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Home Builders Foundation 7.20.14

Jul 15, 2014|

An interview with Ken Cowdery, executive director of the Home Builders Foundation, which builds and renovates shelters and transitional housing facilities for those experiencing homelessness in our community, including domestic violence survivors.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

This is microscope a series of interviews of people of interest to northwest Oregon and southwest Washington. I'm Gary blocks of the home builders foundation builds and renovate shelters and transitional housing facilities. For those experiencing homelessness and our community including domestic violence survivors can calorie is the executive director of the homebuilders foundation and he has over 35 years of experience developing and managing programs for the homeless and has created many unique public and private sector job training projects we like to welcome -- Calgary to -- -- -- -- hole. So you're working with the homebuilders foundation can tell our listeners what the homebuilders foundation has. Well the mission of homebuilders foundation is to build shelters and transitional housing for those who are experiencing homelessness and our community. We build new shelters from the ground up and we also do renovations. In the case of renovations were really trying to expand the capacity to shelter so unfortunately we simply do not have enough space. For those who are experiencing homelessness and our community and especially among. Homeless families. And when you say space what do you mean by we don't have enough space. Well there's there's not -- bed capacity. So for example in Multnomah County they do what's called one night street canal where they try to decide how many folks are out there. Living in their car earth and Parker you know that kind of thing. And how much space would be needed in shelters -- -- in shelters to accommodate all these folks and there's there's never enough. Rebuilding in the city here -- this suburban norm ball a little creature. No we build all over the region and multnomah clack mr. Washington County mature work is in the city of Portland. But currently we're going to be doing an expansion of the -- most women's services domestic violence shelter. -- -- what was this homebuilders foundation created. Well many years ago the home builders association. In the world looking for charities and which to support -- like any. Good corporate system they were trying to find a cause that. Needed some help in the area and about seven years ago they decided well why don't we use. Our own experience our own hands to help this community so they came up with the idea of actually building and renovating. -- shelters and transitional housing facilities so. So much of what we do now is actually donated labor and materials from members of the home builders association. These -- home builders remodel hers goes through associated with the industry and reverts to. You know mortgage lending and that kind of thing and we have built a little over 50000 square feet of space. So as the foundation was started and again this is all due to the remarkable volunteer efforts. From members of the home builders association. And so people get together are these construction workers getting together and building Nelson's. That's correct these very you usually go through home builders and remodel -- and we tell them about our project the scope of the work. And they will get involved and helping with architectural drawings and plan and that kind of thing and then what they do. Is that go to a lot of their subcontractors plumber electrician containers. To really help get the work done so it's it's it's -- industry wide effort. From many different hands that are involved in home building. Have you seen an increase in homelessness over the last few years. Yes there has been you know the last report on the homelessness in the military is she shows that it's. It's kind of leveling off for for many populations and that's largely due to the fact that our economy is recovering. But there are segments of the homeless population -- that we are seeing significant increases. And that is among women and families. With children. So in response that last year we did. The project or do renovation of the goose fell off camera sheltered downtown. We heard it right in the midst of planning an expansion on a bed expansion and I'll be women's shelter. At the Portland rescue mission and none not downtown burned side. -- Yeah we are excited that we are trying to focus our efforts of those were most vulnerable. Those are -- women and families with children. You know they -- the average age of almost individual under the age of 21 is nine there's a lot of children out there who simply. Do not have a safe and respectable place to spend the night. Well let's it's frightening is that. So let him I'm assuming a lot of homelessness -- me a lot of it but some of is -- a significant amount comes from domestic violence. Yes unfortunately that's true it's. It's it's it's a it's a major issue in -- in our community and and and most other communities. From our efforts are going to be focusing on the plaque most women services domestic violence shelter it is the only domestic violence shelter in in Yakima county. They get what. One in every four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime -- guy who I just find it an incredible statistic -- from a national coalition against domestic violence. 