PATHWorks Newsletter: October 2022
Success Stories - Employment - Finances - Asset Building - Housing Works Updates - Resources
Homeownership Success through Partnerships

As the cost of buying a home continues to rise in Central Oregon, with home prices and interest rates increasing, the combined efforts of many programs working together to provide homeownership opportunities is more important now than ever before. Recently, four PATHWorks participants put in the hard work to make their homeownership dream a reality when they purchased their first home in Redmond through Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity (BRHFH), utilizing Housing Works Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership program, and the savings received from the VIDA matched savings program for their down-payment and closing costs.

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity is dedicated to providing affordable homeownership opportunities for low- to moderate-income families and individuals in Bend and Redmond.

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) homeownership program allows families assisted under the HCV rental program to use their voucher to buy a home and receive assistance in meeting homeownership expenses.

The Valley Individual Development Account (VIDA) is a matched savings program that enables families with limited financial resources to save for their home purchase down payment and closing costs and builds assets.

The partnerships between these three programs provided the means and opportunities for individuals and families to purchase a home to call their own. Read about two of their stories below and the other two will be included in our next newsletter in January 2023!
Linda R.

"It was Christmas in July" in 2012 when Linda was selected for the Housing Choice Voucher program. She was a single mom working part-time in retail competing for hours at work while trying to balance work and her kids' schedules simultaneously. She was behind on bills, picking and choosing which bills to pay and which not to pay each month since she couldn't afford them all. When Linda found out she was selected for the voucher and would receive rental assistance, she felt relieved. She felt hope for her future knowing she had some assistance to lift the pressure off her to get caught up. First things first, she had to find a new place to live because she knew where she was living at the time, her unit would not have passed the HUD HQS inspection requirement.

Once Linda and her kids were settled in their new home, Linda had a sense of security that her kids could come home and knew they would be okay. Shortly after, Linda suffered an injury and was out of work for some time. Around this same time, Linda's kids were old enough and moved out on their own. With no job and no income, Linda joined the PATHWorks program in 2016 looking for resources, support, tools, and assistance to help her reach her goals.

Linda needed income first and foremost to start working towards accomplishing any of her goals. She started working at Grocery Outlet and quickly moved up to a management position. Through her increase in income and rent increase, she started earning escrow savings as a PATHWorks participant. She was able to purchase a reliable vehicle with an interim escrow withdrawal as the program allows. Now that she had income, she wrote and followed a written budget to help her decrease her debt and increase her savings. This led to her credit score increasing.

In the fall of 2017, Linda decided to move to Arizona to be closer to her family. She was eligible to graduate PATHWorks and was able to use her escrow savings to support her move.

Linda moved back to Central Oregon in the Spring of 2019 and rejoined the PATHWorks program. Second time around, Linda continued pursuing her goals and had her sights set on homeownership as her ultimate goal. She was working full-time at Walmart at the time and decided to apply to COCC because there were better benefits, hours, and higher wages available. She was hired and started working full-time at COCC as a custodian in August 2019.

Over the next couple of years, Linda continued to work on her budget, paying down debt, and increasing her credit score and savings. A homeownership opportunity presented itself when BRHFH opened its application period at the beginning of 2021. Since Linda had been working on improving her finances, she felt ready to pursue her homeownership goal and applied. Linda was selected and started the process to purchase a townhome in Redmond. She also started a VIDA savings account to help her fund the down payment and closing costs and joined the Housing Choice Voucher homeownership program as is required to receive a mortgage subsidy to support her homeownership goal and be prepared to purchase the BRHFH home. As part of these programs requirements, Linda had to complete regular budgets, attend classes (including financial and homeownership) and complete her sweat equity hours for BRHFH.

Linda put in the hard work, time and dedication to accomplish all of the required tasks. Linda graduated from the PATHWorks program in May 2022 and closed on her new home the following month in June. Through this process, Linda said these programs helped her in so many ways. They stretched her and helped her realize she is a stronger person than she thought she was. She overcame fears of not being able to do a budget, not wanting to look at finances, to having to do these things and learned she could by being provided the support and being held accountable to get them done. She said knowing that she got through all of this, she achieved her goal of homeownership, her confidence has increased and she now knows she can do whatever she puts her mind to.

This is the beginning of a new journey for Linda. The next step, working towards earning her GED! Linda belongs to Choctaw Nation based out of Oklahoma and is receiving support to help her continue to reach all her goals and what she sets her mind to.

Congratulations Linda and keep up the momentum!
Cyndy J.

