Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
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Donate to Coats for Kids
Thirteen years ago, IHI held our first annual Coats for Kids campaign to ensure that all of our resident children had warm winter coats. Thanks to our generous donors, no child living in IHI housing has gone without a winter coat for the last 12 years! Please help us continue this heart (and body) warming tradition by making your gift today.
You may make a secure donation online at our website!

Fall 2018

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson
My last ED letter was a tad bit critical of the City's housing policy (or lack thereof). I was heartened and inspired by the response it generated. I heard from dozens of smart, dedicated, passionate professionals who share my frustrations. While it was reassuring to find myself in good company, it highlighted for me the magnitude of the problem and underscored the imperative that we need to do something different.

As those who live or work with me will attest, I can kvetch with the best of them. But, to my repeated chagrin, I have never been able to walk away when someone says "so what are you going to do about it?" Everyone has the right - at times the obligation - to speak up when they see something wrong. But calling it out isn't always enough. We can't sit around complaining and not take action to affect positive change when given the opportunity. It comes down to "put up or shut up."

Following my last newsletter, Acting Director of Portland's Housing Bureau Shannon Callahan reached out and asked for a meeting. I accepted and we had a very productive discussion, resulting in several concrete actions to improve communication between the City and nonprofit affordable housing providers. We have since implemented many of our action items, including quarterly meetings with the Mayor and affordable housing providers (our first meeting took place on October 1 st ) and regular meetings with Shannon and Portland Housing Bureau staff (scheduled to start next month). I volunteered to help coordinate these meetings and facilitate communication in between meetings. In addition, I was invited and agreed to serve on Portland's Housing Advisory Commission and liaise between the Commission and the affordable housing industry. All in all, the City and its affordable housing providers have done a lot over the last three months that should improve the flow of information and enhance our coordinated efforts to create more housing for Portland. Shannon was recently named Director of the Housing Bureau, giving the Bureau the stability of a permanent director and ensuring that the work we've done together has been time well spent building a foundation for future collaboration. I look forward to engaging with our policy makers as the City develops a cohesive, implementable housing strategy (this includes speaking up as needed, of course!).

Having recently been challenged to walk my talk, I'd like to extend that challenge to you. Consider the last three things you complained about. Is there anything you can do to fix the problem? Is there something you can do to prevent it from happening again, or negatively affecting someone else? If so, pick one thing and take one action to make things better. We are all busy and there are a lot of problems. None of us can fix them all, but if everyone does one thing to make the world better, more equitable, or easier for someone else, we will move in the right direction. Take the challenge, change the world, and then pass it on. Here's an easy one: tell everyone you know who has ever complained about housing prices or homelessness to vote YES on Measures 102 and 26-199. If they both pass, we will unlock significant resources that could double the impact of organizations like Innovative Housing. These measures won't solve our housing shortage, but they will help us take a huge step forward. If you believe children deserve to wake up in their own beds every morning, families of color shouldn't be priced out of our city, and no one's grandmother should be sleeping on the street tonight, support these critical measures and challenge others to vote with you. Now is the time for all of us to walk our talk.
An Historic Moment
This fall, Oregonians and citizens of Metro have an historic opportunity to make a statement about housing. We must decide if we are a community that is OK with our poorest, weakest, and most vulnerable members sleeping outside and on our streets, or if we believe everyone deserves a home. For the first time, our regional government is asking us to recognize that the housing crisis is a regional problem-and approve a regional solution. When low-wage workers cannot afford apartments in Portland, they often move to lower cost communities surrounding Portland. When a family loses its home in Washington County and needs emergency shelter, they likely seek that shelter in Portland. People don't stick to jurisdictional boundaries, so it doesn't make sense for us to address our region-wide housing shortage within those artificial lines.  

A Yes vote on Measure 26-199 acknowledges that we need to take a broader approach and supports a regional bond to fund affordable housing for low-income families, seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. T he bond  will cost homeowners approximately $5/month and generate $652 Million to build and preserve affordable homes in Clackamas, Washington, and Multnomah Counties.

Measure 102 is a statewide constitutional amendment that costs voters nothing, and will significantly increase the impact of local affordable housing bonds like the Metro bond and the bond that Portland passed in 2016. The amendment would enable local governments to work with non-profits like Innovative Housing to build affordable housing with bond funds. More importantly, it would allow local governments to leverage bond funds with private sources (such as mortgages and equity investments) to greatly increase the impact of the bonds and house more people. For example, the Metro bond is projected to fund homes for over 7,500 people in our region. If the state constitutional amendment also passes, the Metro bond could fund homes for 12,000 people.

