Changemaker: Hacienda CDC’s Ernesto Fonseca on the power of healthy homes

This becomes part of a series of post enhancing community voices.
Hacienda Community Development Corporation has more than 380 cost effective housing units, mainly in the Portland area. With numerous residential or commercial properties in advancement, it will more than double that number in the next 3 years.
That still will not be sufficient to fulfill the real estate requirements of its neighborhood, states Ernesto Fonseca, executive director and a member of Energy Trusts board of directors considering that 2018.
Based in Northeast Portland, Hacienda CDC offers cost effective housing, homeownership support, instructional and economic opportunities to Latinx, Black, Indigenous, immigrant and low-income households most at danger of displacement. In 2020, its personnel quickly rotated to assist homeowners handle insecurity brought on by COVID-19, delivering more than $1.9 million in relief funds.
We talked with Fonseca about the obstacles of 2020, increasing budget friendly real estate and how energy effectiveness can produce much healthier houses.
What are a few of the biggest difficulties facing the families and people Hacienda supports?
EF: That is a big question. The problems that neighborhoods of color and the immigrant community are dealing with are food insecurity, housing insecurity, energy problems, transport concerns– all of those concerns have been there for a long, long period of time. Last year these problems were magnified, particularly around food insecurity.
One of the important things we noticed nearly right away is that many households depend on the school hours– so their kids can go to school, be fed, so they, the parents, can go to work and earn earnings. When you secure the schools entirely, many other problems begin to come up. Employment became a challenge; income was lowered; and other expenses grew as households spent more time in the house.
How did Hacienda react to these emerging requirements?
EF: Weve been working very carefully with our residents and the higher community to support them with money support, rental support and food support. The process was actually ad hoc. The pandemic caught everybody by surprise, and the lockdowns had causal sequences for the financial, work and education systems and certainly for service as normal.
One of the communitys very first significant concerns was the uncertainty with their leas and real estate and what would take place. A lot of households got support from more than one source like Oregon Housing and Community Services, Portland Housing Bureau and the county.
Another considerable effort we implemented right now was to develop a food circulation center. We called Guadalupe Guerrero, Portland Public Schools superintendent, to talk about another problem on our hands: many families do not have the resources to supply food for the entire day. Can we partner in delivering meals for our homeowners? They settled on partnering with us, and in no time, we had food trucks from PPS concerning our office head office providing breakfast and lunch every day.
The 3rd thing we did was offer households with some money support from our local government, structures and ourselves to assist them shift and discover a method forward for a few months.
Hacienda CDC residential or commercial properties in the Portland area and Molalla provide real estate for 1,600 individuals, and youve dealt with Energy Trust throughout the years to make these systems more energy effective. How does energy performance aid keep housing safe and budget-friendly?.
EF: Owning a house is costly, and the most significant cost is the home mortgage. Regardless of renting or owning, utilities are the 2nd biggest expenditure. Starting with your energy costs, this is one of the most substantial expenses in real estate.
In my previous life, I evaluated energy effectiveness and the consequences of not having housing thats very well geared up to keep you healthy. Fonseca has a doctorate in environmental planning focusing on thermal comfort and health. Its not just about being comfortable– not sweating or not being too cold– its about public health.
If youre sleeping and its too hot, you will not be able to sleep well. If its too cold, you wont be able to sleep well. That lack of sleep and lack of comfort suggests you dont have the space to be efficient, get the best grades you can get and be happy; it increases your opportunities of weight problems and heart disease.
In regards to energy effectiveness, you can provide a space that is comfy at a decreased expense compared to a system that is inadequately insulated, improperly developed, has no efficiencies whatsoever, where youre running a/c or heating system day and night, and you still do not discover convenience. Its vital for us to understand that substantial link, not only in regards to energy efficiency and dollar savings however also actually a lifestyle.
State legislators this year designated Hacienda $1 million to fund Small Homes NW, a pilot to establish accessory house units for income-eligible property owners. What can you tell us about that?
EF: Were assembling a pilot program to establish accessory dwelling units, small houses in yards. The state funds were designated to Hacienda directly, and were going to be investing them throughout the state in 10 to 20 inexpensive real estate units with certifying people. We will focus on individuals with impairments, individuals of color and people in rural neighborhoods.
The concept is for parents with older kids having a hard time to pay for college or lease to move out on their own, they can invite their kids into those systems. And if you dont have any of those needs, you can rent that accessory dwelling system to increase your earnings. We will be increasing the density of those neighborhoods by having more people per square mile and for that reason lower transport needs.

The issues that neighborhoods of color and the immigrant neighborhood are facing are food insecurity, real estate insecurity, energy problems, transportation issues– all of those concerns have been there for a long, long time. One of the communitys very first considerable issues was the uncertainty with their leas and real estate and what would occur. A lot of households got assistance from more than one source like Oregon Housing and Community Services, Portland Housing Bureau and the county.
In my previous life, I analyzed energy effectiveness and the effects of not having housing thats very well geared up to keep you healthy. The state funds were assigned to Hacienda straight, and were going to be investing them across the state in 10 to 20 budget-friendly housing systems with qualifying people.

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