From the Director: Fall 2021

A Letter From Paul Solomon

Fall 2021

Dear Friends,

As we transition into fall and the weather begins to cool, I am reminded of the growing number of people in Lane County who are unhoused. With vacancy rates hovering around 3% in Lane County and the median rate for a one-bedroom apartment approaching $1,000 a month, accessing rental properties on the private market has become difficult, if not impossible, for many.

In response to the housing crisis, Sponsors has made strategic investments in Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) in recent years. Permanent Supportive Housing is an intervention that combines affordable housing with voluntary support services to address the needs of people who have struggled with homelessness. Today, Sponsors manages more than 125 PSH units, and we are actively planning our next project to continue this growth.

One of the ways that we have been able to expand housing opportunities is through our partnership with Homes for Good, Lane County’s Housing Authority. The two organizations have been working together for over 20 years. Homes for Good has acted as the developer on a number of housing projects, including: Roosevelt Crossing, Sponsors Transitional Housing for male-identifying participants; Bothy Cottage, housing for women reuniting with children; and The Oaks at 14th, a 54-unit PSH apartment community.

Our experience has taught us that housing stability is one of the best predictors of future success for the people we serve. For years, we have known this to be true. However, we now have empirical evidence from research conducted by scientists from New York University, the University of Texas, and the University of Oregon. We recently marked the three-year anniversary of The Way Home Reentry Collaborative, a PSH project designed to house homeless, indigent individuals released from state prison. The research findings show the tremendous impact of a supportive housing environment.

After three years, having served 138 people, 94% are still stably housed and only 6.4% have committed a new crime and returned to prison (recidivated). These results are incredible and illustrate the powerful impact of providing quality housing and supportive services.

Last week I was talking with a Sponsors participant who lives at The Oaks at 14th. I will call him Humberto. He is a friendly, soft-spoken, and jovial man in his mid-forties. Before he was housed at The Oaks three years ago, Humberto had been to prison twice, and been in and out of the county jail dozens of times. He struggled with chronic homelessness, substance abuse, and severe mental health challenges. Today, he is drug and alcohol free, and has a beautiful apartment adorned with plants, pictures and art. He has built a community of friends and has access to a network of support. He smiles with dignity and is eternally grateful for his home. Humberto is just one of many Sponsors residents who are flourishing in our housing programs. We believe that every person is deserving of a safe, affordable place to call home. We are committed, with your support, to ensuring that is a reality for as many people as possible…

Most sincerely,

Paul Solomon