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Empire Health Foundation Learning Session: Working Toward Culturally Responsive Housing Development

Written by Build Healthy Places Staff on October 12, 2022

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The Empire Health Foundation’s Building Equitable Economies Initiative is designed to support community-based organizations and small businesses from across the Inland Northwest region to develop the capacity to access American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars. This includes the Equitable Economies Community Learning Sessions, a gathering where community leaders can learn and engage in conversations regarding a variety of topics that emphasize community development and collaboration.

On May 25th, 2022, Empire Health Foundation’s Equitable Economies team presented a Community Learning Session that featured a presentation from Portland-based Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA)  entitled ‘Working Toward Culturally Responsive Housing Development’. 

In this presentation, Oscar Arana, Director of Community Development, shared the influential and pivotal aspects of NAYA’s journey to housing. NAYA’s story exemplifies the power of cross-sector partnerships that can support community-led solutions that bolster health equity, including creating access to affordable and culturally appropriate housing. 

Key learnings from the presentation include:

  • How a community organization that provides culturally specific programs and services is now engaged in building and managing a portfolio of affordable housing units for the Native community in Portland.
  • The significance of leveraging different partnerships and innovative financing to provide housing opportunities to the Native community, near the NAYA’s campus, community center, and services. 
  • The vital role of incorporating community engagement, art, and trauma informed design to the successful construction of housing that is culturally responsive to the Native communities NAYA serves.

To date the Building Equitable Economies Initiative program has granted over $450,000 to 25 organizations. You can learn more about the program with this quick factsheet.

Want to learn more about the themes highlighted in this post?  Please see additional Build Healthy Places Network Resources below: