Housing is key to flourishing and equitable communities
When housing costs rise too high, households and families have to make brutally difficult choices between making the rent and paying for food, medicine, utilities, transportation or other basic necessities. A growing body of research shows that housing instability contributes directly to poor performance in school, difficulties getting and keeping a good job, and poor health outcomes.
High rents are far from the only urgent housing issue in the state. Achieving a truly flourishing and equitable Oregon will require us to overcome serious issues, including substandard housing conditions, unfair housing policy and unequal access to affordable housing, increasing the overall supply of affordable housing, and coordination with essential services.
To get there, we must first face hard truths about racism and white supremacy that are deeply entrenched in our nation and our state. At Meyer, we root our approach in racial equity first, along with the other types of oppression that often layer on top of racism: sexism, ableism, anti-immigration and colorism, to name a few.
Meyer is proud to support a strong network of nonprofit partners across the state addressing these issues through the lens of racial equity and justice. Our Housing Opportunities portfolio’s core goals (listed below) address housing development and preservation, housing support services and sector strengthening. We will continue to use targeted strategies to explore innovation, support systems change and leverage resources to meet the housing needs of Oregonians facing the greatest housing instability.
After five years and $16 million in focused investments to address urgent housing challenges across Oregon, Meyer staff reflects on the challenges, setbacks, clear “wins” and lessons learned from designing and implementing a strategic philanthropic initiative. This report summarizes the high level takeaways from our work on the Affordable Housing Initiative from 2014-2019, including the perspectives of dozens of our key partners in the field — nonprofits, peer funders and government.
- Preserve + increase the number of affordable housing rental units
- Support the housing stability + success of priority populations
- Foster stronger, more equitable and more effective affordable housing systems and strategies
- New units: Increased number of affordable rental housing units and homeownership for priority populations
- Preservation: Strengthened long-term physical and financial viability of existing affordable housing units
- Access: Increased access to available housing for priority populations
- Retention: Improved housing stability and retention for priority populations
- Advancement: Increased opportunities for priority populations to build the resources and skills necessary to advance toward their housing goals
- Mitigate displacement: Increased opportunities for renters and homeowners affected by displacement to remain in their existing homes or communities
- Community influence: Communities most impacted by housing disparities are driving decisions around resources, policies and systems
- Innovation and scaling: Innovative and transformational strategies are developed and expanded
- Capacity: Strengthened skills and capacity of affordable housing organizations contribute to increased effectiveness, efficiency and long-term health
- Collaboration: Increased coordination and alignment among a broad range of organizations and systems that impact residents’ lives and lead to better outcomes
- Equity commitment: Equity Focus: Increased equity commitment among affordable housing organizations and improved understanding of how to advance diversity, equity and inclusion through their work
Community influence: Communities most impacted by housing disparities are driving decisions around resources, policies and systems
- Policy- and systems-level change: Increased affordable and equitable housing opportunities and reduced housing disparities through changes in public policy, systems and institutional practices
For specific and discrete projects that are of high priority to an organization and its community or constituents
To strengthen an organization’s ability and infrastructure to advance its mission
To support the purchase or construction of capital assets expected to have a long useful life
For an organization’s overall strategic goals