Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
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Summer 2017

City Awards Funding for New Family Housing at Magnolia 2!

IHI is very excited to announce that the City of Portland has awarded $4 million to develop 50 units of new family housing in NE Portland!  These homes will include 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments and are the second phase of the Magnolia Apartment complex.  Currently referred to as Mag 2, the new building will be attached to the existing Magnolia Apartments and will share site staff, office space, and community amenities like roof decks, indoor/outdoor play space, and community rooms.  Sharing these benefits and costs allows IHI to provide more amenities to residents of the combined 100-unit development. 

One unique feature we are including at Mag 2 is something called a Maker Space.  We got the idea from an award-winning market rate housing project and thought it would be great to offer this amenity to our residents.  A Maker Space is flexible community space with shop-type finishes that is available for residents to work on small projects such as assembling or refinishing furniture, potting plants, painting, building projects, etc. - all things that are challenging to do in an apartment setting.  Portland is full of creative, DIY-types who need space to build and create without worrying about spilling paint or scratching the floor.  The Maker Space will have workbenches, special ventilation, a roll-up door to the outside patio for work on larger projects, storage for materials, and storage for projects in progress. 
Mag 2 shown in color adjacent to the existing Magnolia Apartments
The Maker Space also gives IHI an opportunity to do something we've long wanted to do - partner with local apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs to introduce residents and community members to the construction trades.  IHI and our partners will use the space to offer workshops, trainings, and information sessions for residents and neighbors.  A special feature included for the construction trainings will be a "display wall" that shows sample framing, plumbing, electrical, and low voltage wiring within a 2x6 framed wall. 

As with the Magnolia Apartments, IHI is committed to using Magnolia 2 to help counter displacement in NE Portland.  We look forward to working with the City and the N/NE Community Oversight Committee, and using the City's new N/NE Preference Policy, to strengthen our efforts and ensure that Magnolia 2 will house people with ties to NE Portland.  The new apartments will be affordable to families earning between 30% and 60% of area median income, or $22,410-$44,820/year for a family of four, and 6 units will be set aside for homeless families.  We are thrilled to partner with the City to make these new homes a reality!
From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

This June IHI closed on the two biggest and most complicated deals we have ever done.  We also applied for three grants, secured purchase and sale agreements on two new properties, broke ground on 14 th /Raleigh, hired two new staff members, and began pre-development work on 50 units of new family housing.  It was an overwhelming amount of work and only possible because we have an amazing staff, committed partners, and it had to get done. 

I immediately left town for vacation in Hawaii, where my extended family spent 9 days playing in a warm ocean, eating delicious tropical things, and relaxing.  I really needed the break.  We all need time and space to rejuvenate and recharge so we can keep pace with demanding jobs, family obligations, and the chaos life throws at us.  I feel very fortunate to be able to take that time and get away - not everyone has that luxury.  Parents trying to keep kids engaged and safe while living on the street, in a car, or in a shelter must be exhausted, with no vacation in sight.  Single moms working two jobs to keep kids fed and housed, who come home and try to parent after long hours could probably really use some R&R - but where would that come from?  And adults who wrestle with their own mental health day in and day out would likely relish a break from that reality - it isn't coming.  Too many of us get worn down by life, just trying to get through the day.  When the stress starts to build and I'm feeling sorry for myself, it's good to remember that I'm the lucky one - I go home to a safe place to sleep every night, I have family I can turn to for help when I need it, and I am able to take the time and space to enjoy really wonderful things in life with people I love. 
 
Sometimes we need a reminder to take that time and go - growing up in Oregon, summer has always been that reminder for me.  When the berries start to ripen and the days get longer, it's time to go to the beach, head for the mountains, get out the camping gear, and enjoy the amazing place where we live.  If money is tight, a day trip to a lake or river can do the trick.  Even just splurging on an ice cream cone and taking a walk can feel indulgent.  Portland Parks are also great summer resources, offering free concerts, movies, and cool shady spots to lounge.  At IHI we recognize that not everyone has easy access to the bounty of our region so we take as much as we can to our residents.  We've started showing outdoor movies this summer, we have a pool and hired a swim instructor so kids at our largest family site can learn to swim and enjoy the water safely, and we organize field trips to a variety of destinations to help children and adults take small breaks from their routines and explore new places.  In addition, we offer free lunches and physical activities at our family sites all summer long, to ensure that basic nutritional needs are being met and kids have a healthy outlet for their energy.  Lack of money can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be defining.  At IHI our goal is to ensure that residents not only maintain their housing stability and meet their other basic needs, but also have opportunities to grow, learn, and enjoy life. 

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this newsletter.  I hope you are enjoying what summer has to offer and thinking of ways to share it with others.  We all need a break and we are surrounded by beauty, but we have to remember to get out and celebrate it.  Happy Summer! 
Staying Trauma Informed
 
IHI began developing a Trauma Informed Housing model in late 2012.  Trauma Informed Care (TIC) recognizes that traumatic experiences  terrify, overwhelm, and violate  the individual.  Trauma Informed Care is a commitment to not repeat these experiences and, in whatever way possible, to  restore a sense of safety, power, and self-worth.   Understanding the effects of trauma is especially important for housing organizations because safe and stable housing is an integral part of an individual's well-being.  We trained our site staff, worked to develop clear and transparent processes to help mitigate retraumatization from all the compliance requirements that come along with affordable housing, and launched the model at four family sites.  In 2016, IHI revisited our Trauma Informed Housing model and expanded it to all of our properties.  To enable us to fully implement the model, IHI staff and site staff at each property engaged in a  year-long, intensive Trauma Informed Care training program.

