The Latest News
March 2017

President's Message

Hello Housers,
This month, while in D.C., we will be celebrating the 10th anniversary of Housing America! What is Housing America? "Housing America is a campaign that raises national awareness of the need for and importance of safe, quality, affordable housing through education, advocacy, and empowerment." (Housing America Webpage). I have been honored to serve on the Housing America Task Force for the last three years.  In that time, I have learned about four aspects of the campaign.

First, Housing America tells our stories in multiple ways. One of these ways is through the "What Home Means to Me" Poster Contest. This gives children served by our programs the opportunity to show us, through art, why their homes are so important to them. These stories are so beautiful and inspiring. At the conclusion of the contest, a jury selects twelve art pieces to be compiled into a calendar. The winning artist is invited to D.C. for the Washington Conference, does some sight-seeing, and gets to go to Capitol Hill. Just last year the national winner was from our region and she was a true joy to spend time with! Each year I order enough calendars to distribute to my city council and to take to D.C. for our congressional delegation.
Second, through the campaign, October has been declared Housing America Month. This month encourages PHAs across the country to hold a community event, service project, or pursue a city proclamation. The goal is, ultimately, to have PHAs in the news all across the country for the good work we all do.
Third, the campaign is about partnerships and has been successful in developing relationships with many other organizations who understand the importance of affordable housing. With these partnerships, our advocacy voices are strengthened.
Finally (and a little secret here - this is the funnest part of serving on the task force), each national conference finds members of this task force involved in some form of service to the community hosting the conference. We have played bingo with the residents of an elderly complex, served breakfast to program participants, gardened, stocked shelves at a food bank, and so much more! It has always left the team feeling invigorated for the work we do.
Now! I have to disclose, there are far more than just four aspects to the campaign. But these are the ones that jump out to me. I encourage you to look for the Housing America logo on the NAHRO website. Check it out and consider joining us for the benefit concert in D.C. as part of the Anniversary celebration. We will be collecting new books to be donated so be sure to pack one in your bag.
Here at home, you can still participate! Work to get your children entered into the poster contest. Let's get another national winner! Entries will be judged at our regional conference in April. Contact Kristen for more info.
Annual Conference
Stack your Deck for Success   by attending  the 
2017 PNRC-NAHRO  Annual Conference!
  • Amazing Keynote Speaker, Tim Wise
  • Dynamic and engaging sessions
  • Networking opportunities with housing industry professionals
  • Exhibit Hall with vendors providing products and services for the industry.
  • Professional Development Seminars
  • Recognition of Achievements 
For more information
or to register: 
Click Here

The Conference Hotel room block is sold out.  
There are other hotels in walking distance -- in order of distance closest-furthest.
Hotel Eastlund: 503-235-2100
Courtyard by Marriott: 503-234-3200
Residence by Marriott: 503-228-1400
Crowne Plaza: 503-223-2401

Special thanks to our Conference Platinum Sponsor 

Regional News
As Black History Month draws to a close, I want to take a moment to convey thanks and admiration for the many pioneering people whose work and sacrifices have advanced the causes of justice and the vision of opportunity that is shared by all. Indeed, there are many famous and worthy people who deserve accolades - luminaries such as Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington Carver, W.E.B. Dubois, and Angela Davis, to name a few.

I am also reminded at this time of ordinary people doing remarkable work who are, by some measure unsung heroes. One was my good friend, John Collins. John was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He attended racially segregated schools and the Kentucky School of Embalming before joining the Marines in 1949. John was among the first of the integrated recruits trained at Parris Island, South Carolina following Executive Order 9981 - signed by President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1948 - which abolished racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces and led to the eventual desegregation of the military. Most of the recruits at Parris Island never finished basic training in those days. It is a notoriously swampy place full of snakes. Anyway, John survived-excelled-as a Marine and went on to serve in Korea and multiple tours in South Vietnam, mustering out as a Major with a battlefield command. He was also an Adjutant General and given a few command posts stateside.
John jumped out of airplanes at low altitudes and was a Marine to his core; he fought hard and he played hard; and in that same spirit, he was always one to reach back for those who had been left behind. Totally devoted to the men under his command, he suffered their travails and tended their wounds. He even field dressed the bodies of fallen soldiers when air support was delayed, so they would be treated with the dignity and respect they deserved. He was sprayed with Agent Orange in Vietnam and suffered lifelong ill health due to his service. He also knew people and understood how to bring out the best in their character.
John Collins was an accomplished pilot and earned degrees in Mathematics and Organizational Development. He went on to distinction in business as General Manager of the Kaiser Aluminum Rolling Mill in Trentwood; Spokane Valley. He was a successful investor and uber community volunteer. When I met John, he lived in Lake Oswego and was a partner in a private equity and investment company. He was on several boards and commissions including the Parry Center for Children, Vancouver Housing Authority (when he was a Commissioner, they hired me as Executive Director), and was a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children of color in the Clackamas County courts. John was passionate about giving kids a fair chance at success in life. He gave freely of his time and treasure. Throughout the years, he supported scholarships among the youth at his former High School in Hattiesburg as well as youth at Home Forward and Vancouver Housing Authority. Scores of kids went to college because of the significant financial support provided by John Collins. Even kids elsewhere have benefitted from John Collins:   Click here to read news release.
One of John's last volunteer assignments was during Hurricane Katrina where he supervised Red Cross shelters for the thousands of volunteers. Ever the Marine, he worked long hours in horrible conditions. He developed a mold infestation in his lungs which plagued him for years until his death from kidney failure due to his exposure to Agent Orange. Never complaining, he used to tell me that he knew he was alive if it still hurt when he awoke each morning. We visited until he was near his end time, and I miss him dearly. Today, his pain is no longer, and he is buried with full honors at Willamette National Cemetery.
Let us indeed praise the icons and heroic civil rights leaders during Black History Month. Let us also take this time to reflect on ordinary people like John Collins, and may their extraordinary example remind us of our own responsibility in our daily lives and in the work we do to always reach back for those who have been left behind.
Kurt Creager
Portland Housing Bureau 
Seattle Screening of ReThink's Documentary, "Our Journey Home"

