PortlandOnline

POL Government Elected Officials Commissioner Nick Fish
Mark finds his dream home - February 1, 2013

We have an inspiring story to share with you.

 

Recently, Oregonian columnist Steve Duin wrote about Mark Gunderson, a veteran struggling with homelessness.

 

In December, Mark was issued a VASH voucher. The VASH program provides veterans with rent assistance to help pay for a home, and case management and services through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

 

The challenge is that once he was issued a VASH voucher, Mark only had 90 days to find an apartment or else the voucher goes back into the pool. And with a tight rental market, many veterans are having difficulty finding an apartment to rent.

 

Here’s the good news: Mark has secured a new home at Weidler Commons, and is scheduled to move in today!

 

Weidler Commons is owned by our partner, Northwest Housing Alternatives, which has been serving our community for over 30 years.

 

There are many unsung heroes to thank, including the VA, Home Forward, and Mark’s case manager.

 

But special thanks go to Cascade Management CEO Dave Bachman, who read Steve Duin’s column and stepped up to rent Mark an apartment.

 

The VASH program was created to help men and women who served our country move from homelessness to self-sufficiency. But the program doesn't work if landlords don't rent to our veterans.

 

Recently the Portland Housing Bureau was proud to partner with Home Forward, Multnomah County, and United Way to help veterans overcome barriers to successfully using their vouchers.

 

Yesterday I attended a town hall on veterans and homelessness with VA Assistant Secretary Mooney and local leaders and partners. We discussed the progress we have made together, and the challenges ahead.

 

Thanks to strong partnerships, our community has helped nearly 270 veterans find a place to call home. That's a great success, but there are still dozens of veterans looking for homes to rent.

 

We call on landlords in our community to join with Cascade Management and others to open their doors to our veterans.

 

For more information on the program, email Home Forward at landlordservices@homeforward.org, or call (503) 802-8333, Option 6. Home Forward has created this fact sheet about how you can help.

 

Mark Gunderson is a veteran of Portland's war on homelessness

Steve Duin in The Oregonian

 

Mr. Gunderson finds his dream house

Steve Duin in The Oregonian

 

VIPs, volunteers and staffers convene to discuss veterans issues during annual homeless count

Mike Francis in The Oregonian