Fall 2022 Newsletter

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Message from our Executive Director

Executive Director, Allan Lazo.

Join Us in Committing to an Equitable Recovery for All 

Depending on your individual circumstances and personal choices, you may find yourself, like me, slowly returning to elements of “normal” life again, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

But, as we make that return, we must not forget that “normal” wasn’t working for many of our neighbors and many of our communities.

While many of us are eager to return to a life before quarantines and masks, we must recognize that the life to which we are working so hard to return still is fraught with great inequity and great injustices. 

In many cases, those persistent inequities and injustices have been significantly exacerbated during the crises of the past two years with more looming on the horizon in the years of recovery to come.

During these times, we need to commit to the ideal that equitable community development must include supporting equitable recovery and building equitable resilience in all communities. 

Equitable outcomes are best informed by finding and maintaining connections to the most-impacted community members. If you’re a decision-maker, are you committed to making connections with those communities and inviting those connections to influence your decisions? If you’re a community member, are you committed to continuing to push for equitable recovery and community resiliency?

Read More Here

Supporting Statewide Partner Events

Georgia Smith, Olalla Center’s Community Outreach Coordinator with Eliza Galaher, our E&O Specialist.

Newport Pride Festival

We were excited to sponsor and participate in the Newport Pride Festival, which took place on September 17th, and are thrilled that our partner support funding helped to make this event possible.

Our support funding helped secure a larger space – which is great because thanks to the increased advertising that our funding also helped support, there were over 300 attendees! The festival offered food, a DJ, face painting, and festival schwag, and had 50 resource and vendor tables set up, including local artists and healthcare providers. Organizations in attendance included My Sister’s Place, Cascade Relief Team, and Newport County Parks and Rec, just to name a few.

Eliza Galaher, our North & Central Coast Education & Outreach Specialist, was present at the event to share information and resources with attendees and connect directly with LGBQTIA+ community members from across the region. We also offered eventgoers the chance to sign up for fair housing courses and shared information about our upcoming online trainings. You can find more information about these courses and trainings here on our webpage.

Welcoming Week in Bend

As an official Welcoming City, the City of Bend organized a week-long celebration with events from Sept. 8 – Sept. 19. We were honored to join in the celebration, represented in person by our Central Oregon Education & Outreach Specialist, Jeanette Small. On September 16th we hosted a no-cost in-person, Introduction to Fair Housing, at the Haven in Bend. The presentation included a review of some best practices and some red flags in housing market transactions, to help people seeking housing and housing providers better understand their rights and responsibilities.

Home4Hope Coalition Community Connect & Veterans Stand Down in Eastern Oregon

On October 13th, our Eastern Oregon Education & Outreach Specialist, Glenda Moyer, will be representing FHCO at a resource fair in Hermiston, Oregon, hosted by Home4Hope Coalition Community Connect & Veterans Stand Down. The resource fair targets residents of Umatilla and Morrow counties and focuses on preventing houselessness and providing resources to veterans in those communities. We are also supporting advertising for the event with partner support funds, including the creation of radio ads and flyers in both English and Spanish and surveys that will be sent out after the event.

Celebrating Our Partner Successes

Unite Oregon

This past summer, we partnered with Unite Oregon to raise awareness about their Rogue Valley Housing for All Campaign. This campaign began as a response to the extreme increase in the cost of affordable housing and emergency housing in the Rogue Valley region in recent years.

They were able to reach 2,500 community members this past summer through media outreach, one-on-ones, community events, and partnerships. They also reached an additional 2,000+ people on social media. We also partnered with Unite Oregon to hold two bilingual fair housing and Rogue Valley Campaign awareness meetings with a total of 57 attendees where resources and services offered by FHCO were shared. Unite Oregon also held two community events: Ballet Folklorico Annual Gala 2022 and Medford Pride 2022, distributing approximately 600 fair housing fliers and brochures in both English and Spanish.

We also hosted a Fair Housing Training that was attended by a Rogue Valley Chapter Leadership Council member and several Leadership Council members, as well as a staff member of Unite Oregon who continued to connect with us after the training for coaching and support as needed throughout the life of the project.

Creating Opportunities

We have partnered with Creating Opportunities to create fair housing informational postcards for them to share with their network of followers. The entire project consists of 47 total postcards, all containing valuable fair housing knowledge that is geared towards benefiting the specific communities they serve. Each week, Creating Opportunities shares one of these postcards to their social media. Be sure to like and follow them on your favorite platform to catch them all!

Upcoming Trainings

Source of Income as a State Protected Class in Oregon

About this webinar:

One of the most common concerns we hear both among people seeking housing and their housing advocates is that landlords don’t accept housing choice vouchers, commonly known as Section 8 vouchers. In this half-hour seminar we will discuss what housing choice vouchers are, how they fall under the protected class of Source of Income under Oregon Law, and what the barriers are that people face in landlords complying with that law. Rental assistance programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), SSI, and SSDI will also be explored as protected under Source of Income. All are welcome to attend!

Register Here

Meet our New Staff

Mel Keller
(she/her/hers)

South & Mid-Willamette Valley Education & Outreach Specialist

Q: Where are you from and what town or city do you live in now? How long have you been living where you are now?

A: I currently live in Eugene, Oregon, but I grew up in the Chicago suburbs! I have lived in Oregon for three years and love it!

Q: Briefly describe your professional/educational background. 

A: I have two masters’ degrees, one from the London School of Economics in Comparative Politics and one from the University of Oregon in Political Science. I studied how racial discrimination impacted the creation of the American welfare state, as well as how veterans are treated in different countries and how they fit in with social services. Aside from my academic work, I have a background in nonprofit work and union organizing, both of which give me a great perspective to bring to FHCO!

Q: What sparked your desire to work for FHCO?

A: I have always been passionate about addressing inequality in the United States and working for the Fair Housing Council of Oregon allows me to share this passion with the public, educating folks on how they can address and combat institutional inequalities that exist in the United States. I firmly believe that education and knowledge are the best tools to create change, and I am excited to be a part of this work!

Q: What is your favorite way to spend your time when off the clock?

A: I enjoy baking and knitting, as well as spending time with my chihuahua, Apollo!

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