Rockwood Building will help break cycle of poverty


A wise person knows this to be true: You will come to know the true value of your community by how well it reaches out to those least able to help themselves. In that spirit, Gresham residents can take pride in their community for what's happening at The Rockwood Building.

For those who missed it, The Outlook ran a story on the front page of its Wednesday, Aug. 24, edition, detailing a new building that soon will house Human Solutions and other nonprofit organizations. At face value, this is simply a new building at 124 N.E. 181st Ave., just north of East Burnside Street. But it's much, much more.

For Human Solutions, which pulled this project together, this $17 million building is a culmination of years of painstaking fundraising, grant writing and partnership building.

The truly exiting part of this new building is what it allows: The building becomes a one-stop, centralized destination for people in need. Along with the Human Solutions staff, the building will house:

• Mt. Hood Community College Head Start, providing preschool to children of low-income families;

• Loaves and Fishes will serve a noon meal to seniors and people with disabilities;

• Metropolitan Family Service will operate its Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) program, which offers school-based services aimed at improving academic success and strengthening families;

• Lifeworks NW will offer alcohol and drug treatment and mental-health services;

• Wallace Medical Concern will provide healh care to uninsured members of the community;

• Self Enhancement Inc. will work with at-risk urban youths;

• El Programa Hispano-Catholic Charities will provide its social services to low-income Latinos;

• Native American Youth Association will offer its programs; and,

• The top two floors of the three-story building provide 47 units, 32 studio-style affordable apartments and 15 apartments that are reserved for homeless families. These apartments are available to low-income residents and families who are homeless or on the brink of homelessness.

A combination of state and federal tax dollars and tax credits, along with private grants, made this project possible. In that sense, everyone who pays federal taxes became a partner in this project.

Closer to home, Human Solutions raised more than $1.5 million through donations from local foundations, businesses and individuals living in Multnomah County and in nearby communities.

These public and private dollars are wisely spent. Among the signs of a compassionate society should be its eagerness to lift people out of poverty and to send them forward into a more prosperous future.

People who are hungry, sick, homeless and under-educated have little hope of breaking the poverty cycle without help. It's organizations such as Human Solutions - with its new building - that ease these burdens and allow people to focus their energy on other things, such as education for themselves and their children.

We are a better community today because of the new Rockwood Building. Human Solutions can take a bow for getting the project rolling and seeing it through to completion.