A new place to call home for kids aging out of foster care

A multi-year project for Home Builders Foundation came to a happy end in May with the ribbon-cutting event for the Dorothy Lemelson House and New Meadows Program.

Home Builders Foundation, Bridge Meadows and New Avenues for Youth joined forces to create an innovative housing community for youth aging out of the foster care program in Oregon. Leveraging Bridge Meadows intergenerational healing community and New Avenues for Youth self-sufficiency and life skills services expertise, they are combining resources to build and operate the Dorothy Lemelson House & New Meadows Program, a trauma-informed housing and life-skills program for young people ages 18-24. This new 10,700 sq. ft. community, made up of 10 studios and 5 one-bedroom apartments offers youth the benefits of intergenerational care and support.

The project broke ground in September 2017 with a large group in attendance to celebrate the project that had been 3+ years in the making. Located just one block away from the Bridge Meadows North Portland housing community, the Dorothy Lemelson House will offer former foster care youth a safe place to live while they pursue education and job training and practice and learn self-sufficiency skills, it is expected to officially open in July.

Home Builders Foundation and Renaissance Homes worked together to secure in-kind donations and discounts, and Renaissance also pledged a cash donation of $32,500 to support the project. “It’s just nice to do something really cool for people in the city we’ve worked in for 29 years,” said Randy Sebastian, president of Renaissance Homes. “I think the concept of Bridge Meadows is a neat deal for women and children and elders, so I’m excited to be a part of New Meadows.” Product and labor donations came in from Milgard Windows and Doors, Medallion Industries, OrePac, Globe Lighting, Corian, Delta, GE Appliances, Willamette Graystone, Hanover Architectural Products, Keller Supply, Lakeside Lumber and James Hardie. Walsh Construction served as the General Contractor for the project.

Many supporters attended the dedication event to celebrate the completion of New Meadows and get a tour of the facility. Dorothy Lemelson, local philanthropist and donor to the project, shared a few words and also celebrated her 92 birthday at the event. Longtime supporter, Dan Saltzman, Portland Commissioner and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler were also in attendance.

“As a city, seeking effective, humane, lasting solutions to homelessness is one of our top priorities. One of the best tools we have in that effort is to prevent homelessness where it can be prevented with the right support,” said Mayor Wheeler. “New Meadows will be a crucial stepping stone for these youth in maintaining and achieving self-sufficiency.”

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