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Board of Commissioners

To ensure accountability to the interests of our communities, Home Forward is governed by a nine-member citizen commission.

Volunteer Commissioners establish Home Forward policy, approve the annual budget, and hire the Executive Director. Four Commissioners represent the City of Portland, two represent the City of Gresham, two represent Multnomah County, and one, who participates in one of Home Forward’s housing programs, represents our residents and program participants. Commissioners are recommended from the area they serve, appointed by the Mayor of Portland, and approved by the Portland City Council. They serve four-year, renewable terms. There are currently three vacancies.

Damien Hall
Chair Emeritus & Treasurer
Matthew Gebhardt
Chair
Jenny Kim
Vice Chair
TomiRene Hettman
Commissioner
Rakeem Washington
Commissioner
Dina DiNucci
Commissioner
Jessy Ledesma
Commissioner

meeting information

Attendance: Home Forward’s board meetings are open to the public — all are welcome.

Frequency: Once every month.

Date and Time: The third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 PM, via Zoom, until we announce our return to in-person meetings.

Location: Meetings are virtual with the link available in the agenda.

Meeting Materials: The agenda and documents related to the meeting are posted on this page the week before the meeting.

Work Session: The Board also meets for a work session, quarterly at noon on the first Thursday in February, May, September and November. Work sessions are held at Home Forward’s main offices, 135 SW Ash St., Portland, OR 97204 unless otherwise announced.

You may send comments via letter or e-mail to:

          Home Forward Board of Commissioners c/o Home Forward

          135 SW Ash Street Portland, Oregon 97204

          E-mail: board@homeforward.org

Or you may participate in the “Public Comment” portion of monthly board meetings. Please read the guidelines for public comment.

AGENDA AND MATERIALS FOR MONTHLY BOARD MEETING

February – Work Session Agenda

February – Board Packet

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Damien Hall Board Chair

Damien Hall
Chair Emeritus and Treasurer

Quality, stable housing is the foundation that allows people to break the cycle of generational poverty.  I’m excited to help guide our community’s largest provider of affordable housing in its work to provide people with that opportunity.

Damien Hall brings legal expertise in land use, urban planning, and real estate development, as well as extensive civic involvement to the Board of Commissioners. He is an attorney at Ball Janik LLP, where he has helped both property owners and governments navigate land use requirements and work collaboratively to establish common objectives. He is a member of the Portland Development Commission’s Central City Budget Advisory Committee and serves on the board of non-profit Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. Previously, he chaired PDC’s Urban Renewal Advisory Committee for the Oregon Convention Center area and participated in the development agency’s Advisory Committee for Economic Development in N/NE Portland. He received his degree at law from Lewis and Clark College and has a Bachelor’s Degree in public policy, planning, and management from the University of Southern California.

Matthew Gebhardt Vice Chair

Matthew Gebhardt
Chair

I strongly believe that safe, stable, and affordable housing is vital for health and well-being. I am excited to help Home Forward sustain their current portfolio while continuing to develop new housing for people experiencing poverty across our community.

Matthew Gebhart is an Assistant Professor at Portland State University. He has spent the last fifteen+ years studying housing authorities, and recently worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on the Choice Neighborhood Initiative. Matthew holds one of the City of Portland’s seats on the Home Forward Board of Commissioners. He received his MA in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a PhD in Urban Planning from Columbia University.

Jenny Kim Board Treasurer

Jenny Kim
Vice Chair

I look forward to a time when everyone in our community has a safe, stable and affordable place to call home. Serving on this board is an amazing opportunity to listen to the people we serve and to work with my colleagues to equitably deliver the housing, programs, and services they need.

Jenny Kim holds one of the two Multnomah County seats on the Board of Commissioners and brings more than 20 years of board experience from organizations like the National Korean American Coalition, Portland Montessori School, and American Cancer Society. She graduated from the University of California with a degree in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Jenny has a proven track record of helping organizations grow and meet new challenges and she has been a dedicated leader in our community for many years.

