On Wednesday, September 21st, Jewish community leaders, including Cedar Sinai Park CEO David Fuks, hosted a gathering at the Rose Schnitzer Tower with Jonathan Harwitz, Deputy Chief of Staff for Budget and Policy at the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Mr. Harwitz discussed the President’s American Jobs Act, including HUD’s Project Rebuild and its impact on the Jewish American community (Project Rebuild leverages the success of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, proposing a $15 billion allocation to purchase, rehabilitate, or redevelop foreclosed, abandoned, demolished, or vacant properties). He also informed the group of the Act’s impact on services for elders and people with mental health or special needs. Mary McBride, HUD’s Regional Director for Region X serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, represented HUD as well.
Most importantly, Mr. Harwitz listened to thoughts and concerns from the group to take back to HUD and the Administration. For example, David Fuks introduced our Kehillah Housing project and advocated for the consideration of Medicaid as a crucial program supporting elders. In addition, David discussed Cedar Sinai Park’s interest in developing a housing-with-services pilot project at the Rose Schnitzer Tower and other properties in the downtown area. This pilot project will develop health and other support services for elders and disabled residents to assist them in living in the community and avoiding institutional care.
Assistant CEO and CFO Bill Stinnett joined David in representing Cedar Sinai Park. Jewish Federation of Greater Portland President and CEO Marc Blattner, Jewish Family and Child Service Executive Director Marian Fenimore, and a variety of other community representatives shared information about their projects and collaborations.
At the end of the meeting, the group took a brief tour of Rose Schnitzer Tower, including one of its one-bedroom apartments ready to house a senior or individual with disabilities. Mr. Harwitz indicated that the quality of the residency at the Tower reflected the kind of place where he would be happy to see his own mother residing.