May 18, 2018
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Transition-age foster youth get affordable housing Portland

Get inspired by these three stories of innovation and ingenuity across America

Each week, The Renewal Project shares three stories from around the country that highlight the innovative solutions individuals and organizations are creating in their communities. Want to share a story from your hometown? Email us at info@therenewalproject.com.


Affordable housing plan: Portland, Oregon has teamed up with a duo of nonprofits—Bridge Meadows, New Avenues for Youth—to create a housing solution for young people who have “aged out” of the foster care program. Dubbed as an “innovative affordable housing community with trauma-informed care and life-skills programs,” the New Meadows program will provide 10 studio and five one-bedroom apartments for those ages 17-24. Reduced rent is set at no more than 30 percent of area’s median income (singles earning less than $16,000 per year). “Young people leaving foster care without the support of a family or adults they can rely on are some of the most vulnerable members of our community,” Shannon Callahan, Interim Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, told Portland Patch. “New Meadows will offer a safe, stable place to live with a community support network to help transitioning foster youth receive the training, skills, and education to overcome barriers and realize their potential.”


“Smart region” innovation centers: San Mateo County in California is seeking to spark “smart solutions” to complex regional problems by facilitating a way that cities, agencies, residents, universities and businesses can easily access solutions providers, domain experts and resources to co-create solutions via its SMC Labs project. Issues such as housing, traffic, mobility and environmental impact don’t stop at city borders, Jon Walton, chief information officer of San Mateo county said in a statement. There are currently two “innovation zones” SMC Labs has created to test ideas. These zones will be home to pilot projects in these managed environments before they are deployed to other locations. Although many cities have “Smart City” initiatives, SMC Labs is seeking to tackle complex issues that span traditional boundaries.


Nostalgia and renewal: The beloved Americana amusement park (also known as LeSourdsville Lake) had sat abandoned and forlorn for decades before a $10 million renewal plan was set before the city council of Monroe, in Butler County, Ohio. The plan won’t resurrect thrill rides such as the “Screechin’ Eagle” roller coaster or the “Log Flume,” but it does call for partial restoration of a placid lakefront, utilizing the sky ride seating for walking path benches and possibly the construction of a small museum to pay homage to the memory of the amusement park, Kevin Chesar, director of development for Monroe told WLWT Channel 5 News. Other projects for the space include fountains, playgrounds, bike trails, an amphitheater and lawn events. The new spaced will be called the City of Monroe Bicentennial Commons.

The Renewal Project

The Renewal Project is an initiative by Allstate that spotlights local innovation and celebrates community change-makers.