Call to Action: Members Advocate for Rental Assistance Funding

May 14, 2019

Joint Ways and Means Committee
Oregon State Legislature
900 Court St. NE,
Salem Oregon 97301

Dear President Courtney, Speaker Kotek, Senator Johnson, Senator Steiner Hayward, and Representative Rayfield:

Our companies believe everyone deserves a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home. That’s why we are writing to you today in support of SB 5512.

As our communities grapple with increasing homelessness, we acknowledge that all of us must be part of the solution. Many of our employees recently volunteered at the Family Winter Shelter managed by Portland Homeless Family Solutions (PHFS). Volunteers saw the face of homelessness in our community. It was shocking to see that 51% of the people at PHFS’ shelter are kids, and half those kids are under five years old. Two-thirds of the parents at the shelter are employed. While we are grateful that this shelter was available for these families, it’s essential to ensure that more resources are available to help families move from homelessness to housing, or even better to prevent families from experiencing homelessness in the first place.

The Emergency Housing Account (EHA) is a proven, effective and efficient program that can help make a significant difference in the lives of thousands of Oregonians. Providing rental assistance that allows someone to stay in their home is a much more cost effective way to support families. Recent data collected by PHFS shows that an average of $1,500 can help a family stay in housing and never experience homelessness at all, while it costs on average $6,500 to help a family experiencing homelessness move back into housing.

Additionally, it’s critical to fund rapid rehousing to provide help with application fees, deposits, and the first months rent. Our companies support the advocacy of the Oregon Housing Alliance and their request for $50 million in on-going funds for the Emergency Housing Account and State Homeless Assistance Program; and Governor Brown’s request for $20.5 million to support preventing and ending homelessness specifically for children and families; and $20 million to support renters in private market rental housing to access information, legal assistance, and hotline services.

We are grateful for our opportunity to have successful businesses in the State of Oregon and know that a thriving community will create opportunities for a more thriving economy. We are pleased to have the opportunity to advocate for these resources to ensure that our state gets on a path to reducing and ending homelessness.

Thank you for your attention to our letter and your service to our State.


Thomas Cody, Managing Partner, project^

Adrienne Leverette, Partner Placeship

Bridgid Blackburn, Co-Owner Cargo Inc.

Sil Pienovi, President Pienovi Healthcare, LLC

Anne Weaver, CEO Elephants Delicatessen

Kristen Gallagher, CEO Edify

Sarah Joannides, Principal Joannides Consulting

Pamela Kislak, Managing Director Lever Architecture

Anna Hutson, Founder and CEO Avenue

MacKenzie Stout, Financial Representative Northwestern Mutual - M. T. Stout

Aimee Sukol, President Sukol Venture Consulting

Marcelino Alvarez, CEO Uncorked Studios

Noah Oken-Berg, CEO & Co-Founder Above The Fray Design, Inc.

Erik Lawrence, President and Managing Partner TenBridge Partners, LLC

Caitlin Baggott Davis, Executive Director North Star Civic Foundation

Stan Amy, President New Villages Group

Joshua Lifton, Co-founder & President Crowd Supply

Holly Levow, CEO/Owner Foundation

Ben Wood, Partner Morel Ink

Kina Voelz, Architect Noraneko

Jessica Helgerson, Owner Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Sam Mehoke, President Development Matters R & D

Jason Dryden, Owner Fire Mountain Carpentry

Kristen Cooper, Founder & CEO Blackbird Benefits Collective, LLC