Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
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IHI's FriendMaker
A new twist on a nontraditional event. 

Tickets are free but space is limited, so please RSVP to get your name on the guest list. Call or email Jasmine at 503.226.4368 x0 or jcottrell@innovativehousinginc .c om to be part of the party!

Winter 2018

IHI Awarded $750,000 Grant For Pearl Family Housing
IHI started the new year with thrilling news that the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Des Moines awarded $750,000 to our family project at NW 14 th /Raleigh!  The project is currently under construction but has struggled with funding gaps since the tax credit market destabilized in late 2016.  IHI identified the FHLB Affordable Housing Program grant as a great source to support this project, but the funds are very competitive and can be hard to secure.  Applications to the FHLB must be sponsored by a member bank, so IHI teamed up with Wells Fargo, our construction lender for the project, to submit to the FHLB of San Francisco early last year. 

Unfortunately, we were not awarded funds at that time, leaving us with a significant funding gap at a critical juncture.  The City of Portland stepped up and guaranteed the gap so we could close and get started on construction, with IHI's promise that we would continue to seek grant funds to make the project whole.  Once again, in June, Wells Fargo sponsored our FHLB application - this time to the FHLB of Des Moines.  In late December, we received bad news - the funding round had been extremely competitive and while our application scored very well, we were a second alternate, missing out on funding by 1/10 th of a point.  The year ended sadly. 

Crews pour concrete for the third floor slab at NW 14th/Raleigh, which will eventually rise to 12-stories.

Then, on January 4 th , the FHLB of Des Moines called to say they had identified additional funds and they were awarding a grant to IHI's project!  These critical last funds complete our capital financing and ensure that we will be able to provide new, high quality homes to 93 families. 

IHI is extremely grateful to the City of Portland for allowing us to proceed with construction (waiting would have been catastrophic to our budget in these times of double digit construction inflation) and to the FHLB of Des Moines for finding a way to fund this important project.  Portland needs affordable housing now more than ever before - especially large family apartments like the ones being built at NW 14th/Raleigh.  IHI is proud to work with great project partners like Wells Fargo, the City, and the FHLB of Des Moines to meet that need.  
From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson
Happy New Year!  I love the start of a new year.  It all seems so fresh and full of possibilities.  I'm a beginnings person - spring makes me joyous and the first day of class was always my favorite.  I'm either a pragmatic optimist (a clean slate means everything could work out) or a shortsighted cynic (nothing bad has happened yet).  Whichever it is, I'm usually happy in January when I can look forward with anticipation to all that the new year might hold. 

I have to admit, though, 2017 was rough.  I did not find a lot to celebrate on January 1 st and the year didn't get much better than I expected, especially from an affordable housing point of view.  Uncertainty about corporate tax liability wreaked havoc on our primary capital funding source (federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits) and delayed projects.  Public funders cancelled annual funding rounds as they attempted to respond to the market and even the City of Portland, which passed an unprecedented housing bond in late 2016, sat with resources immobilized while policy makers decided how those bond funds could be used.  At the same time, the national environment for poor people, immigrants, and anyone who might be a target for racist aggression worsened.  Portland's housing crisis escalated, along with housing prices, and more vulnerable families and individuals found themselves without shelter.

In spite of all that, I'm feeling more positive at this new cusp of 2018 than I did in 2017.  Perhaps it is because we have more certainty.  We have a federal tax bill that will exacerbate inequity and poverty, but it didn't wipe out one of our key affordable housing tools (which was a very real threat).  We have a federal government that does not view itself as a safety net provider, but state and local governments are making decisions to help fill that void.  We have a President who condones and engages in bad behavior, but we have seen people stand up to condemn racism and sexual harassment.  We have a housing crisis that isn't going away any time soon, but we aren't giving up the fight. 

We will keep working to bring new housing online because every door we open means someone's mother, father, daughter, son, brother, sister, grandparent has a safe place to live.  And that matters.  It matters to me, personally and professionally.  It matters to all of us as a community, because we cannot be a society that believes it is OK for our poorest, sickest, and most vulnerable members to be unsafe and unhoused.  It's an uphill battle, but we know for whom we are fighting and we are armed with tools and allies.  I wish our forces were better aligned and more efficient in our strategies, but we'll do the best we can with what we have.  Pragmatic optimism must reign. 
IHI's 2018 FriendMaker is Almost Here!
SAVE THE DATE: Friday, February 23, 2018 from  6-9pm. To celebrate Innovative Housing's newest housing development and its MakerSpace, we are turning our annual FriendRaiser into a FriendMakerfor 2018.  In addition to great company and fun maker activities, there will be music, food, and drinks.

Thanks to generous donations by our event sponsors, we are able to extend an invitation to all of our friends and supporters at no cost to you.  So come on out, bring a friend, and get ready to make something good happen!   

Tickets are free but space is limited, so please RSVP to get your name on the guest list.  Call or email Jasmine at 503.226.4368 x0 or to be part of the party!
We Appreciate You!
Heartfelt thanks to all who participated in IHI's Giving Tuesday and Coats for Kids Campaigns!  Thanks to your generosity we met our Giving Tuesday goal and raised critical funds to support our Resident Services p rogram.  

We were also able to make sure that every child in  o ur housing has a warm winter coat this year. 
Th ank you!   
Giving Back
On December 28th, teen volunteers from three IHI properties teamed up to prepare and serve a meal at Portland's Homeless Family Shelter.  The shelter is run by Human Solutions, a nonprofit that has been serving the Portland area for more than 27 years with a range of shelter, housing, and support services. 
While at the shelter, IHI's teen volunteers organized the storage and supplies, cleaned and organized the kitchen, and ended their day by serving lunch.

