Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA)
The Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) offers a Critical Home Repair, Weatherization, and Anti-Displacement Program that provides no-cost home repairs and energy efficiency upgrades to low-income homeowners in Portland, Oregon. We evaluated the program’s effects on participants and their families.
The study found that the safety-related repairs and upgrades enhanced both the physical and mental health of participants and increased the likelihood of families remaining in their homes. The findings support the growing body of research suggesting that multifaceted home interventions produce more beneficial and lasting outcomes than those targeting a narrow range of concerns. HSRI also helped enhance NAYA’s capacity to conduct its own evaluations of the program for future funding opportunities.
NAYA’s Critical Home Repair, Weatherization, and Anti-Displacement Program was initially conceptualized in 2014 as a weatherization and anti-displacement project for homeowners in the Cully neighborhood, one of Portland’s most racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods and an area particularly susceptible to gentrification amid Portland’s housing crisis. But project staff soon found that housing conditions for low-income homeowners were significantly worse than expected; black mold, failing roofs, little to no heat, and other serious issues emerged. The project was broadened to include critical home repairs, as most participants needed help addressing these critical issues before weatherization could occur.
To better understand the impact of the program, which had also expanded to serve homeowners across the Portland metro area, HSRI worked with NAYA to conduct an evaluation, examining the program through an array of primary and secondary data.
Our research team used a mixed methods approach, gathering qualitative and quantitative data from a variety of sources to gain a comprehensive understanding of program processes and participant outcomes:
Study findings suggest that the program resulted in enhanced safety, improved health, and increased stability for participating homeowners. These results are interconnected, with repairs and weatherization improving safety and health outcomes – ultimately increasing the likelihood of participants remaining in their homes.
Participants noted that prior to the upgrades, their living conditions had exacerbated chronic health conditions (cold homes increasing arthritic symptoms; the presence of mold exacerbating asthma, allergy-like symptoms, and illnesses).
The NAYA Critical Repair Program also had longer-term impacts on homeowner relationships and well-being. Homeowners described enhanced relationships with their family and neighbors as their homes were safer and more welcoming after the repairs. Even several months after the repairs had been completed, participants noted more regular communication and less isolation – both protective factors against poor health.