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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

Promote the common good

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City/County Info: 503-823-4000

TDD: 503-823-6868

1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204


Sept. 17, 2020-SEED Grant Fund: Spotlight on Portland Community College (PCC)

If you are convicted of a crime and serve time, your punishment does not always end the day you are released to go home. Community members who have criminal records experience hardships with  finding housing, employment, and attending college. Portland Community College’s new program CLEAR Clinic, one of our SEED Grant Fund recipients, wants to help.

By hosting free Friday clinics, CLEAR Clinic, will support Portlanders encountering significant barriers to mobility and financial independence due criminal records. The Clinic will also help Portlanders who need legal assistance with evictions and immigration issues and provide services through PCC’s Community Workforce Development, Career Pathways, and the DREAMers Resource Center. Rakeem Washington, PCC’s Director of Access and Reentry, told us “[PCC has] deliberately structured the CLEAR Clinic to be at the intersection of education, career, social and legal services.  It is our intention to help participants find a pathway forward once the stress and weight of legal issues have been resolved.  The CLEAR Clinic aims to help create a Portland metropolitan area that values all of its residents and allows each person to shine their brightest, without being held back by legal issues.”

The CLEAR Clinic also benefits students currently enrolled in PCC’s Paralegal Program by coupling their curriculum with hands-on legal experience. Paralegal students will be invited to work at the Clinic with attorneys, social workers, and law students to gain legal experience, while increasing legal access and justice for our Portland community. 

For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, PCC’s Clear Clinic, please check out https://www.pcc.edu/clear-clinic/

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Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition.  Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community.

To learn more about upcoming SEED Grant funding opportunities, please sign up for our Civic Life semi-monthly newsletter HERE

Sept. 3, 2020-SEED Grant Fund: Spotlight on Worksystems

Group of people at Worksystem's event

Trying to get back on your feet after incarceration can be difficult. Beyond managing culture shock, parole, and legal fees, a previous criminal record can limit housing and job options. According to 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipient, Worksystems, people re-entering their community after incarceration are often forced to take temporary jobs to support their immediate needs. However necessary, these short-term jobs can distract from long-term career goals, do not guarantee financial security, and often result in homelessness. And once someone experiences homelessness it is difficult to secure employment, resulting in a cycle of homelessness, unemployment, and recidivism.

Worksystems’ SEED Grant Fund program Housing Support for Justice Involved Portlanders Pursuing Middle Income Careers will provide 30 people re-entering their community from incarceration with the important combination of integrated housing and employment services. According to a 2018 report commissioned by Meyer Memorial Trust, when Worksystems provided general housing aid and workforce development, participants were 38% more likely to complete occupational training, 67% more likely to obtain employment, and earned nearly twice the income.

To meet one of the SEED Grant Fund’s goals of serving communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition, 100% of participants will be low-income with 30% or less of Median Family Income, 100% will be homeless or facing eviction, and 75% will identify as African American or Native American. Stacey Triplet, Worksystems’ Community Program manager states, “[The funds received] by the SEED Grant Fund will support people as they are going through the program so that they can complete the training, and obtain employment-- which greatly improves their ability to earn and provide long-term stability for themselves and their families, We cannot wait to make a contribution to meeting this urgent need in our community.”

For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, Worksystems, please check out https://www.worksystems.org

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Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition.  Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community.

To learn more about upcoming SEED Grant funding opportunities, please sign up for our Civic Life semi-monthly newsletter HERE

Aug. 28, 2020-SEED Grant Fund: Spotlight on VOZ

Day laborers are temporary workers. They often face multiple barriers to long-term employment including citizenship status and homelessness. During the 1990s, immigration officials and local police used enforcement tactics that exacerbated the barriers to employment that day laborers already experienced. In response, day laborers began organizing to end targeted I.C.E. raids and successfully began reclaiming stolen wages. As their organizing built momentum, the project grew into an organization—Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project (Voz). Today, Voz is a worker-led organization that strives to improve working conditions for day laborers and protect their civil rights through leadership development, organizing, education, and economic opportunity.

José de Jesús, a day laborer and Voz participant, said “The center is a bridge to finding stable jobs. Here, if someone wants to work, they can. My experience here has been one of learning—how to paint, a little bit of English. I didn’t have the opportunity to go to school, so I learnt all the English I know here.” A SEED Grant Fund awardee, Voz plans to use the grant to grow their workforce development program so that hardworking Portlanders like José de Jesús can join trainings that expand their soft skills such as teamwork, work ethic, and conflict resolution. And because day labors must look for a new job each morning with no guarantee of future income, Voz has designed the training program to be flexible. Day laborers can work through the trainings at their own pace and includes a combination of on-site classroom education so they can build skills while they wait for work and, paid field experiences.

Voz also plans to use their Grant funds to recruit and expand opportunities for woman day laborers, a population in need of economic empowerment. Voz’s Executive Director, Osmani R. Alcaraz-Ochoa, states, “Thanks to this grant, we finally have the resources to get started. This is an urgent need in the community because so many workers in the Portland metro, particularly immigrant women, are currently facing unemployment, discrimination, labor rights violations, and unsafe working conditions…We’re looking forward to becoming a hub for immigrant and working women who want to organize and build power in this city.”