IHI hired Juliana Wallace-Scholl, LCSW, CADC III, to lead us through this effort.  Juliana is currently the Director of Services at the Unity Center for Behavioral Health and is a lifelong learner of Trauma Informed Care and recovery.  She has also been a TIC trainer and presenter for several years.  Juliana led all of IHI's staff, building managers, assistant managers, maintenance staff, and portfolio managers in a series of trainings designed to raise awareness of trauma, which we believe most of our residents have experienced.  The trainings covered how trauma affects the brain, relationships, memory, physical and mental health, and addiction.  
 
Staff role-played situations with residents through a trauma informed lens - meaning they practiced reacting to various scenarios with an understanding that our residents have experienced trauma in the past.  Because having healthy staff members is an important part of being trauma informed, we also discussed self-care and how to avoid burnout and compassion fatigue.  In between formal trainings we had staff participate in various trauma informed activities.  The activities included analyzing building signage to be sure it was welcoming, inclusive and easy to understand, utilizing only strength-based language when discussing residents, and surveying residents to see if current procedures provide them with a clear understanding of building rules and available services.  Julianna will complete her work with IHI by helping us create a TIC competency tool that will allow us to measure how Trauma Informed each of our buildings are on an on-going basis and identify when we need to revisit our training.
 
Creating trauma informed competency is a priority for IHI.  Housing is a basic need and housing instability is related to many different kinds of trauma.  We must ensure that when people turn to us for safe, accessible housing, we are doing everything we can to help them succeed in their homes and use their housing as a foundation to thrive at work, at school, and in life.  
Breaking Ground at Raleigh!
 
GroundbreakingThe Raleigh Project Team of Bremik, LRS, Salazar Architects, Wells Fargo, and IHI.
Kurt Creager, Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, Aubré Dickson, Chair of the Oregon Housing and Community Services' Housing Stability Council, City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, and IHI Executive Director Sarah Stevenson officially broke ground at NW 14th/Raleigh on June 16, 2017. Construction of the 12-story, 93-unit building started on June 19th and new, affordable one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes will be ready for residents in early 2019. 40 of the two- and three-bedroom apartments will be subsidized and set aside for families experiencing homelessness.
Frogs and Salamanders

This spring, as part of IHI's on-site youth program, staff helped resident children engage in a hands-on study of the life cycles of fr ogs and salamanders. IHI's Family Resident Services Coordinator, Marisa Monteverde, helped youth research how to identify frog eggs and the types of environments in which amphibians live.  The group then embarked on a rainy nature walk along the nearby Springwater Trail, where they spent hours exploring the trail.  They found several habitats suitable for frogs to lay eggs and were able to collect a large egg sac, as well as several tadpoles and other aquatic creatures.  Everything was put into a donated tank in the community room and observation began! 
 
Many days were spent learning about the amphibian life cycle, taking water samples, and observing the eggs under magnifying glasses.  They also made art about amphibians.  Much to everyone's surprise, the egg sac turned out to be salamanders, not frogs!  After 20 days the salamanders all hatched and the tadpoles were growing very quickly.  One of the salamander larva turned out to be quite large and too dominant (and hungry) to exist peacefully with the others.  The youth voted and decided to keep the frogs and put the salamanders back in the pond .  The tadpoles quickly became polliwogs and are now small frogs. The children are helping to feed them and keep their environment clean.  The group plans to keep the frogs until they are fully grown so they can observe the newly matured frogs laying their own eggs - starting the cycle all over again. The kids loved learning about and exploring their natural environment!
IHI and YA4-H

As part of IHI's youth program in  East Multn omah County, our staff has begun  facilitating a 4-H club for residents.
When you hear 
4-H you might think of farm animals, but we don't have cows or sheep at our apartments! 
 Instead, our residents are engaged in a program called Youth Advocates for Health (YA4-H). 

This year, three of our participating teens attended t he Multnomah County Fair to share what they have learned.  They have been teaching younger children at two of IHI's family properties about healthy eating and cooking and 
wanted to broaden their audience.  The fai r was a perfect wa y to highlight their new skills and expertise.  It was also a 
great way to showcase the County's only YA4-H group.  The teens made a smoothie reci pe from www.foodhero.org that is healthy and affordable.  They served smoothie s to over 500 people!  They also passed out th e recipe and talked about the program.  Next up, they will be attending the Fall YA4-H conference to meet other groups and network with YA4-H groups around the state.  Making these  connections is not only fun, bu t also helps broaden young people's horizons an d understanding about all the different ways they can engage in the world.

We are very proud of the commitment these teens have made to the program and excited about the healt hy habits they are cultivating.  Go YA4-H!

Innovative Housing Inc. 
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