Housing: A Key Component of Health
Over the past year, in addition to the health risks of COVID-19, many of Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens have struggled with the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Thousands of Oregonians are at risk of being evicted, and the process of distributing federally-allocated funds has been slow. Since the Oregon Emergency Rental Assistance program launched in May 2021, nearly 38,000 Oregon households have requested more than $266 million in aid. More than 13,000 additional applications remain incomplete, while more than 24,000 are still being processed or need additional information from landlords or tenants (Oregon Capital Chronicle). This leaves vulnerable Oregonians in a tenuous position and many experts predict a historic housing crisis without significant additional intervention.
At Project Access NOW, a focus on the social determinants of health drives much of the work we do to improve the health of the Portland metro area. Safe, affordable housing plays a key role in improving a wide range of health and quality-of life risks and outcomes. Since its inception in 2014, the PANOW C3 Community Assistance Program (C3CAP) has facilitated safe hospital discharge for marginalized individuals, often those who are houseless or in extreme poverty. Last year, the program responded to 19,543 requests for assistance, aiding 10,902 clients with access to basic services (such as emergency housing, transportation, and food). Through work with one regional hospital system, PANOW support avoided over 1,700 hospital stays by securing 10,000+ hotel nights for vulnerable patients leaving the system. This allows patients to heal safely and avoid emergency readmission, while saving hospital space for those who need it, and ultimately holding down healthcare costs.
The below client story reflects the impact of this work on the ground and its importance to the health and safety of our community.*
A health care provider, treating a low-income patient with a life-threatening condition, recently reached out to Project Access NOW staff for assistance. The individual is unable to work due to their condition and unable to pay rent. While the patient applied for rent assistance, they have not yet received support. Their rent is due in a few days and the individual believes the landlord will evict them for non-payment.
C3CAP was able to respond immediate, providing rent assistance to bridge the gap until federal rent assistance is received. The individual, actively receiving treatment for a chronic condition, was able to stay in their home and received a resolution within days.
Says Myrna Valdez, C3CAP Program Manager, “Our program is an essential safety net for our community’s most vulnerable individuals. Not only do we promote equity, we also provide support that increases the efficiency of the health care system. When patients’ basic needs are taken care of, they are better able to focus on a return to health. When providers receive the support and technical assistance they need, they can focus on their core business – providing quality health care. Every day we are reaching the most acutely vulnerable Portland residents, and it is an honor to be able to provide some help.”
*Based on actual events, with some details changed to protect privacy.
We are Hiring!
We are hiring for three positions open in the Outreach, Enrollment, and Access Program: two Program Specialists and one temporary Administrative Support Specialist.
PANOW: One of the “100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon”
A record number of Project Access NOW staff participated in the Oregon Business survey, “100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon.” Results are out, and we are so proud to be listed among the top organizations regionally! It is truly our staff who make PANOW’s work possible, working tirelessly to fulfill the organization’s mission and make Oregon a better and more equitable place.
This month, we are continuing our weekly vaccination clinics at the Beaverton Resource Center (13565 SW Walker Rd. Beaverton, OR 97005). Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Moderna 12+
10/22/21 – 9:00am – 1:00pm (Sign up)
10/29/21 – 9:00am – 1:00pm (Sign up)
First, second, or booster shots are available! You do not need to sign up in advance but you may, by clicking “sign up” for select events.
You may also reach PANOW at 503-345-7031 with questions or concerns.
1) Older adults age 65+ and those living in long-term care facilities
2) Adults ages 50-64 at high risk of severe COVID-19, due to underlying medical conditions
3) Adults ages 18-49 at high risk of severe COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions should consider a booster based on an assessment of their individual benefits and risks and consultation with their medical provider.
4) Adults age 18-64 for people whose jobs put them at high risk for COVID-19
Your Voice: The Community Health Needs Assessment
The Healthy Columbia Willamette Collaborative is requesting community feedback from residents of Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington, or Clark County, on their community health needs. As a partner also supporting collaborative health system investment, PANOW believes making your voice heard is one of your greatest opportunities for change.
Report on Vaccine Equity in Washington County
Washington County Health and Human Services recently released a report on work to achieve vaccine equity in Washington County. We are honored to work alongside and our many partners, to administer vaccines and reach the most underserved Portland metro communities. Due in part to our Beaverton Resource Center-hosted vaccine clinics, and those of our valued peers, Washington County was the first county in the state to vaccinate 80% of all adults.
Says the report: “There is still a vaccination equity gap…the promising news is that our collaborative efforts with community partners are working.”
Carly Hood-Ronick, MPA, MPH