For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, Voz, please check out https://portlandvoz.org/

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Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition.  Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community.

To learn more about upcoming SEED Grant funding opportunities, please sign up for our Civic Life semi-monthly newsletter HERE. 

 

Aug. 20, 2020 - SEED Grant Fund: Spotlight on Latino Network

 

Picture Credit: Latino Network

(August 20, 2020) We have a habit of telling youth that they can have a promising future if they work hard for it. “We live in a land of opportunity!” “Pick yourself up by your bootstraps!” “You need to practice GRIT!” But what these statements fail to acknowledge is that an individual’s success is not simply determined by an individual’s effort. In fact, real success also depends on the support received from family, community, and society at large.

This is where Latino Network’s Mink’a Program takes the lead and provides support for Latino youth. The word “mink’a” is an Inca tradition of voluntary collective labor to benefit the larger community. According to Latino Network , a Portland-based non-profit organization, Latinos are the fastest growing population in Oregon, yet Latino families face poverty 152% higher than White families and many families live in neighborhoods that lack community benefits such as parks and healthy food.

The Mink’a program works with Latino youth who have been arrested for minor offenses or youth who are already in criminal justice system. It will help these youth and their families by providing access to therapy, attorneys , mentorship, and after school programs. Ximena Ospina-Todd, the director of youth empowerment and violence prevention, said about the SEED Fund Grant, “The money we are receiving is going to communities that are most criminalized, and I see it as going full circle to where it is most needed. A lot of our youth have minor offenses, and this allows us to help them stay safe and out of the system and have a path to a positive, successful future.”

Mink’a staff  will use their past experiences and partnerships to assist family members and community impacted by incarceration.  Pamela Padilla, a Latino Network employee, said about Mink’a program shift during COVID-19, “We look forward to continuing to support our families and youth in accessing vital services during these stressful and difficult times. With the additional funding provided to our program, we will be able to increase levels of support for our most vulnerable families and ensure our families are connected to and accessing services. We are also excited about being able to provide a wide array of zoom workshops for our youth: barbering, hair braiding, Chicano art, and graffiti art.”

For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, Latino Network, please check out https://www.latnet.org/

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Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition.  Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community.

To learn more about upcoming SEED Grant funding opportunities, please sign up for our Civic Life semi-monthly newsletter HERE. 

Aug. 14, 2020 - SEED Grant Fund: Spotlight on POIC + RAHS

POIC student and a teacher working at a site.

Recently, the City of Portland Cannabis Program announced its 2020 SEED Grant Fund recipients. The fund provides support to non-profit and for-profit entities working toward restitution and restoration of BIPOC communities negatively impacted by racially-biased cannabis prohibition.  Over the next few weeks, we will present a series highlighting the grantees and the wonderful work they are doing to empower our Portland community.

(August 14, 2020) The last time you were stuck in traffic, did you drive past construction workers skillfully using tools such as cranes, framing hammers, and chisels and wonder how they learned their trade? POIC + RAHS Construction Pre-Apprenticeship program, a 2020 Social SEED Grant Fund recipient, is working to expand and support who is eligible for these construction-specific jobs.

“The demographic that POIC + RAHS primarily targets, it is no secret that they have been marginalized and affected by cannabis laws.” explained Charles Manigo during his 2019 presentation to Portland City Council. “Last year we had a young lady who was released from prison and she came to us wanting to be in our Construction Pre-Apprenticeship program, but she had a lot of barriers… because of the grant, we were able to get her childcare, a driver’s license, set her up with a bank account, and financial literacy classes.”

According to Multnomah County findings, between 2001 and 2010, Black people were three times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession compared to whites in Oregon, even though research indicates they use cannabis at similar rates. Overcoming an arrest or conviction of cannabis possession can take years and can cause a lifetime of negative impacts including loss of work, freedom, parents, and partners, as well as denied loans, housing, student aid, and custody.

POIC + RAHS understands these difficulties and is committed to reinvesting in communities impacted by cannabis prohibition. When asked to reflect on the impact of their project, Director of Employment and Training, Megan Bell explained, "Construction is an incredible opportunity for the young adults we work with, especially those that have a prior arrest or conviction that may impact their employability in other sectors. I would like to see more apprenticeship programs pledge a commitment to hiring graduates from pre-apprenticeship programs.”

Due to COVID-19, the program had to temporarily stop but is now starting again with the addition of a new comprehensive safety plan to protect trainees and staff. Director of Development, Ruben Fonseca, said about the program’s reopening, “The health and welfare of our participants is our top priority, and we are happy to resume this critical program soon – the right way. POIC Construction Pre-Apprenticeship is helping their students complete their training and get into the workforce as soon as possible.”

For more information about 2020 SEED Grant Recipient, POIC + RAHS, please check out https://www.portlandoic.org/

To learn more about upcoming SEED Grant funding opportunities, please sign up for our Civic Life semi-monthly newsletter here:  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/civic/78721