Cyndy started receiving the Housing Choice Voucher rental assistance 6 years ago in September 2016. In August 2022, she became a first-time homeowner! This path was not easy for her, and her goals felt out of reach. Though there were many times that Cyndy did not believe in herself, and she wanted to give up, she didn’t. She continued to pursue her goals and just took the small steps one at a time to lead her to purchase her home.

When she started receiving the voucher, Cyndy was a single mom of a teenage son struggling to make ends meet by working part-time at Dollar Tree. She immediately signed up for the PATHWorks program to work towards her goals of improving her finances, preparing for homeownership, and utilizing her Culinary and Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree to open her own food truck business.

Cyndy suffers from chronic pain. Due to injuries from a recent vehicle accident and a bad fall at that time, Cyndy felt limited in her physical and mental abilities to move forward in pursuit of her goals. She decided to take matters into her own hands and started getting the medical assistance needed to help her towards recovery and she continues to this day for ongoing improvement.

Shortly after starting PATHWorks, Cyndy looked for a new job. She was hired as a caregiver part-time and has been working in this field ever since. With the increase in income, Cyndy started earning escrow savings. After reviewing a copy of her credit report and debt analysis, she created a debt payoff plan using her budget that she routinely updated as needed. As she paid down her debt, she was approved for more credit and managed her credit responsibly which led to her credit score increase.

Cyndy had her sights set on owning her own food truck but decided she wanted to pursue homeownership since she wanted stability first. With her income, savings, and credit score increasing and debt decreasing, this dream was starting to be more within Cyndy’s grasp and she started believing in herself a little more. So, she applied for the VIDA matched savings program as the next step. Shortly after opening her VIDA savings account in April 2021, Habitat for Humanity opened its application period and Cyndy applied and was approved! Around this same time, she got a second job to help her continue to increase her income and savings, and decrease her debts. Once she felt caught up in her finances, she was able to quit the second job and use her income from her first job, the Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program, and Social Security income to secure the income needed to fully qualify for the Habitat for Humanity program. Cyndy worked hard and with the support of the team involved in all these programs, Cyndy completed all the program requirements such as financial education and a first-time homebuyers education course through NeighborImpact (Central Oregon's HUD Certified Housing Counseling Agency), budgets, sweat equity hours, and more!

Cyndy shows how taking small steps one at a time can lead to being prepared when opportunities present themselves. She now has a home to call her own with a spare room, and a room for her now adult son to visit his home away from home. Cyndy stated this about her journey "Pain changes the way you think about yourself. You compare yourself to others that don't have pain and you begin to feel less and less about yourself. The support from my son, the PATHWorks program, and others gave me the encouragement and the strength to continue and persevere. The program to save and increase my credit score only happened because of the faith everyone had in me to do it which helped me with my self-esteem and therefore I pushed forward to accomplish those dreams and goals."

Congratulations Cyndy on purchasing your home! Next stop, food truck business owner!
Check out the Stories of Transformation video below to hear more about Linda's story as well as others in the PATHWorks program.
Is the PATHWorks program for you? Check out the Housing Works PATHWorks video to learn more.
Job Journey Tips from Express Pros

Job Journey, brought to you by Express Employment Professionals, aims to provide you with tips and advice for every step of your working life, from searching for employment, hired to retired and everything in between, Job Journey has the tips you need. That means job search advice, interview tips, help with how to handle a job offer, information on getting along with your co-workers, ways to deal with a tough boss, retirement guides, and more. Read about a few of their recent articles below.

Work doesn't always have to feel like work, especially, when you are doing what you love! There are jobs where you can get paid to do the things you already do and enjoy doing. Check out the list of "Odd jobs" below that don't feel like work at all!

  • Get paid to binge-watch Netflix - Netflix has a position for a “Netflix tagger,” or editorial analyst. The tagger watches content and assigns relevant tags such as the release date, language, genre, cast and crew members, and types of profanity and violence depicted in the movie or show. Bookmark the Netflix careers website for positions available!

  • Get Paid to Watch Animals - There are jobs out there that allow you to sit for and walk dogs and cats, such as Rover. Another option is Petsitter, where you may watch after or even train a variety of animals, including birds, reptiles, and exotic pets.

  • Get Paid to Listen to Tunes - On Spotify, reviewers can score new artists’ songs by utilizing services such as Slice The Pie and Playlist Push.

  • Get Paid to Test Beds - There are jobs out there that will pay you to nap while testing bedding and mattresses. According to ZipRecruiter, people who test mattresses for a living make approximately $49,000 on average nationally.

