2015 Hilltop Award winners: Robert Justus and Dave Carboneau

Dave Carboneau (left) and Robert Justus

Name: Robert Justus

Profession: Executive director of CASH Oregon and co-founder of Home First Development. Justus is on the administrative counsel for St. Francis Church in Southeast Portland.

Residence: Southeast Portland/Brooklyn neighborhood

Family: Married to Liesl Wendt; father of two college-age children. “Happy empty nester,” he says.

Hobbies: “Frankly, hanging out with homeless people. That’s why I hang out in the St. Francis dining hall because they keep it real.”

Background: Rob Justus is no stranger to public service. His commitment to helping others began at young age while working in the once flourishing copper-mining communities of Arizona and Appalachia. When the mines shut down, Justus witnessed destitute families struggling to stay in their homes and the “economics of poverty.” The experience has been one of the driving forces behind his lifelong commitment to help low-income and struggling people. In 1992, after earning a masters in theology with an emphasis on justice and peace education from the State University of New York, Justus met his wife and moved to her hometown of Portland. He founded JOIN, a non-profit aimed at finding permanent housing for the homeless. In 2007, Justus also co-founded Home First Development, a program aimed at “building affordable housing for low-income people affordably,” thereby keeping costs low and passing savings on to residents. Justus lives with his wife and their toy poodle named Cole in Southeast Portland.

Name: Dave Carboneau  

Profession: Affordable housing developer, retired executive of Portland General Electric, current member of the Portland General Electric Foundation Board.

Residence: Permanent residence in Olympia, Wash., but commutes often to residence in Mt Tabor in Southeast Portland.

Family: Married with two children and a yellow lab named Watson.

Hobbies: Avid soccer fan involved in Portland City United youth soccer. Currently developing a soccer field in North Portland for the Salvation Army.  

Background: Dave Carboneau’s conviction for public service comes from a belief that every person should have access to safe and affordable housing. For 32 years, Carboneau worked as an executive for Portland General Electric. Engagement with the community and involvement with social services organizations like JOIN and Metropolitan Family Services were part of the job, but Carboneau’s commitment carried over into retirement. In 2007, he co-founded Home First Development with partner Rob Justus. With a background in finance and business development, Carboneau and his partner focused on a model that improved the overall  productivity of development with the resulting savings passed on in lower rents. So far, Carboneau and Justus have built 101 units with another 112 under construction. Carboneau says providing safe and affordable housing is critical to the health and well being of our community.