6085%. Of of domestic violence for the victims are women. And females who were twenty to 24 years of age or at the greatest risk of -- what's called intimate partner violence or domestic violence so. It is it is a huge issue in in many cases. It's an issue that a lot of people. Do not hear about his group would sometimes we call it that the it to hidden problem. But it is getting a lot more attention and as a result women. Are -- just needing more safe places. To rebuild their lives after domestic violence. And how is the home builder foundation helping with that are building helping was shelters and. Well we are we the first thing we did is we went to the shelter because they -- so they wanted to expand and we wanted to get a sense -- -- the scope for war was. And what we've decided is that we are going to build an addition onto an existing facility. This is an old farm house maybe eighty years old. Has served its purpose. But in order to expand services that needs to happen -- so we have had an architect draw the plans and and a drawing. And we the next step is that we will secure the services of -- home builder. Who will act as what we called the builder captain and the -- captain. Well again take a look at the scope of the work and how much that he can put into this and reverse that donated labor and materials. And then he'll be calling on a lot of this sub two help us out. That's -- really really great and rewarding work. Now today it's this is probably the the most satisfying job I've had in my current try open dilemmas for. 35 years -- built many kinds of shelters and then operated them. The homebuilders foundation is really the only non profit organization in this this region that's doing this kind of work can. The idea I sleep soundly at night. We have accomplished in this day before. Well that is great and it's and it's good hard work. Yeah it is it's very hard work and and I you know you have to hand it to these folks who would go home builders in my home bowlers association. You know they tackle these projects as though they're building their home for one of their customers and it's just remarkable what they do where it typically. A project to about 35 to 40% of the total cost of the project. Is donated labor and materials from these homebuilders and in many of the home builders. Just donate their time that we do work with some subcontractors they're small operators they're kind of mom and pop shops and they can donate all the materials that they really heavily discount as much as they can -- we have discount from. 10% to 90%. When we did. Or renovation of the -- called -- -- sheltered downtown 90% of all the materials labor workers were donated that was about. 50000 dollar project. The -- of our listeners want to get involved you have volunteer opportunities or ways to make donations. Yes we got a really that's a great volunteer program here in it and it is called painting for a better tomorrow. And what we do we go into shelters and transitional housing facilities and we paint -- at all interior work. -- -- the exterior work that we also do was done by professionals who donate their time but -- on the interior. We've pair up professional -- contractors with volunteers. Who paint shelters up all different kinds. And in addition to that we do an awful lot of landscaping work around the shelters especially in the spring time. But the whole idea behind this particular part of the foundation. It is to make these shelters. A more dignified place to live. Places where people feel respected. And if they do. He just you -- better outcomes. A lot of people -- at least. Folks have been just been traumatize the war by what's happened in their lives. And if you can put a minute and a nice place where they feel respected. They just tend to do better for themselves bill and -- in the shelters or do tend to be a shorter. So that yes we are always looking for volunteers. The big one. -- is the paying for a better tomorrow we're gonna do that march of next year. Again landscaping usually done on the spring and we also have -- some fundraising. Activities. We are. Going to be receiving the proceeds of the opening party for the -- dreams we are issues sort of volunteers to help organize and out of bounds. And we have also have a big auction them in the spring. Before move onto the street of dreams say can you tell also website the people and get more information. Well our web site is called build the hope PD accepts one word build hope PX dot org. There's lots of information Google -- -- you can learn all about what we're doing and we also great FaceBook page. And the home -- foundation is involved with street of dreams which is coming up this summer what's how can people get involved in that way. Well we are going to receive the proceeds of the opening party as I mentioned it's called the block party. And I needed itself every single year. But the proceeds from -- are going to be used to do this renovation and expansion of the -- Muslims services domestic violence shelter. So -- we will be selling especially cocktails -- gonna have a photo -- You know back kind of sank. And then when you attend the street of dreams were going to be in that ticket -- And we're gonna ask you if you would be able to increase your ticket price by one dollar. And that will also go to the -- those women -- it projects so all together. We think that this could be me you know maybe thirty to 40000 dollars throughout the duration of the street of dreams so we will use. To do this project for their -- most -- services. That's a great way to raise money and everybody can just add on a dollar to take a price I think that's that's a Smart thing do. Yeah we did it last year and I was volunteering in the ticket Booth and you know people are very generous -- data they. Are coming to see these beautiful homes subdued just outstanding homes. But they're also understanding that the men and women who are building these beautiful homes. Are often involved in our volunteer project for these shelters tonight I. And I think it did generate a lot of good will all about the street of