Our Native American community has come together since time immemorial to identify priorities, solve problems and create positive change for our people. Portland’s Native American people, combining our diverse strengths, are united to address a long-standing inequity: one in five Native American children in Multnomah County is in child welfare custody – a rate 26 times higher than White children. Removed from our culture, our youth are more likely to age out of foster care, experience homelessness, drop out of high school, fail to obtain a diploma, and experience mental health and wellness issues. Our community, working with private and public partners, has devised an intervention – a place to provide Native American foster youth homes, families, and support to break the cycle of child welfare removal in our community.
Overview of Generations Project
Generations will be an intergenerational community of stable housing for foster children, parents wishing to adopt, and community Elders. We are proud to announce that the Grand Opening of Generations will take place February 28, 2017th. In partnership with Portland Public Schools, an on-site Early Learning Academy will provide education opportunity for youth age 0-5. A community center styled after a Northwest Native American Long House will provide supportive services in education, family workforce readiness, and a community health clinic. NAYA is proud to partner in this effort with Portland Public Schools and the City of Portland. This partnership led Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to designate Generations as an “Oregon Solutions” project, bringing multi-sector organizations together to collaborate on this project. An innovative and inclusive planning process resulted in a Declaration of Cooperation, signed in July 2014, by the partners, with Oregon Department of Human Services, Oregon Child Development Coalition, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Multnomah County, Lents Neighborhood Association, Capital Pacific Bank, Guardian Real Estate Services, Carleton Hart Architecture, LMC Construction, Legacy Health, and Social Venture Partners.
How It Works
- Generations places 40 units of housing, the Early Learning Academy and the Long House in Portland’s southeast Lents neighborhood, at the 3.5 acre site of a former public elementary school. The site is near transit, shopping and public parks.
- Community members at Generations are not “clients.” They are families, neighbors and friends who are all deserving of love, respect and dignity.
- Native American youth and their siblings in foster care are connected to adoptive parents in stable, affordable housing.
- Community Elders become adopted grandparents and mentors who can “age in place” with a renewed sense of purpose, helping with child care and providing wisdom.
- Given the opportunity to care for one another, community members come together to become a first line of intervention.
- The Early Learning Academy and Long House create a center of community. A community like this can reduce poverty, improve health and wellness, and rebuild the cultural fabric of the Native community.
- To the youth, parents, and Elders who live there, Generations is simply, finally, home.
- “Caring for each other, we learn from and respect one another… from generation to generation, our elders cherish our youth who in turn honor their elders.” – Ruth Jensen, Tlingit.
- “NAYA is a vital part of addressing the social and educational disparities facing the large and vulnerable population of Native Americans in Portland.” – Joe Finkbonner, Lummi, Executive Director, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board
- “NAYA serves Portland’s urban Indian population in many vital ways, from our precious youth to our respected Elders. We are blessed to have this resource here, to ensure our people continue to thrive for generations to come.” – Paul Lumley, Executive Director, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
- “The leadership of Bridge Meadows supports the Generations project, because we have already seen that the Native American community has a great need for intergenerational services and particularly for culturally-relevant services in this area. The potential for bringing about lasting improvement in the community and the lives of people of all ages are undeniable.” – Dr. Derenda Schubert, Executive Director, Bridge Meadows
- “The Generations project is a clear and thoughtful strategy to implement the shared vision of a culturally-informed intergenerational community that will educate and uplift foster children, the Lents neighborhood, and the local Native American community.” – Carole Smith, Superintendent, Portland Public Schools
- “NAYA is a critical resource for every member of Portland’s Native community, from our esteemed elders to our youngest children. Giving to NAYA is an investment in a healthy and vibrant Native American community in Portland.” – Eddie Sherman, Executive Director, Oregon Native American Chamber of Commerce
Our Funding Strategy
- The total project budget for Generations – land, construction, and soft costs – is estimated to be $22,100,000.
- Almost half of the project funding has been committed at the current time.
- With a recently-announced award of Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) from the State of Oregon Department of Housing and Community Services, funding for the housing component of the project is in place.
- Funding strategies for other program elements are under active development. NAYA’s community supporters – individuals, families, and businesses – will be invited to plan their philanthropic support, as critical partners in achieving the vision this project represents.