HAI Group's national media campaign ReThink: Why Housing Matters completed another effective and successful year in 2016 with a nationwide tour of the full-length documentary, "Our Journey Home." Each event concluded with a panel of like-minded organizations; sparking conversation in each local media marketplace about the importance of having a home and how that home gives individuals a sense of belonging and stability. The documentary sheds light on real-life stories of people touched by public housing as they strive to support their families, further their education and careers, give back to their communities, and have a place to call home. It also examines the role all of us play in supporting those who struggle in having a stable place from where they can grow and dream. The film, narrated by singer-songwriter, Jewel, does this by following three families along their journey into, though, or moving out of public housing.

As the campaign progresses into its fifth year, the local film screenings will continue. The campaign is excited to share that ReThink is partnering with local Seattle organizations Fare Start and Neighborhood House to bring "Our Journey Home" to Seattle, Washington on Tuesday, April 4, 2017. The screening will take place at Central Cinema at 1411 21st Ave, Seattle Washington from 6:30 pm to 7:50 pm. The event will include a film showing and a question and answer panel following the screening, as has been done in other markets.

We are proud to share this film with you and hope you can join us. To confirm the event, we need RSVPs by Tuesday, March 28. If you would like to join us,
please purchase a ticket here  . To watch a preview of the documentary, please click here  .

For more details about the ReThink: Why Housing Matters media campaign and other advocacy materials, please visit the website. 
JPMorgan Chase Foundation Grant To Support Homestead/City of Renton Partnership

February 13th, 2017. The Homestead Community Land Trust announces that JPMorgan Chase Foundation has awarded it $500,000 over three years to support the development of homes for ownership affordable to low to moderate income residents of the Sunset neighborhood in the City of Renton. Homestead will be the exclusive developer partner with the Renton Housing Authority in the area of affordable homeownership as part of a coordinated, multi-stakeholder revitalization effort known as the Sunset Area Transformation Plan.
Portland Housing Bureau Closes on Ellington Apartments

On February 6, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) closed on the purchase of the Ellington Apartments - 263 garden-style and townhouse rental units on nearly 11 acres in the rapidly gentrifying Northeast Portland. The property was being aggressively marketed toward higher-income clientele when it was purchased by the City for $47 million to prevent displacement and add more deeply affordable housing for low-income families.

Ninety-five percent of the units on the property are sized to accommodate famili es. "The Ellington has more family-sized housing  and larger units than anything currently being offered or developed in the private market. Acquiring it gives an uncommon opportunity to serve hundreds of children and their families with quality, affordable housing in a great location close to transit and parks," said PHB Director Kurt Creager.
PHB intends to rehabilitate the property using a combination of funds 
from the Affordable Housing General Obligation Bond passed by voters in November and a Section 223(f) mortgage loan. PHB also plans to deepen the existing affordability levels and will collaborate with Home Forward to place a limited number of Project Based Rental Assistance vouchers at the Ellington to meet the City's goal of ensuring affordability for households earning 0-30% of Portland's area median income.
NAHRO Candidates for Senior Vice President

The Housing Committee addresses administrative, legislative, regulatory, and funding issues for a wide range of housing programs and operations. The committee recommends actions and policies to the Board of Governors to further the goal of providing adequate and affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families.
The Housing Committee is comprised of three representatives from each region who serve on the regional committee, and 14 at-large members appointed by the NAHRO president. Of the presidential appointments, at least one representative must come from each region.

Regional Vice President for Committee: 
Kurt G. Wiest, CME, PHM Executive Director Bremerton Housing Authority 

Regional Members:
Mr. Lowel Krueger Executive Director Housing Authority of Kittitas County 
Mr. Eric Lane Project Manager 
Ms. Andria Lazaga Director, Office of Policy and Strategic Initiatives Seattle Housing Authority 

For more information, click here.

Contest entry rules (poster sizes must be 22" x 28" to be considered) and information about prizes are now on the Housing America Campaign website.   Please note that each poster must be accompanied by both an application form and a narrative form.

Regional Competition and Prizes
Agencies in the Pacific Northwest Region are asked to send their submissions to:

Attn: Kristen Damazio, RSO
718 Griffin Ave. #285
Enumclaw, WA 98022

Deadline for submissions is April 19th.

The posters will be taken to the PNRC Annual Conference (being held April 23-25, 2017) where a winner will be selected from each age category.  The three winners will each receive a $50 gift card from PNRC and their poster will be submitted to NAHRO for the national competition.

National honorees will be selected by a Blue Ribbon panel of judges to be assembled by National NAHRO staff. National honorees will be officially announced during Housing America Month in October.  All eight NAHRO regions will be represented in the calendar.


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