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Home Forward: Combining efforts to create stories of success

Family survives with Home Forward's aid -

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Because of the assistance they received, the family was able to stand on their own in stable conditions. Home Forward has worked with many different people in East Multnomah County, and for as difficult as the housing situation has become, there are plenty of success stories to hang their hat on. Many of these come thanks to a concentrated effort from a variety of groups working to support and uplift those struggling to find homes.

Dan and Uma (names changed to protect their identity) lived with their two children who attended Alder Elementary — a school in the Reynolds District where Home Forward is one of many groups providing support to the children and families.

The family was in danger of becoming homeless after Dan lost his job, and though Uma still had employment and the family received food stamps, they were well below the poverty line, earning less that 30 percent of the area’s median income. Each month the family spent more than two thirds of their income maintaining their housing, which put them further behind on bills.

In the fall of 2012, Dan and Uma were referred to the Alder Housing program, run by Home Forward, and met regularly with their Human Solutions Alder Family Advocate. Dan’s criminal history was a barrier to finding employment. He asked for parenting classes to take the first step of gaining full custody of one of his children, and was referred to the Center for Family Success. The Family Advocate also provided bus tickets to attend those classes and search for a new job. They also referred him to the Human Solutions energy assistance program.

Later that year Dan was able to get a seasonal position earning $11, and a few months later he found a full-time, permanent position that earned $18 an hour.

Because of the assistance they received, the family was able to stand on their own in stable conditions.

“In one year the household was able to increase their income to over 80 percent of the area’s median, leaving poverty level wages far behind,” said Rachel Langford, the education director for Home Forward.