PATHWorks Newsletter: APRIL 2021
Success Story - Employment - Finances - Asset Building - Community Events - Housing Works Updates - Resources
SUCCESS STORY
New Homeowner: Alivia D. - Past FSS/HCV/VIDA

Alivia started receiving rental assistance through the Housing Choice Voucher program in February, 2016. She joined the PATHWorks program in May, 2016. At that time, Alivia was a single mom with a young daughter and then later became a guardian for her teenage nephew. Alivia’s goals for the PATHWorks program were to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), increase her credit score and prepare for homeownership.

When Alivia started PATHWorks, she was unable to pay her bills which was causing her a lot of stress. She knew right away that she wanted to improve her financial management skills but was unsure how. The first step Alivia took was tracking her income, expenses, and spending habits, and then creating a realistic written budget. What really helped Alivia was a tool she continues to use to this day, a bill calendar. The calendar showed her when bills were due and her written budget showed her she had the income to pay her bills. She even started paying some bills ahead of time!

Once Alivia took control of her finances, she started to pay down her debt. Alivia paid off over $5,000 of consumer debt in less than 3 years. This and other positive financial decisions on Alivia’s part led to her credit score increasing over 200 points into the 700 range. In addition to paying off debt, Alivia also started saving in the VIDA 3:1 matched savings program for homeownership.

Alivia enrolled in school during her participation in the PATHWorks program and earned many certificates including, but not limited to, "Synthetic Drugs of Abuse" and "Addiction Pharmacology" to work towards her CADC. Because of her education and experience, Alivia was hired on full-time as a Certified Recovery Mentor at Turning Points Recovery Center. Alivia was then promoted to a counseling position.

Alivia had an increase in household income that put her over-income for the Housing Choice Voucher program. She was able to release all of her financial assistance in March 2019. Alivia graduated the PATHWorks program and received the funds in her escrow savings. She continued to save in the VIDA program and was able to use those funds for the down payment and closing costs on her new home. Alivia and her husband purchased their family home in January 2021!

Congratulations Alivia and keep up the great work!
Connecting PATHWorks Families to Free Laptops

We are happy to report that our recent Free Laptop program for PATHWorks participants was a huge success! In December 2020, we heard about an organization called PC’s for People that provided low-cost, refurbished computers. After some investigation and several Zoom meetings, we were able to partner with PC’s for People to acquire 20 Dell Laptops. We created a process for our PATHWorks clients to apply and qualify for the laptops. We had an overwhelming response with over 40 interested applicants within the first day.

The 20 families that were selected had to show a need related to education or employment and were required to take a computer training course through our partner, Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC). Marnie at COIC went out of her way to create two custom online Zoom courses for our clients to attend. A big shout out and thank you to Marnie for all of her help! Marnie and COIC are truly great partners.

We are in the process of trying to locate additional funding in an effort to make this program an annual event. In the meantime, PATHWorks participants and anyone else who meets the PC’s for People eligibility requirements can access low-cost laptops, computers and WIFI Hot Spots directly from PC’s for People at https://www.pcsforpeople.org/get-technology/. They are easy to work with and provide additional support. Make sure to check them out if you are interested! Congratulations to all of our PC's for People grant recipients who received free laptops!
EMPLOYMENT
Interviewing? Are you Ready?


Creating a great resume is the first step in landing an interview for your dream job; but that is only the beginning. Are you prepared for that first interview when the call comes? Here are a few things to think about.

You will want to try to identify the specific interview process that your prospective employer plans to use. How many interviews will you attend? If it is two or more, you can generally assume that the first interview is shorter and more of a meet and greet. The employer may want to see how you respond to some general questions, observe how you present yourself and evaluate your communication style. If they like what they see and hear, you will move on to the next interview(s) which will more than likely include more targeted questions for you and perhaps the opportunity to meet additional staff from the organization. Here is a short list of things to keep in mind.

Visual Presentation
  • Dress appropriately for the interview.
  • Be on time or early if possible.
  • If it is a virtual call, make sure you check your background setting, meeting environment and all aspects of your technical setup
  • If virtual, make sure you won’t have distractions or interruptions.
  • Keep good eye contact, especially when speaking.
  • Thank everyone for meeting with you at the end of your interview.

Be Prepared
  • Research the company and know what they do!
  • Review the job posting and know what they want you to do!
  • Keep your answers concise and focused. Don’t veer off into stories.
  • When answering behavior interview questions (e.g. tell me about a time when… have you ever…), consider using the STAR interview response format. STAR stands for situation, task, action and result.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer; let them finish asking the question.
  • If you don’t understand or didn’t hear the question, ask them to repeat it.
  • Know the pay range. If it is not enough for you, then turn down the interview or ask about growth opportunities.
  • Rehearse answering questions you think they might ask, like what do you know about us or tell us why you think you are a good fit for this position?