IHI's Youth Mentor program is part of our holistic Youth Program, and is designed to provide additional support and guidance as kids transition into the teenage years and prepare for life after high school.  This includes exploring college opportunities, job readiness, and volunteering in the
community.   Research shows that youth who engage in community service are more responsible and have higher self-esteem than their peers.  Volunteering also helps teens gain new skills such as leadership, communication skills, dependability, time management, and improved decision making.  Teens who volunteer often perform better at school and volunteerism helps them build a strong resume  for college and scholarship applications. 

It also makes people feel good to give back to their community and help others.  This was a great opportunity for these teens t o share with families in need and experience what the holiday 
season is really all about - giving. 
Preserving Garden Park
In November, IHI closed on the acquisition of Garden Park Estates, a 63 unit apartment community near SE 136th/Powell.
IHI had a small ownership interest in
 the property during its 15-year tax credit compliance period and favorable purchase rights that enabled us to buy it when that compliance period ended.  IHI worked with the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) to secure a 3-year, interest only acquisition loan that gives us the flexibility to see how the property operates and how we want to reposition it before committing to a long-term mortgage. 

The property is spacious with mature landscaping and has 62 2-bedroom apartments and one 3-bedroom home.   IHI hopes to redevelop part of the property to add density and new units, but that will all depend on available funding sources.  In the meanwhile, we are very happy to be able to preserve these 63 affordable units for families who need them.  
Breaking Bread Together
This fall, thanks to a great partnership with Lift Urban Portland and the generous sponsorship of Calbag Metals, Lift Urban volunteers  worked with residents at Musolf Manor to prepare and cook simple, nutritious meals in the community kitchen.  Healthy Eating Workshops are a welcoming space to learn valuable cooking skills while nurturing and strengthening community.  Over th e course of five weeks, Musolf residents had the opportunity to learn and cook together using curriculum curated b y local health professionals and stude nts especially for them.

Once everything  was cook ed, residents and volunteers sat down and enjoyed the delicious meals together.
This program was very popular at Musolf Manor.  Attendance was strong at the weekly classes, which began by making hot tea and talking about the meal to be prepared.  Participants discussed the nutrients in each food item, how they worked together to create additional benefits and, if the food was from another culture, history about where the food came from and how others might use it in their countries of origin.

The classes incorporated themes like "From Pantry to Table," which taught healthy ways to prepare nutritious meals with common food items found in Delivered Food Boxes and Food Pantries, and exploring "Why We Eat What We Eat," because a better understanding about what drives our need for food can help us make better choices for overall good health and well-being.  The curriculum also covered practical skills such as Healthy Eating on a Budget, Special Diets, Healthy Lifestyles, and Prepping for the Week.  All great topics for Musolf residents, whose food choices are constrained by lack of access to grocery stores in Old Town as well as very low incomes.  Thank you Lift Urban Portland!
Lyndon Russell Musolf (1922-2017)
IHI lost a great friend and advocate last month, with the passing of Lyndon Musolf.  Lyn Musolf founded Innovative Housing, Inc. in 1984 and served as our Board President for many years.  His vision, guidance, and insight ensured that IHI would be a successful organization that would responsibly create and protect one of Portland's great public assets for the long term - affordable housing.   Lyn was compassionate, committed, and strategic in his approach to providing homes to all of Portland's residents. He negotiated the sale of one of the first properties the Naito family ever sold in Old Town and its subsequent conversion from SRO to studio apartments for very low-income people with disabilities.  That building, later named Lyndon Musolf Manor in his honor, is now home to IHI's offices and continues to house vulnerable people with very low incomes.
The fifth of six children, Lyn was born and raised in a small town in South Dakota.  After high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and joined the first ever U.S. Army Glider corps as a Flight Officer. Lyndon flew a glider in the invasion of Normandy, France the morning of June 6, 1944.  Returning from WWII, he completed a degree at University of South Dakota and then moved to Los Angeles where he earned a Ph.D. in Political Science at UCLA.  Lyn came to Portland in 1966, as a Professor of Political Science.  He was brought to Portland to be the founder of the Urban Studies Center at the then Portland State College.  His successful appeal to the Oregon legislature to allow the Center to award Ph.Ds resulted in Portland State College being granted University status in 1969. 

A lifelong advocate for affordable housing for all, Lyn became the Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Portland in 1973. He left HAP to co-found Innovative Housing Inc.  Lyndon was also a co-founder of the Urban Affairs Association, which gave him a lifetime achievement award in 2013.  In addition to his professional and civic achievements, Lyndon Musolf was a family man, raising six children with his wonderful wife Barbara.  He was a great man who lived a full life.  IHI is very proud to be a living part of his legacy. 
Fair Housing Lives in Oregon
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon is thrilled to present the 20th Annual Fair Housing Poster Contest theme: "Fair Housing Lives in Oregon!".
The contest, which is open to children in first through eighth grade, is a wonderful opportunity to educate young people about their civil rights in housing and to encourage their artistic expression. The ten contest winners will receive cash awards.   The Grand Prize winning artwork will be printed on thousands of posters and distributed throughout Oregon!
The poster contest deadline is March 16, 2018. For more information, visit FHCO's website at  , or contact  Eleanor Doyle  at 503-223-8197, extension 111 . They can provide you with contest brochures, materials, lesson plans, book suggestions, and more!
Innovative Housing Inc.