TomiRene Hettman Commissioner

TomiRene Hettman
Commissioner

I joined the Home Forward board as my way to show my appreciation for housing, which has helped to save my life. I am deeply committed to Home Forward’s mission and I want to do all that I can to help the agency fulfill this mission. I feel that, because of my own personal experiences and my long commitment to helping to build support in and around my own community, I am able to give a voice to the disenfranchised.

TomiRene Hettman holds one of the five City of Portland seats on the Board of Commissioners as Home Forward’s Resident Commissioner. Hettman has been a resident at Hollywood East Apartments since 2009. She brings her personal experiences and history of recurring homelessness to this position. She has served on Home Forward’s Resident Advisory Committee and has an impressive list of volunteer experiences, not only within her Home Forward community, but including the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, Lean on Me Program, Humane Society, and as a housing advocate serving on congressional roundtables.

Rakeem Washington
Commissioner

Rakeem Washington is an instructor with Portland State University teaching a dual-credit course entitled “Race, Class, Gender, and Social Justice” and is also the Director of Access and Re-Entry at Portland Community College.  His connections to Portland are deep, and it is rare that when he is out in the community, he does not run into a former student.  He greets all of his former students with hugs or handshakes… and sometimes both. 

Prior to the beginning of his professional career, he spent hours as a volunteer, mentor, and coach with various community based organizations. Rakeem continued his passion for working with children and families after graduating from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2008 when he began work as a staff attorney for the Juvenile Rights Project, a public defense law firm representing children and parents in child welfare, school discipline, and juvenile delinquency cases.  After witnessing, firsthand, the racial disparities that exist at the intersection of the foster care, educational, and criminal justice systems, Rakeem shifted focus towards equity work.  He has continued those efforts in various forms while working with Portland Public Schools, the Oregon Judicial Department, and the Portland Observer Newspaper.  Some of his current work includes advocating for increased educational opportunities for students incarcerated through the Oregon Youth Authority.  In 2015, he partnered with a friend from law school to start Engage To Change, a consulting business specializing in anti-racism/anti-oppression trainings and organizational development.  Recognizing that healthy communities make healthy individuals, Rakeem continues to work towards empowering the voices and increasing the visibility of underserved and disenfranchised individuals and populations.

Dina DiNucci Commissioner

Dina DiNucci
Commissioner

With housing affordability and accessibility as pressing concerns in the communities within Multnomah County, I am eager to help with the discussion and decision making in finding solutions and opportunities culminating in securely housing those within our community. I believe that everyone of all backgrounds deserves access to housing and healthcare. I intend to use my voice to help others in need.

DiNucci is currently a Gresham City Councilor and Health Care Investigator for Multnomah County.  She will hold one of the two City of Gresham seats on the Home Forward Board of Commissioners.  She brings a broad range of public and social services experience from organizations like Multnomah County, the City of Gresham, Human Solutions, and the Wallace Medical Concern. She has been a small business owner and community advocate, and will bring her knowledge of project management, community organizing and collaborative leadership in her role as a Home Forward Commissioner.

Jessy Ledesma
Commissioner

Jessy Ledesma has more than 17 years of development experience in the Portland area, much of that time focused on affordable housing development. She is the Founder and Principal of HomeWork Development and co-developer of Shortstack Housing. Jessy founded HomeWork Development in early 2021 with a vision to build a new model for inclusive and responsive housing development.

Prior to HomeWork, Jessy was Director of Development at Beam Development and previously developed affordable housing for both for-profit ownership and non-profit ownership. Jessy has transacted over $200M in development volume across 18 projects. This includes over 600 affordable housing units and 200,000 SF of commercial developments. Jessy brings a unique perspective to her role on Home Forward’s Board of Commissioners, understanding both non-profit and for-profit development models. She believes our industry must collaborate and create new models to address our deep housing shortage.

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