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Erik Sten and Heather Lyons discussed their experiences designing and implementing Portland, Oregon's highly successful Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness. Heather and Erik shared lessons learned and offered strategies to help keep community stakeholders engaged and inspired, even in today's challenging economic climate.
About the Presenters
Erik served as a City Commissioner in Portland, Oregon from 1996-2009 and led the city's nationally recognized work in housing and community development. Highlights of his work include a 70% reduction in chronic homelessness, a record level of local investment in affordable housing, and cutting edge strategies that tie schools, services and housing together. In 2005, NeighborWorks honored Commissioner Sten as one of the country's most effective government officials working on affordable housing and community development issues. From 2008-2009, Erik served as the inaugural Living Cities Distinguished Urban Fellow. During his fellowship, he wrote A Human Connection: How Portland, Ore. Made a Big Dent in Chronic Homelessness, describing the role of new partnerships and human connections in the city’s highly successful Ten Year Plan End Homelessness.
Erik graduated from Stanford University and was a Fannie Mae Foundation Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Currently, Erik is President and Co-Founder of Further Development, LLC, a socially conscious real estate company currently focused on a foreclosure prevention strategy in Sacramento and Oakland, California.
Heather led the City of Portland, Oregon’s efforts to end homelessness, with numerous partners, under the policy framework of Home Again: A 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. During her tenure, and within the first four years of the Plan’s implementation, the community experienced a 39% reduction in street homelessness by moving people into housing. This result was due to targeted resources, smart planning, effective provider agencies, and strong political will.
Currently, Heather is a Senior Program Manager with the Corporation for Supportive Housing’s Consulting Group. Based out of Portland, Oregon, she promotes systems change and provides practical assistance to help communities end homelessness. She currently divides much of her time working in communities as distinct as Omaha, NE and Los Angeles, CA, as well as many other locations throughout the United States. Before working for the City of Portland for almost 8 years, Heather worked at Central City Concern, a non-profit supportive housing agency, organizing people in recovery from substance use to create a voice for change in substance abuse policy and funding. She began her career in and around homelessness and solutions to homelessness as a VISTA volunteer with the City of San Antonio, Texas in 1992.