Dressing appropriately for work helps you present a positive and professional image of your organization to others. Even if you dress casually or wear a uniform, making sure you look neat and put together can improve the reception you receive from others and make you feel comfortable and confident. Most workplaces have a dress code in place that may be more formal or more casual that is appropriate to the work environment. Listed below are three common dress codes to dress for success.

Business Professional - Business professional attire is the most formal option in a business environment. Full suits are appropriate for everyday wear in certain professions, for special presentations, and for meetings in more casual atmospheres.

Appropriate business professional dress typically includes:

  • Slacks, business dress, or skirt
  • Suit jacket or blazer
  • A tie, when required
  • Button-up shirt, collared shirt, sweater, blouse
  • Closed-toe dress shoes, including appropriate socks or hosiery

Business Casual - Business casual attire incorporates a comfortable look while maintaining a professional business image. Not all casual clothes are appropriate for the workplace, such as clothing you would wear to the beach, while doing yard work, attending a sporting event, or exercising.

Appropriate business casual dress typically includes:

  • Slacks
  • Dress shirt with collar
  • Blouse
  • Optional tie or seasonal sport coat
  • Dress or skirt at knee-length or below
  • Tailored blazer

Casual - Casual attire is reserved for the most casual work environments, including working remotely. In some offices, it’s only allowed on Fridays. It’s also important to dress appropriately for virtual meetings. If your workplace allows you to dress casually, avoid wearing jogging suits, T-shirts, sandals, or revealing clothing.

Appropriate casual dress typically includes:

  • Jeans, slacks, and in some instances, appropriate shorts
  • T-shirts, button-up shirts, blouses
  • Shoes you can walk comfortably and safely in (closed-toe is still best)

If there is no dress code at your place of work, there is a common saying "Dress for the job you want, not the job you have".
Express' Job Journey blog is a great resource for employees and job seekers. If you are interested in more tips like these, sign up for their newsletter here.
Managing your Finances During Inflation

With inflation on the rise and the threat of a recession looming, managing your finances has become even more of a necessity. Like many of us, you have probably noticed that your dollars aren't stretching as far as they used to. Average gas prices rose to the highest ever recorded in US history. Food prices were 9.4% higher in April 2022 than in April 2021 -- the largest annual increase in 41 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Grocery prices jumped 10.8% for the year. The costs of almost everything has been steadily increasing. If you haven't already, it is time to reassess your finances.

It is likely your income has not kept up with increased expenses. If you have looked at your monthly bank statement and were surprised by your spending, or if you're unsure where your money is really coming from and going each month, using a spending tracker will provide clarity around your income and spending habits. For more information about tracking your spending, use this spending tacker tool and click here for more CFPB resources. Also, check out our previous newsletter for Apps to Help You Save and Track Your Money. Tracking and knowing this information can help you make decisions to meet your financial goals.

Once you know your income, spending, and expenses amounts, it's time to create a written budget or reevaluate your current budget. Here is a link to Budgeting: How to create a budget and stick with it. Evaluating your budget is important to making sure your budget meets your current financial goals. Your needs and goals will change over time, so you should evaluate and reevaluate your budget as needed, at least monthly and overall annually. Adjust it as necessary to achieve the success you want.

In addition to tracking, creating and following a written budget, see below for more tips on how to approach managing your finances in response to inflation.

  • Pay off debt and avoid accumulating any more credit card debt (have you noticed how much those interest rates are rising!)
  • Change your lifestyle to decrease spending
  • Negotiate or cut expenses: insurance, cable or phone bills. Reach out to your providers to negotiate a lower amount or shop around to see if you might be able to get a better deal.
  • Create or increase your emergency savings fund

Having control over your money is the foundation to financial capabilities. Making and sticking to a budget and updating it as needed, is key towards keeping up with inflation, getting a handle on your debt and working towards a savings goal, of any kind. For more financial tools, click here.
Kôr Community Land Trust
Affordable Homeownership Program

Purchasing a home has historically been one of the best ways for individuals and families to build and pass wealth to their children or other family members. Some benefits of homeownership include:

  • Building equity
  • Fixed monthly payments without the risk of "rent increasing"
  • Stability and security
  • Capital gain exclusion on appreciation of home if sold (subject to IRS rules)
  • Tax deductibility of mortgage interest (up to $10,000), property taxes, and maintenance expenses (multifamily)
  • Ability to pass home asset to children or other family members
  • Opportunity to provide generational wealth

If you feel that you have been priced out of the current housing market due to rising home prices, there are affordable homeownership programs available. In addition to Habitat for Humanity as described in our Success Stories article above, another homeownership program available in Central Oregon is Kôr Community Land Trust. From Kôr's website, "Kôr is a nonprofit that creates sustainable, affordable homeownership communities for Central Oregon’s workforce. Based in Bend, the fastest-growing mid-size city in America, Kôr uses the Community Land Trust model to ensure that the community will have access to healthy, affordable homes for generations to come." If you are interested in finding out if you qualify for one of these homes, Get Started and click here for Program Details.

