Over the past five years Habitat for Humanity of Oregon has raised and distributed $2,397,476 in financial assistance (29.5% in revolving loan funds and the remainder in grants) to Oregon Habitat affiliates. HFHO writes, presents and administers grant proposals both nationally and locally to secure funding for Habitat homeownership and repair programs. We also coordinate employee charitable fund drives across the state and the Oregon Charitable Tax Check-Off Program. One highlight has been The Collins Foundation’s recent decision to provide $75,000 in pass-through funding for Oregon affiliates, as well as $25,000 for HFHO operational support.
Technical Assistance and Training
More than 250 participants from Hawaii, Washington and Oregon joined us for the first tri-state affiliate fall conference. This training and networking event took place October 23-24 in Portland, Oregon. Affiliate Board members, volunteers and staff had the opportunity to participate in six learning tracks: Leadership & Management, Construction Technology, Homeowner Services, Volunteer Management, Donor Development, and ReStore Management. Due to the success of the “Habitat Heroes” conference, Hawaii and Washington have confirmed that they will continue to partner in this way.
In spring of 2015, HFHO piloted a regional training model. George Meyers of gmars consulting hosted three “Mission Possible: Board Excellence” trainings in Medford, Salem and Sisters. The response was tremendous, with 75 Board members and Executive Directors participating from 18 affiliates.
Affiliate networking groups in each of five specialty areas meet quarterly to share best practices and take advantage of training opportunities from industry experts. Customized affiliate consultations compliment group training opportunities, in areas such as Board development, fundraising and strategic planning. Training calls provide a cost-effective forum for training and best-practice sharing.
HFHO acts as a direct liaison between Habitat for Humanity affiliates and the government of the State of Oregon. In this role, HFHO is responsible for educating elected officials and employees of the state regarding issues that impact Affiliates. Examples include affordable housing, mortgage lending and home building. To amplify the voice of Habitat in Oregon, the Executive Director actively participates in both the Oregon Housing Alliance and the Oregon Opportunity Network State Policy Council.
On Feb. 5, 2015 we hosted our first-ever advocacy day: Habitat at the Capitol. Affiliate staff and Board members from across the state completed 30 legislative visits. Their collective voices bolstered the efforts of Rep. Gomberg (D) from Lincoln County and Rep. Whisnant (R) from Sunriver who cosponsored HB 2690. This bill was designed to allow Habitat affiliates to hold land tax-free for future development. HB 2690 passed with overwhelming support. Thanks to the success of this legislation, Habitat affiliates will save approximately $200,000 each year to build and repair homes. Plans are already underway for the 2016 interim session, where we will advocate to create a statewide Habitat mortgage leveraging program—based on a model working effectively in eight other states. We are especially grateful to Meyer Memorial Trust for providing a $35,000 grant to help underwrite this important work as part of their Affordable Housing Iniatitive.
HFHO promotes awareness of the impact of disasters in affiliate service areas, development of continuity of business operations plans and involvement in local emergency management system recovery planning. In 2013, University of Oregon graduate student Casey Hagerman created a disaster Preparedness Plan for HFHO. He also assisted two affiliates with the creation of their own plans. A Disaster Preparedness Plan template is freely available for Habitat Affiliates in Oregon.