Homelessness PDX Connection Spring 2020
Homelessness PDX Connection Spring  2020

Homelessness PDX Connection    Spring 2020

Center helps launch six studies addressing homelessness

Portland State University’s Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative will help launch six research studies examining solutions to address homelessness from health care to housing.    

The center funded the research as part of its first round of grants to faculty members, which totalled $116,000 to PSU and OHSU researchers. Read the full story:
  • PSU Associate Professor Lisa Bates, PhD, Urban Studies and Planning, will work with Community Alliance of Tenants to build a new knowledge base for generating and advocating for community-driven solutions for renter stability.

  • OHSU Assistant Professor Dr. Brian Chan, MD, MPH, General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, will study how “SUMMIT,” an intensive primary care team at Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic, impacts the health of medically complex patients experiencing homelessness. 

  • PSU Senior Instructor II Janet Cowal, Applied Linguistics, Assistant Professor Melissa Haeffner, PhD, Environmental Science and Management, and Andrew Hogan with Street Roots will study how language shapes opinions to help educate leaders and empower marginalized voices, in partnership with Street Roots, an advocacy newspaper for people experiencing homelessnes.

  • PSU Instructor Kacy McKinney, PhD, Urban Studies and Planning, will collaborate with PSU students who have experienced homelessness to produce a comic series to change how we think about and teach homelessness and poverty.

  • PSU Associate Professor Hal Nelson, PhD, Public Administration, will use predictive modeling to understand and change attitudes that block affordable housing projects.

  • PSU Associate Professor Liu-Qin Yang, PhD, Psychology, will study the impact of TriMet’s reduced fare for low-income riders including those at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Center offers national updates on COVID-19 and homelessness

The center produces a weekly round up of news and information from experts around the country on COVID-19 and homelessness.
HRAC graduate research assistant Lauren Everett, a PhD candidate in urban studies at PSU, is writing a weekly memo featuring summaries from national webinars with experts to news articles on COVID-19 and homelessness. Memos added weekly. 

Kenton Women's Village gets common facilities to increase capacity, livability

Kenton Women’s Village received a special delivery last month that will help residents feel more at home and increase capacity at the village from 14 to 20 residents.
A permanent common facility complete with flushing toilets, private showers, a laundry room, a family room, and kitchenette arrived on May 26. Soon the village could welcome additional residents thanks to the increased capacity. 

Center co-founder Todd Ferry and Associate Professor Margarette Leite designed the common facilities for the transitional village that serves women experiencing homelessness. They used shipping containers from Relevant Buildings based in Oregon City. The company, along with collaborators LMC Construction and SRG Partnership, helped make the project a reality.

The City is planning to redeploy the village’s former hygiene container, which contains three sinks, two showers, and two portable toilets, as part of the City''s COVID-19 response.

Where to get help or give help during pandemic

The Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative continues to update its lists of ways to find help and to give help to nonprofits serving people on the frontlines of this pandemic. One of the latest additions is the Oregon Worker Relief Fund.
Here are additional resources for Portland State University students and SEIU employees. Please let us know of any additional resources to include in these lists.

We're fans of AfroVillage PDX

Community organizer and community health worker Laquida Landford is working on her vision for Portland’s newest tiny home village.
AfroVillage will be made, organized, and managed by its residents - black women in transition from homelessness or returning from incarceration.
African Americans are twice as likely to experience homelessness in Multnomah County, and this would be the first village to focus on African Americans.
It will be a nurturing place to heal, restore, and rejuvenate with Afro-American culture and tradition at its core. It will also incorporate concepts of affordability, safety, and home ownership.

Landford is pursuing next steps for this project, including possible sites in the Albina District. You can follow the project on facebook.

Survey looks at impact of COVID-19 on PSU students

As many as 47% of Portland State University students reported experiencing food insecurity before COVID-19, according to preliminary results from the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative’s study due out this fall.

Soon the center will send follow-up questions to approximately 600 students to better understand how COVID-19 is impacting the university’s most vulnerable members. 

“Given the financial ramifications of COVID, these students are now going to be all the more vulnerable for losing housing, not being able to find adequate food, and having health needs that aren’t being answered,” said Center Co-founder Greg Townley, principal investigator.

Researchers will gather the results of both surveys this summer and publish the results in the fall.
Photo by Doug Van Anda

PSU recognizes two of the center’s co-founders for excellence

Center Director Marisa Zapata and center Co-founder Maude Hines received 2020 Portland State University Faculty and Staff Excellence Awards. 
Every year the university recognizes faculty and staff in eight categories from leadership to research. Director Zapata was awarded the 2020 Portland State University Foundation Philanthropic Leadership Award.
This award was established by the PSU Foundation to recognize and support faculty for their work to strengthen and build new, meaningful philanthropic relationships in support of the University's work. 
Zapata’s work to garner support for the Homelessness Research & Action Collaborative was particularly compelling, according to the Philanthropic Award committee. 
Co-founder Maude Hines received the 2020 Portland State University Hoffman Award.
The Hoffmann Award is given in recognition of distinguished contributions to the university in instruction, university service, and scholarship done in the spirit of humanism, civility, and collegiality with particular dedication to students and loyalty to the University. 
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