June 8, 2020
“Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible – even if you’re choking on it – until you let the sun in. As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands.”
– Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Over the past two weeks we have been reminded that there are two pandemics we are fighting: the COVID-19 virus and structural systemic racism. Please read our statement in solidarity for racial justice on our website.
As we recognize the ugly history of racism in housing and community development, we know we have work to do at NHA and across the industry. And knowing that the spread of COVID-19 is impacting Black, Indigenous and Latinx communities at far greater rates, we are working hard to ensure that NHA’s critical programs and services continue while keeping the health and safety of our staff, clients and residents in the forefront of our efforts.
Here is a round-up of the latest COVID-19-related NHA news:
- At our properties, many precautions are still being taken to protect residents from the spread of COVID-19 including increased cleaning and sanitation protocols. Community rooms remain closed, and our property management companies are providing ongoing COVID communications to residents.
- NHA has procured PPE to protect the service staff who continue to interact with residents and shelter guests every day. This includes disposable gloves, masks, re-usable masks, and hand sanitizer.
- To date, no program participants, residents, or services staff have tested positive for COVID-19.
- Due to COVID-19, working with clients at the Annie Ross House looks a little different these days but the work continues at full capacity. An example of this is a recent family who worked with their case manager exclusively by phone and was able to successfully find and be placed in permanent housing during their two-week motel stay.
- The average length of stay before exiting ARH to permanent housing has not increased for those families who have entered and exited during COVID.
- Six families have transitioned from shelter into permanent housing through NHA’s HomeBase program since the start of the pandemic.
- Resident Services has continued to operate in full force through COVID-19. While community rooms have been shut down at properties and all events have been paused, Resident Services Coordinators continue to visit properties weekly and respond to the individual needs of residents.
- In April 2020, the team delivered more than 1,000 care packages with food, household items, and hygiene supplies to vulnerable households at NHA properties. For comparison, the team delivered just over 900 food boxes in all of 2019.
- The Housing Development team has been hard at work throughout the course of the pandemic. In the past three months, they have submitted seven applications, completed three permanent loan closings, completed lease-up for the new property in Hermiston, received an award of funding for Rosement Court, completed the finance closing and started construction on Sunnyslope and College Manor, and started the construction completion punch list for the workforce property in Portland’s Gateway neighborhood.
- The Housing Development team also welcomed a new team member, Angelina Denson, who has been able to onboard and provide more capacity to the team despite the ongoing pandemic.
- NHA’s annual fall fundraiser, Home Sweet Home, will be held virtually on Thursday September 17th at 11:30 a.m.
Thank you for your support as we continue to serve our community in these unprecedented times.