There are many capable developers ready and willing to build affordable housing for those who need it most, but we are limited by available resources. Measure 26-199 will create a significant capital funding source and Measure 102 will allow local governments throughout the State to maximize the impact of their housing bonds. This fall, we must stand together- whether we live in cities, in suburbs, on farms, or anywhere in between-and declare that no one should be forced to live outside because they can't afford a home in our community. Please join IHI in supporting Measures 26-199 and 102.
Please vote YES on Measures 102 and 26-199 this Fall!
This year was IHI's 14 th annual backpack and school supply giveaway. Going back to school can be a stressful time for families, especially when parents are
unsure how they will purchase the necessary supplies for their children's education. To  make it easier, IHI works with the schools serving our  housing, identifies required  sc ho ol
supplies, and provides grade-appropriate items to every resident student so they go b ack to school equippe d to learn!  

Special Thanks to Jeff Reingold 
of Income Property Management 
for his annual gift of
backpacks-the kids love them!  

Swimming Success
Water safety is a top priority for children, but many low-income families do not have the opportunity to take their children to swim lessons. Last year IHI hired a swim instructor at our largest family site and the response was so positive that we brought her back again this summer! We were lucky to have Kelsey return - the kids were very excited to see her again and over 30 children signed up for swim lessons. Kelsey was pleased to see how
well the kids were doing. Two siblings in particular, Kevin and Alexis, started lessons last year and did so well this summer that Kels ey recommended they contin ue with more advanced swim lessons at Gresham High School.

IHI also hired Kelsey to lifeguard open swim sessions for children on weekends, when many parents work and can't supervise their kids in the pool. This ensured that all of our resident children were able to safely enjoy the pool on hot summer days.
Why Housing Matters
After a tough job loss that left him unable to pay the rent on his apartment, Lenny became homeless.  Lenny is fortunate to have a supportive family who helped him explore his options and get on the waitlist for Musolf Manor, but he struggled to get by until a unit became available. His health issues worsened on the street and he ended up in the emergency room. Again, Lenny was lucky. He not only got the medical care he needed, but hospital staff also helped him enroll in the Oregon Health Plan. For the first time in nearly thirty years, Lenny had a primary care doctor. While waiting for his housing, he continued to access healthcare services to stabilize his health and move along the path to wellness.

When Lenny heard that a unit was open for him at Musolf, he eagerly packed his belongings and moved. He arrived with no income, no furnishings, and ongoing health issues, but he was happy to have a place to call home. Lenny connected with IHI's on-site Resident Services Coord inator who helped him access  the  Community Warehouse, a great resour ce that provides donated furnishings and home goods, so he could furnish his apartment. Lenny also wanted to finish applying for social
sec urity d isabilit y benefits, a process he had started several months ago in a different county. IHI's Resident Services Coordinator referred him the BEST program operated by Central City Concern, which helps people access social security benefits. After a lot of effort, he secured disability benefits! In addition, Central City Concern helped Lenny apply for supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), so on top of regular income he also had food security.

With the support and assistance of many different service providers, and IHI's on-site staff who helped him navigate these programs, Lenny moved from homelessness to a furnished home and financial stability, and gained the confidence that comes with being self-reliant. Now that he is finally able to look beyond survival, Lenny has become his own best advocate. He is actively working to manage his health issues and feels stronger physically and emotionally. He consistently seeks ways to engage with his community and encourages his neighbors to do so as well. Lenny enjoys participating in on-site activities and social events like the Musolf supper club, sponsored by Lift Urban Portland, where residents learn how to prepare and enjoy healthy meals together. With his basic needs met, Lenny is able to focus on making healthy eating choices and enjoys cooking nutritious meals in his own home.

Housing with services helped Lenny transform his life. Imagine what Portland would look like if everyone had access to housing and support services . . .
National Night Out Block Party
Bringing our friends and neighbors in the Madison South neighborhood together for  NNO at Hancock Park is one of our favorite events of the year.
Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us in August!
Vibrant! Rising

Vibrant! will be complete in March 2019 and we will start pre-leasing in November. 40 units will provide safe, s table housing for families currently without homes. 

If more resources were a vailable, IHI could double our production-please vote YES on Measures 102 and  26-199 this Fall!

Innovative Housing Inc.