Portland, Ore. - Swakara Nettles is on the way up—and she's moving quickly. She and her daughter went from homelessness to a new life because of the "Bridges to Success" program at Evergreen Housing, a program administered by the Housing Authority of Portland. This Foundation grant allows Swakara to work toward a living-wage job by receiving housing, office-skills training and guidance in goal-setting and money management. An internship at Portland's Center for Family Success pays Swakara a salary while garnering her valuable experience to help secure a good job. Once her wages increase, part of the rent she pays will be put in an interest-bearing account, which she can someday use towards buying her own home.
The staff at Evergreen Housing are big believers in leveraging their resources. Using the Foundation grant, Evergreen Housing opened doors by presenting the Bridges to Success program to the local Workforce Investment Board. That relationship grew into a true partnership, eventually adding over $100,000 to Evergreen's funds for this groundbreaking program.
Participant, Bridges to Success
It's amazing to have this job training and internship opportunity. Bridges to Success helped me discover skills that I didn't know I had. I have a little girl who is ten. I knew that if I was going to provide her with what she'll need to be successful, I needed to make better than minimum wage. I needed to find a career, not just a job. Bridges to Success has opened doors that I assumed were not available for me. What a surprise! I'm learning that I can do anything when I put my mind to it, and I'm going to pass that message on to my daughter.
Executive Director, Housing Authority of Portland / President, Evergreen Housing
Everyone needs housing stability and gainful employment to live a safe, productive life. Our self- sufficiency programs, combined with affordable housing, give vulnerable families the tools they need to transition out of poverty. The job training that our workforce partners provide puts them on the path to higher-wage jobs and asset building. Foundation funding for the Bridges to Success program helped us to expand these essential training opportunities at a difficult time in our economy, and has helped us build strategic partnerships within the workforce community.