Read about two previous PATHWorks participants who are now Kôr homeowners here.

Kôr Community Land Trust has committed to centering the voice of clients in all levels of the organization to ensure equitable and inclusive decision making. If you are interested in learning more ways to get involved or making your voice heard within their organization, contact their Homeownership Program Coordinator, Tess Freeman at or 458-202-4598.

Purchasing a house is a major commitment. The financial and lifestyle benefits are well worth the cost.
Resident Services Provided by Cornerstone Community Housing

Housing Works is excited to announce it has secured Cornerstone Community Housing (CCH) to oversee and deliver resident service programs to the residents living in housing communities owned by Housing Works and professionally managed by EPIC Property Management. This new contracted service with CCH will expand our past resident services offerings and bring additional valuable resources to the residents.

Cornerstone Community Housing (CCH) has delivered resident services programs to the front doors of historically disadvantaged populations since 1992. Cornerstone knows safe, quality, affordable housing is the bedrock of success for families, and is uniquely positioned to deliver services at the front doors of low-income households. The Healthy Homes program is designed specifically to bring on-site services into affordable housing communities and has five focus areas: Food Security, Youth Development, Health and Wellness, Economic Stability, and Community Connections.

CCH partners with local non-profits, community-based organizations, and service providers who recognize the value of collaboration. This model helps prevent hardworking families from falling through the cracks and promotes household stability and resiliency. They also support Property Management by ensuring households are supported and encouraged to maintain their housing, ensure lease compliance, and have on-site access to programs that build opportunities for households to thrive. Over time, resident surveys and feedback combined with tracking participation and outcomes, helps CCH to customize programs based on the individual needs of each community.

Housing Works looks forward to working with Cornerstone Community Housing and is excited to serve our resident needs.
Get Ready -
Housing Choice Voucher
Waiting List Opening In January!

The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Waiting List will open:

Monday, January 9th, 2023 (8 am)
Friday, January 13th, 2023 (5 pm)

This program is open to low-income qualified residents of Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson counties. Applicants must apply online at:

The time you apply during the week does not impact your position on the waiting list. All applications taken during the open period will be randomized by a computer and placed on the waiting list to give all applicants an equal chance. All current applications are purged from the waiting list annually on December 31st. Anyone who is currently on the waiting list needs to reapply to the 2023 list.

If you are a partner agency helping community members apply to the HCV Program Waiting List and would like additional assistance before it opens for a virtual presentation or training session, please contact Housing Works Housing Director: Lesly Gonzalez. You can email her at: or call her at: (541) 323-7416.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, Housing Works will be open to the public under limited occupancy. We ask that walk-ins are limited to 6 guests at a time. Staff will continue to be available over the phone during regular business hours (Monday - Friday: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm) to offer application assistance. If you need technical assistance, please contact Housing Works at (541) 923-1018 or email us at We highly encourage you to not wait until the last day of waitlist week to reach out for technical support. Additionally, Housing Works has partnered with different service providers around Central Oregon that can assist you with completing your application online.

  • Bend/La Pine, Redmond, Sisters, Jefferson and Crook County Schools
  • Bend VA
  • Best Care
  • Cascade Youth & Family Services
  • COVO
  • Deschutes County Mental/ Behavioral Health
  • DHS
  • FAN
  • J Bar J
  • Latino Community Association
  • Mosaic Medical
  • Saving Grace
  • Thrive CO

We would like to thank all our community partners for assisting applicants during our Waiting List opening week. Without all your hard work, we would not be able to serve our communities. Thank you!
Security Deposit Assistance Available!

Rental security deposit assistance loans are available to Housing Choice Voucher holders and residents moving into Housing Works-owned properties managed by EPIC Property Management ONLY on a first-come, first-served basis when funding is available. These funds help individuals and families remove barriers to accessing safe affordable housing once they are selected for a rental home.