Dear JOIN Friends and Supporters,
JOIN has been my professional home for many years, first as an organizer, then a lawyer working with JOIN’s community, then as a board member, and, finally, for the past eight years, as Executive Director. To say it has been an honor to be a part of this organization doesn’t begin to capture the significance of JOIN in my personal and professional journey.
At the end of January, I will be moving on to a new position, no longer at JOIN but still very much connected to JOIN’s vision for creating a community where homelessness, if it exists at all, is a short-term circumstance rather than a long-term or chronic condition. I am honored to have been asked by the Multnomah County Chair to direct our new community-wide initiative to end homelessness, “A Home for Everyone.”
The governing body for the initiative brings together elected and appointed leaders from the City of Portland, the City of Gresham, Multnomah County, Home Forward, and Meyer Memorial Trust. Over the coming year, it will be my task to work with these leaders and the staff people in the participating jurisdictions to make real progress toward ending homelessness in our community.
I would feel completely unprepared for a challenge like this if it were not for what I have learned over these years from all of the amazing people connected to JOIN – the hundreds of people who have made the transition from homelessness to housing, the staff who have dedicated their lives to helping people living on our streets, and the scores of community partners who share JOIN’s passion for ending homelessness.
A transition in leadership is always a significant event for an organization, but JOIN has never been about any one individual. It is a community, where everyone is invested in the mission and puts all they have into meeting the needs of the people we serve. JOIN is headed into 2015 as strong as we have ever been, with a dedicated board of directors and a staff with decades of experience implementing JOIN’s programs.
JOIN’s Deputy Director, Will Harris, will serve as the interim executive director starting February 1, 2015. With over 20 years of experience, Will is an ideal person to lead JOIN while we search for JOIN’s next permanent executive director. A Board/Staff transition committee is leading the search with the assistance of an exceptional local consultant. The position is posted now on JOIN’s website (www.joinpdx.org).
I have had the incredible good fortune to spend the last two decades of my life working on what I am most passionate about – helping individuals escape the tragedy of homelessness through direct service and systems change. There is no better organization I could have worked for than JOIN.
I am deeply grateful to everyone who continues to make JOIN’s work possible, and even as I leave my current role I remain fully committed to JOIN’s mission and the vital work that JOIN does. I thank everyone who supports JOIN for the opportunity you have given me to serve as JOIN’s director and I look forward to JOIN’s continued leadership in our community’s effort to end homelessness.
With tremendous gratitude,