed and staff that are on call so that we make sure that there is a place for for everyone. Sometimes families are doubled up stay with another family and they think they're gonna be okay sting their for the night and then 10 o'clock at night comes in a landlord comes over and says you can't both be here one of the US to get out or you both have to get out. And so then the family whose doubled up as a leave right then and there in the middle of the night will they come to us and we find a place for them to stay but it means that we have enough to step on on on board. That we can be safely hosing all the families that we serve. The goals of human solutions is to change sliced permanently right and what's her success of U. We have a good track record in terms of helping families that come into our shelter commend to our program being homeless. We place them in apartments and then we have helped them find works is that they can pay the rent on the apartment. We paid the rent until they're able to find work. On and then they take over the reds of that apartment so they don't have to move they can stay in the department that they. Cummins who originally put their kids back to school with kids have to be in school within three days. Of on of when they come to our program. But we can also help with school if they don't have school close if they don't have issues to go to school we can help with those things to make sure the kids can get to school. And then after the family has on. Bin in the housing for a year we go back and we see is is a family still there and as a family still paying their rent itself. And last year we had 91%. Of the families that we place in the housing but we went back a year later they were still the housing and still paying the rent themselves so. We know we have a good track record. We also know that families. Do not want to be homeless so parents are highly motivated if there in the shelter they're highly motivated to never go packed to the shelter we think we make this shelter is comfortable as possible but no family wants to be in a shelter with thirty other families with a 120 other people. Life to kids. And they wanna be in their own apartments and be self sufficient and so once we can place them in and help them get employment. They worked very hard to never have to become homeless again homelessness can be a cycle into. It can be cycle we especially see as cycle with survivors of domestic violence we try and break that cycle but we do see is cycle. On the domestic violence victims we also see a cycle with. People that don't have much education because they are employed. In their most. Johnson are the first ones to be there the first was to be laid off for the job is the first one the job to be eliminated. On they don't have job skills that they can really have a lot of job security. And that's what creates this cycle it's not that they choose to become homeless again. They find a job and and that's the first job that closes down and if that. Business tested contracted the business testing gets smaller. So one of the things that we trying do is help people. And increase their skills and find a job it's a little less on subject to them being the first person laid off. You've hasn't changes to your family shelter this year can you tell us about that we have hasn't changes we we ask you will. Open in the original location which is on a 162 and burn site. But we are working on a new shelter that will be the will be the year round children facility. On that will unite our days shelter and our night shelter so in the past we have had to have families in one shelter from seven at night till 7 the next morning. Then they have to leave and go to a different building for days shelter. And what we're working on right now is uniting mid day show tonight shelters are the families won't have to leave. It's just tragic guy when I drive by in the morning and you see stroller after stroller with. Moms and dads pushing strollers it's wet it's called that. She's our kind of have to dress getting ready for school we don't want that to have to happen anymore we'd like to have the families be able to stay in traditional there. As well as the night shelters sell. Are changes to move to be a year round program which is the first time will be able to do that. But also to be at 24 hour day program and we're very happy about those changes but we couldn't do it without contributions in the public and particularly. Without the funding never receiving from Dennis is seventies. She is doing amazing work. We are really trying to make sure that any family that Thomas has a place to come that is safe. And a set of launching pad to get back into an apartment and back into works that they never have to be homeless again. In the last minute or so we have here rumor has it senior retiring I am retiring my last day at human solutions is next week is September 30. And I will be retired as of 5 o'clock on September 30. While congratulations thank you thank you I've been a human solutions for just about thirteen years but have been doing this kind of work. In Portland for 45 years so I was sick of great for awhile yeah and you have faith that everything's gonna continue. In a positive direction I I am very certain that that's gonna happen the people. I I have been the director he was solutions that we have a very strong and solid staff in our shelter area and in our housing areas so I'm very confident that that happens also that some great. So them. You said earlier that knowledge is power and absolutely. There's nobody that I know who I think could compared to that. Depth of knowledge to gene has about homelessness and our community it is. Is absolutely over the top and makes it really easy to get behind gene because you know that she knows what she's doing she knows the problem. She's making a difference it through human solutions to to get resolution. To that and get people back on their feet. Yeah IA it's easy for us as a business to get behind somebody like Jean and her staff and and I would invite. Everybody tell learn a little bit more even more than and then you have to do this interview about all there. The positive energy and positive things in the dedication and commitment that the people. I've bitter behind Jean. How that how dedicated they are two really making a difference I don't. I don't know that there could be another charitable organization. That that. Make such a difference and make such an impact and you know part of their reason we got involved with human solutions. Not only was it because I great my neighbors helping neighbors in need. It was a humans as much about the people who we knew and as we get got got to know more of them. Who worked under gene it's just an incredible staff of people and James got to move on we're gonna absolutely mister McVeigh you know let. She has left a strong staff and a strong organization behind nears her who will continue to march so. Look for great things happened based on what I know and have seen was human solutions. Going into the future it's just going to be amazing to watch and it would be amazing. To be able to participate capsule. I salute. But thank you both for doing the work that you do a great you for inviting great stuff gene to master executive director with human solutions almost retired straight. Candidates to address president co owner of Dennis the seventies thanks a real microscope today thank you very much easier writing history. Microscopes and Entercom communications public affairs program.