One week, four stories
JOIN does the hard, day-by-day work of supporting people who have been left behind by the system, who have been in the position of being victims of systemic oppression–our work helps them build more sustainable lives: this is a glimpse of what that looks like.
Bob has a housing voucher. Although he had been stable for years, working with several Retention Workers over his time with JOIN, the social distancing measures triggered past trauma and activated some significant PTSD in Bob. Suddenly, Bob was experiencing breaks with reality and faced eviction for noise complaints. Sia helped prepare Bob’s case for the eviction court, get temporarily settled in a motel, and then move into a new apartment.
Steve and Pete are two brothers with disabilities. While they both receive social security income, it hasn’t been enough to cover all of their living expenses. They got evicted from their downtown apartment for a myriad of minor lease violations, but it felt like they had been bullied out of their apartment for being Black. Sia lost touch with the brothers as they were couch surfing, but recently reconnected. Sia helped them find an apartment on the outskirts of town, away from the busy-ness and triggers of downtown, and is helping them identify resources in their neighborhood to stretch their budgets (food pantries, libraries, etc.) The more important yet challenging work is the soft support, the conversations to help troubleshoot potential problems with neighbors, to talk through solutions, and offer support, compassion, and a helpful hand. Retention workers are walking alongside our friends as they navigate the barriers that have a deep and unrelenting impact on their housing situations and their lives.
A family has been connected with JOIN for many years, and is now on Sia’s caseload. Despite doing everything possible to figure out how to be self-sufficient, they still are in need of help. The family was eligible for a housing voucher through another agency based on their many vulnerabilities– but they’re facing a tough decision where one of their family members wouldn’t be able to stay in the household due to their immigration status. The agency is setting the condition that every adult be listed on the lease, even though it’s exceptionally difficult for undocumented folks to be allowed onto leases. Sia helped the family navigate this situation and advocated for a culturally-specific worker from the other agency to work with the family to resolve this issue.
In a case that serves as the exception to prove the rule, Sia helped Tim with a straightforward situation. Tim, who is white, male, and cisgender, had an opportunity to move into an affordable housing unit after a moderate wait. Sia was able to help him pay the deposit and get moved into the new place. She doesn’t anticipate needing to work as closely with him as with the other folks on her caseload. Though he does have a disability, he’s free from many other intersecting barriers that would complicate his situation and make it unmanageable.
JOIN’s 83% retention rate of households that remain safe housing is a direct result of JOIN’s Retention Team doing the incredible yet strenuous work of making sure our neighbors not only remain in permanent housing but that they can navigate barriers that keep them from thriving in their community.
With the threat of 90,000 Oregonians facing evictions in addition to those already unhoused, we know there are so many more individuals out there who need support from Sia and other members of our Retention Team to secure and sustain safe, stable housing. Your donation will make a tremendous impact in making sure we achieve that goal.
Thanks to the support of the Ed Cauduro Fund at OCF, you can double your impact! The Ed Cauduro Fund will match every gift we receive up to $10,000! Double your impact today!