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Hello, Friends of Kerr!

Coming from the Chicago area, I thought I was prepared for any amount of snow, but last week’s storm reminded me that winter can still pack a punch. Despite the challenging conditions, I am so proud of Kerr’s staff, who continued to show up and provide the highest quality care for our clients. Also, as we move into March, I want to remind everyone it is Developmental Disability Awareness Month which raises awareness of the inclusion and contributions of people with developmental disabilities and works to remove barriers for success.

Legislative Call to Action
We need your help this week to continue to push for the prioritization of an increase in Direct Support Professional (DSP) wages. A crucial hearing for the intellectual and developmental disability budget is occurring with the Joint Ways and Means Committee on Human Services. Public testimony will take place on March 2, 2023, at 8 a.m.

The Oregon Resource Association (ORA) has put together a “VoterVoice” campaign that makes it easy to contact the legislators on that committee. PLEASE send a quick email on ORA’s Advocacy page (CLICK HERE). The email is already crafted, so you can add your contact information and hit send or take a few minutes and add some personalization/agency details/stories to the message. The email (and any additional message you add) will go directly to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services, regardless of constituency. PLEASE SHARE this call to action broadly via email and social media. The campaign will run NOW through Saturday, March 4, 2023. Don’t delay!

A New Youth Home in Salem 
I am thrilled to announce Kerr recently opened its second youth group home in Marion County. The great need for additional resources and support for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and mental health challenges drove the decision to open this new home. We recognize that many youth in the area needed safe and nurturing environments where they could receive the necessary support to thrive.

Advocating for Kerr
Passionately championing Kerr, I had the privilege of attending the Oregon Department of Human Services Community Budget Briefing. Key priorities were outlined, including maintaining fair provider rates, addressing workforce challenges, enhancing customer service, and reducing barriers. I appreciated the focus on workforce and am hopeful that the legislature will take DSP wages seriously and include them in the State budget.

Gathering of Nonprofit CEOs
I had the pleasure of attending a phenomenal evening alongside an exceptional group of CEOs across the Portland Metro area. Their unwavering dedication and positive impact left me feeling re-energized and motivated. Thank you to the Portland Business Journal’s Publisher and President, Candace Beeke, and First Republic Bank for bringing us together. 

Exploring Sustainable Living: Wynne Watts Commons
The Solar Showcase panel discussion and tour of Kerr’s Wynne Watts Commons was a tremendous success, with a fantastic turnout. Carly Harrison from Edlen & Co., Alex Boetzel, sustainability consultant from Greenhammer Design, and I discussed how this innovative net zero energy, all-inclusive, accessible, and affordable housing development is revolutionizing sustainable living. My appreciation to everyone who attended the event.


Allison Stark
CEO, Albertina Kerr