dreams people. Learn about the foundation and the fact that these homebuilders are are just doing extraordinary. Things in the community. And as a result that they're they're very generous -- in the eighth date people love this -- dreams and they just enjoy the fact that. A portion of the proceeds are going to be that going to help almost some domestic violence survivors. There is the street of dreams this year and one of the -- -- Well the street of dreams is in happy valley this year the block party will be on the 23. Of this month and the opening date is the 26. July and if I'm correct it's been around through portion of the last week of August. -- Serve its traditional summer thing to do to build look at these beautiful homes. Gloria I mean there is they're. And I think now it's just how energy efficient these homes are they're just there are extraordinary -- -- it truly is the -- of -- Listen to be an explosion of some new home construction all over the Portland metro area. Yes things are picking up I mean definitely. You see they're really across the board. You know wolf one of the interesting facts are reflected tell people have. In the -- of the housing recession in 045 years ago when things were really bad for home builders. The home builders foundation did one of the two biggest projects ever that was called the Cordero house. Eight transitional housing facility for almost boys and tiger to. 750000. Dollar project from beginning to end again about thirty to 40% -- that was donated by homebuilders. But they did it win a lot of these companies were just really on the edge. They just they kept the faith and they can just kept doing these projects and that particular project. Won the national community service award from the national association of homebuilders it's it's something they're very proud about. That's really great. He -- it looks like you I'm looking here brochure and looks like you have a a bunch of projects you've been working on. Yet last year we it was a record setting year for us we did seven projects. The grew -- family shelter as I mentioned. We did a transitional housing. Projects for the in the city beaver to now looks kind of uninteresting story the the reserve report that came out that says that's good Beaverton school district has the highest number of homeless students in the state. -- ask somebody that they would say what well they would just -- -- public schools no it was Beaverton. And as a result of that Denny -- the mayor Beaverton -- contact with us and had -- I'd seen this we've got to do something about -- So they invited us to do major renovation. A little -- for plaques. Actually right around the corner from City Hall. But today is they transitional housing facility for. Students in the Beaverton school district tour or homeless. And I believe right now there's nine to ten young people in the -- of their -- for about a year. They graduate and then there are services that are provided by boys and girls aid which operates the facility to help them. Good job when they leave so that that is something we are extremely proud about. Just -- more success stories you deter those. Well I can say it you know the I -- that that. One of the biggest projects that we did was for the polar rescue mission. It's a man to addiction recovery center which had been downtown for years and years and years of their -- children. And as you can imagine. Having an addiction recovery center in the senator Portland nightclub district just doesn't work. So the Portland rescue mission had purchased an old nursing home or far up north east. And invited us in to do a major renovation. And expansion and so. We. Did that facility. Last year and expanded the bed capacity from 22 a little over forty. And -- -- setting now where. It is people are just simply not tempted by what's going on around them. Absolutely beautiful facility and again we really pulled out all the stops to make this. As attractive as possible again because it's an addiction recovery center so. For example we got a donation of -- to blading if you know what that is so you see these. Little -- homes on the top of roofs of houses and it draws a natural light -- highly reflective of a tube. Into the living space. And it's not only extremely energy efficient obviously. But it brings a lot of natural light into these Frontier Corps reverse and and the rescue mission just absolutely love that they -- got some national attention because it was just. So well designed. We've. Also go back to some of her former projects so for example we did a major. Renovation of Raphael house which is -- domestic violence shelter in Portland. It just a beautiful renovation that was done about 05 years ago. And because the shelters is so heavily used. Sometimes things just Wear out and in this case the kitchen. Needed a major uplift. We put into -- cabinets new appliances that kind of thing. 350 to 400 people live in the facility every year or you can imagine the usage. And we also did some accessibility for those who were disabled who were in the shelter so. That was one of our one of our favorites. But I think the one that would. Near and dear to me as it is really that the -- all of fairly sheltered because. There's there's nothing more difficult to see and and we do see it once -- -- mean that is the public. A family source sleeping in their cars in the in the parking lots of churches. You may have remember that a couple years ago where the city teamed up with some churches and allowed them to. Open their parking lot at night. Especially for homeless families. And it's that's tough to watch and so we. This building that facility -- in the renovation there was it was it was very very. It was a it was a moving experience for me and and for many many of the home builders who visited the shelter before