July eNews: Community Conversation on Homelessness


I’m really glad that you are part of the Human Solutions family. Every month when I write this update to share, it heartens me to know that you are rooting us on. Our work can be hard, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Thanks for caring.

As usual, we have lots to cover!


First and foremost, I want to invite you to our first Community Conversation on Wednesday evening, August 7th from 6 to 8 PM. Do you have questions and/or thoughts about what’s going on in our community when it comes to homelessness? Let’s talk about them!

As an emergency shelter provider for women and families and an affordable housing developer and operator (among other programs we offer), we have expertise and opinions to share that we think might be relevant. We very much want to hear from you and respond to your questions. Please join us and invite friends who might be interested. Details are on our web page and on Facebook. No RSVP required, just drop in! Stark Street Station, our gracious host in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, has beer/wine, sweet treats and light dinner fare for purchase (lasagna, pot pies, quiche, etc…). Questions? Contact Lisa Frack, at 503.548.0282 or lfrack@humansolutions.org.


Romero Gonzalez is a single mother of four children and, like many (all?!) mothers, she had a dream for her children to graduate from high school and then college – every one of them. She entered our Alder Family Program* in 2012, and since then her dream has started to come true. Luis, her oldest who is now 18, graduated from high school last year and is currently enrolled at Portland Community College. Luis recently called Human Solutions’ Family Advocate, Yolanda, to thank her for helping him with his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). He received $3,000; enough to cover his full tuition for fall 2019!

Yolanda writes:

“I am so proud of this kiddo. I remember he wanted to give up because we were having trouble with FAFSA. I encouraged him to not to give up and keep trying. I also encouraged him to talk to his academic advisor at PCC, to ask the staff for help and to guide him with his Federal Student Aid.  Now he is successfully enrolled for classes this fall. This is why I love what I do, because we are here to support the whole family and give the children a chance to grow.”

* The Alder Family Program is an effective program that Human Solutions participates in with several other local providers (Home Forward and Greater Than). Its purpose is to help students who attend Alder Elementary School (in the Reynolds School District) to thrive in school and to help their families maintain stable housing so that students can remain in the same school. Housing instability too often causes kids to switch schools, which can hinder their education.


Our emergency shelter team maintains a Wish List on Amazon to make it super easy for you to contribute just what they need – by literally only lifting a finger! Next time you’re online (oh, you are right now!?!), check out what we are in need of and send us a package! Here’s the link.

Learn more here about Lilac Meadows, our new emergency shelter for families opening this summer.


Despite the unusual and dramatic end to our 2019 state legislative session, a lot of good bills became laws, many related to affordable housing. Human Solutions engages in advocacy related to housing and homelessness through the Oregon Housing Alliance, a statewide organization devoted to affordable housing for all Oregonians. We are grateful to be members of this dedicated group and proud of what we all accomplished together this session. As Alison McIntosh, the group’s terrific leader stated, “…we have helped secure significant resources to create and maintain more affordable homes, to prevent and end homelessness for more Oregonians, and to help people maintain access to affordable homeownership.” Read all the details on their blog.


The Warmth of Other Suns is Isabel Wilkerson’s epic story of America’s Great Migration. Wilkerson devoted 15 years to the research and writing of the book. She interviewed over 1,200 people, unearthed archival works and gathered the voices of the famous and the unknown to tell the epic story of the Great Migration, one of the biggest underreported stories of the 20th Century and one of the largest migrations in American history. The book was named to more than 30 Best of the Year lists, won the National Book Critics Circle Award, among other honors, and made national news when President Obama chose it for summer reading in 2011. In 2012, The New York Times named The Warmth of Other Suns to its list of the best nonfiction books of all time. It is important AND a page turner. We can’t put it down! Grab a copy at the Multnomah County library today!

Thanks, as always, for reading. I am grateful to you for your compassion for those among us in need right now. As the Dalai Lama has said, “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”

Radically yours,




Andy Miller, Executive Director

PS – You can *always* make a donation to fuel our work – it’s easy to do online: https://ourjustfuture.org/giving/