General Themes
  • Focus on what you can bring them as an employee, not on how they can help you.
  • Hold off on asking about benefits until you are offered the job. You can always say no to the job offer or negotiate at that time.
  • Be prepared to ask your interviewer(s) one or two questions if they ask if you have any questions for them. Think about these questions in advance. Asking them questions about the company will get them talking and could provide you with more information for the second interview, if offered.
  • Be yourself and try to relax as much is possible. People want to hire employees they think will fit within the culture of the organization and be easy to work with. Most companies are willing to train you, so keep that in mind and honestly put your best effort forward.
  • If possible, follow up after the interview with an email or call thanking your interviewer for taking the time to interview you. This may seem simple, but it will make you stand out.

Good luck and remember there are lots of other tips and tricks on interviewing available online if you do a quick internet search.
FINANCES
Fun Games to Teach Your Kids About Money

Imparting important financial lessons, including saving strategies and money-management skills, is crucial to help your children achieve long-term success. Teaching your child how to save and spend wisely can shape his or her future attitudes toward money. So if you're looking to set your kids up for financial success later in life, here are some strategies to consider:

Use games to teach about money that can make learning fun.

Board Games:

Online Games:

Apps:

  • Demonstrate the value of money through your daily actions and spending habits.
  • Talk to your kids about money.
  • Talk about money when or after you watch TV shows.
  • Let your kids shop.
  • Stress the importance of curbing impulse purchases.
  • Start a coin collection.
  • Discuss big purchases with your kids.
  • Encourage teens to get jobs and earn money.
  • Encourage your kids to give to charity.
  • Help your children open a bank account.
  • Show your kids how to map out a budget.
  • Make saving for something a family project.
  • Teach kids about credit.
  • Introduce your kids to basic investing concepts.
  • Share your past money mistakes.

The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions also has a list of online and app options to choose from.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has lots of great resources and tools to help teach kids about money as well.

Read more about teaching kids about money here. Watch the video below to see what some kids think about money.
ASSET BUILDING
Social Security Retirement

Regardless of your current financial state, it's the destination that matters. When you decide to leave the workforce, you will need income and/or savings to pay your bills and to live on. How much to save for retirement depends, in part, on how long you expect to live in retirement and how much annual income you'll need to live comfortably. On average, most people live 20 years after beginning retirement. Some of that money may come from Social Security.

The amount of Social Security benefits that you will receive monthly after retirement will depend on several factors, including how much was paid into the system during working years and how old you are when you retire. The amount of your expected annual benefits should be considered when calculating how much other retirement income you will need to live on, and subsequently, how much you will need to save. Read more about Social Security Retirement below.

What is Social Security Retirement?

Social Security, managed by the U.S. federal government, pays benefits to retirees. Social Security benefits are one part of a broader retirement plan. These benefits can supplement other sources of retirement income, such as 401(k)s, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) or other retirement savings plans. Social Security pays out a percentage of a worker’s pre-retirement income based on their lifetime earnings.

How does the current Social Security system work?

When you work, you pay taxes into Social Security. The Social Security Administration uses the tax money to pay benefits to:

  • People who have already retired
  • people who are disabled
  • survivors of workers who have died, and
  • dependents of beneficiaries.

The money you pay in taxes isn’t held in a personal account for you to use when you get benefits. Social Security uses your taxes to pay people who are getting benefits right now. Any unused money goes to the Social Security trust funds, not a personal account with your name on it.

Estimate Your Benefits

Knowing what you will get every month in retirement benefits will help you plan for your retirement. The Retirement Calculator within my Social Security allows you to get personalized retirement benefits estimates based on your actual earnings. This makes it easy to see how changes in the date or age at which you begin receiving retirement benefits will affect your future benefit amount.

Social Security should be just one part of your retirement plan. On average, retirement beneficiaries receive 40% of their post-retirement income from Social Security. As you make your retirement plan, knowing the approximate amount you will receive in Social Security benefits can help you determine how much additional income you’ll need to reach your retirement goals.

No matter where you are in your retirement planning, whether you are just starting to work or you are close to retirement age, you can find out all of this information and more here.
COMMUNITY EVENTS
Drake & Shevlin Parks Centennial Celebration

Two of Bend’s most beloved parks turn 100 years old in 2021, Drake and Shevlin Parks. Bend Park and Recreation District (BPRD) is celebrating these important milestones looking back at the park histories and highlighting how the parks continue to make memories for Bend residents and visitors today.

Central Oregonians today have a lot to thank earlier generations for who planned ahead and recognized the importance of open park spaces. Shevlin Park is situated on the edge of town and Drake Park is located in the central hub of the community.