and after the it's just a great project. We are returning to that shelter to build out so -- it's a little kitchen that it's tiny little thing. Which used to have Serb breakfast thirty to 35. Bailey's and an individual -- morning and it just does not working so. We're going back to expand that we're gonna put a new cabinet -- really great microwave parliament dishwasher just make this thing more efficient. In the future we've got two great projects coming up but I'd love to talk about. Well the first project is designed to. Addressed the issue of many kids who were leaving Foster care. Who become homeless. So -- -- at risk kids -- -- -- 30% of them are homeless within a year after leaving the system. And one of the reasons is you leave -- secure in the state of organ at age eighteen. So when I talked to people about decisively you know when you're eighteen year old at all did you have a job did you have a car to do you have. First the last month and brand to have security deposit did you have your foot apartment. You know of course not many of -- did not and too many of these kids are leaving Foster care. And ending up in downtown Portland and the homeless -- system there and that that's not that's not an alternative. So to address that issue we are going to be building a facility. For our rescues were coming out of Foster care who can live in this facility. For a year to eighteen months to either finish their education get some job training and job. And be able little sufficiently when they leave. And this is a project that we're doing in partnership with bridge meadows which is an intergenerational housing project in northeast. And new avenues for you so that bridge medals will be serving as a kind of like the developer will be the builder and new revenues tree you will operate at. This particular project is going to be built by Renaissance homes. So it's it's a great example again of how HBA members are stepping up to do these projects have. You're familiar at all with Renaissance homes they are they are absolutely beautiful homes series energy efficient homes -- They've taken great pride in the craftsmanship of her house and so we did slim -- drawing and as it is just spectacular and they're stepping up and this is going to be. We're guessing now about a million and a half dollars. It'll be housing about twenty kids. We're coming out of Foster care. So that is something we're very proud of we got a there are some property that was owned by PGE. You know as an old substation in bridge -- was able little. To buy their property to build this facility near their existing intergenerational housing facility. So that's going to be launching next year. The second thing that we're going to be doing. This largely the result of what I've been noticing some sort of an honest job for a couple of years now there's -- lot of shelters. Are in disrepair. Now many of them are older homes private former private residences that were donated to charities to operate shelters. So number 8200 year old. Houses. And as you can imagine that the nonprofit budgets are just so then these days. So there's been a lot of deferred maintenance and there's really been little or no effort to do any kind of energy conservation. Sort of a launch something we're calling the shelter restoration. Pilot project. And we're gonna go in and assess the the facilities there in this region we think there's about 31 that will be looking at. To do an assessment it's gonna be conducted by homebuilders and remodel -- To help us determine what are some of the most immediate repair needs of the shelters. So typically what we're seeing just a need for root for here. We see a lot of ground water infiltration in the basement. HBA systems that were not well maintained. Single pane windows lack of insulation that kind of thing. For the past that and then we will match up again builders and remodeled -- Who donate their material and time to begin to do these. These repairs and local energy retrofit. -- the very first one has actually started that for a transitional housing facility for homeless youth. And Neil Kelly companies is to build a captain on balance so they're bringing. There expert. Energy conservation staff into the picture and helping us do well. Look all that fumble on the facility and advising us from the kind of work that needs to be done to make those more energy efficient. And as a result of doing this work what were asking these nonprofits to do -- appear when you begin to save money. On your utilities we ask that you reinvest that money to expand its services. So in the case -- this particular non profit organization. They will likely use that to expand the case management staff as a result of having a lot of kids who are coming through the door. So those are two projects that we are just very excited about the home builders association members are solidly behind these projects that I. I mentioned Renaissance homes was going to be -- remote facility for kids coming out of Foster care so. It's going to be a busy year. You have is the homebuilders foundation you guys are doing great work. Thank you very much we we enjoy it. Can Calgary executive director of the homebuilders foundation would like to thank you for being a microscope today thank you for having me I enjoyed it. Metals gold was an Entercom communications public affairs program. My name's Gary and if you have a nonprofit or public affairs organization that you'd like let others know about you can email me at macro Scopes @entercom.com. Remember -- starts with -- -- -- you can go directly to the station's website click on the community link and submit your information there. Also we like to hear this program again you can visit our podcast page at microscope PDX dot com. Thanks for listening to -- -- and enjoy your weekend.