Community members gathered to break ground on the first phase of Native American Youth and Family Services (NAYA) Generations; a community development project designed around an early learning center, a community longhouse, and intergenerational housing community in the Native American tradition.
The project will bring foster children, permanent families, and elders together into a mutually-supportive and service-intensive community.
“The Generations project is important to the Portland Native community because Native children are overrepresented in the State’s Foster Care system,” said Rey Espana, deputy director of the NAYA Family Center.
“This project is a positive response to withdraw Native children from the foster care system and into permanent homes for adoption and or permanent guardianship.”
One in five Native American children in Multnomah County is in child welfare custody – a rate 26 times higher than it is for white children. Native American youth are more likely to age out of foster care, experience homelessness, drop out of high school, fail to obtain a diploma, and experience mental health and wellness issues.
The Portland community is working with private and public partners to provide foster youth homes, families, and support to break the cycle of these problems in our community.
According to Angela Guo, Guardian Real Estate, the project will take place in two phases. Phase 1 begins with the building of forty intergenerational housing units to be completed in 2016. Phase 2 will bring a longhouse and an early learning center to the property.
Guardian specializes in the development of high quality multifamily residential properties and were instrumental in helping NAYA’s first project of this kind, Bridge Meadows in north Portland. NT