The first people who inhabited the lands that now make up the state of Oregon were the ancestors of today’s Wasco, Paiute and Warm Springs tribes, known as the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. These tribes have lived here since time immemorial (time beyond memory). Relying on the richness of the region’s natural resources, these tribes were hunter gatherers and often moved with the seasons in order to subsist on the land. By 1800, immigrants from the east were beginning to cross the territory and by the mid 1800’s they began settling in central Oregon. You can read more about these parks and their histories here.

BPRD's website currently has content celebrating the parks rich histories, recounting stories about the parks today, providing ideas for experiences and activities in the parks and peeking into what the future may hold for these parks. These are only two of the many parks in our area. There are many parks and many miles of trails in Central Oregon for you to experience. Take your family out on a walk and experience one today!
HOUSING WORKS UPDATES
DEVELOPMENT
Affordable Housing Available Soon in Bend

Housing Works is nearing completion of 71 units of affordable housing at two sites in Bend!

Phoenix Crossing (pictured above) will be a three-story, mixed-use apartment building with two floors of apartments over commercial space. The 24 apartments consist of twenty studios and four one-bedroom units. The community will provide homes for 12 households with intellectual/developmental disabilities with services provided by Full-Access High Desert and 12 households for survivors of domestic violence with services provided by Saving Grace. The first floor will be the new corporate office location for EPIC Property Management. Additionally, the property leasing office and resident community room space will be located on the first floor. Located across from Pilot Butte off of Highway 20 and Forbes Rd, Phoenix Crossing will provide residents with easy access to transportation, health resources, shopping and recreation.
Legacy Landing (pictured above), located off 27th and Conners Road, will be available for very-low-income and low-income seniors, defined as 55 years and older. The three residential floors are located above a ground floor medical clinic operated by Mosaic Medical, a non-profit health care provider which specializes in serving low-income patients. Of the 47 apartment homes, six units will be set aside for qualifying patients of Mosaic Medical with chronic medical conditions that create barriers to independent living. Each apartment will also offer a private deck.
The anticipated construction completion date for Phoenix Crossing is July 2021 and August 2021 for Legacy Landing. If you or someone you know is interested in living in one of these communities, please watch the following websites, www.housing-works.org and www.epicopenings.net for information about waiting list opening dates, eligibility requirements and application processes.

Applications are typically accepted 2 to 3 months prior to construction completion. These properties will be managed by EPIC Property Management, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Housing Works. Please check https://epicopenings.net to find out which of Housing Works’ affordable properties, located throughout Central Oregon, are currently taking applications.

HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER
2021 Housing Choice Voucher Program Waiting List Results


Housing Works received a total of 2,346 online applications for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program Waiting List from January 11–15, 2021. Approximately 1,800 of those applications were received from local residents living in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson Counties.

Current Applicants
  • Click HERE to check your position on the waiting list.
  • If your address, phone number, income and/or household composition changed, please update your information by clicking HERE.
  • If you are selected off the waiting list for the HCV program, Housing Works will contact you directly.

Technical Assistance
  • The email address used at registration is your login. You must have a valid email address in order to access your application.
  • If you forgot your password, please select the “Forgot Password” option and follow the instructions.
  • Keep your login and password somewhere safe and secure.

If you need additional assistance, call Housing Works at 541-923-1018.

The 2021 HCV Waiting List will remain active until December 31, 2021. At that time, all remaining 2021 applications will be removed from the waiting list. If your application was not selected, you will need to reapply next year.

The 2022 HCV Waiting List will be open from January 10-14, 2022. 

We would like to thank all our community partners for making the 2021 Waiting List opening week a success. Without all your hard work, we would not be able to serve our communities. Thank you!
Welcome Leah Gurganus, Housing Specialist
Housing Works would like to introduce and welcome Leah Gurganus as our newest Housing Specialist. Leah is so excited to be a part of the Housing Works team and she is ready to make an impact on our community!

Even though Leah was born in Alaska, she moved to Central Oregon when she was very young and this has been her community and home ever since. She graduated from Redmond High School and obtained her Associates Degree from Central Oregon Community College. For the last four and a half years, Leah has been employed at Redmond High School working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Leah currently lives in Madras with her husband Keven and her four rescue pups. She has a hobby-farm with horses, chickens, pigs, and of course her dogs. She has a heart for rescuing animals! Leah loves everything outdoors that Central Oregon has to offer. Hiking Smith Rock, white water rafting on the Deschutes, biking through Sunriver, and kayaking on Lake Billy Chinook are some of her favorites. Leah has a passion for serving others and is so excited to be a part of the Housing Works team and make a difference in our community!

Leah's contact information:
Phone #: (541) 323-2975
 RESOURCES