PATHWorks Newsletter: OCTOBER 2021
Success Story - Employment - Finances - Asset Building - Housing Works Updates - Resources
Congratulations to Victoria G.: Recent PATHWorks Graduate and First-Time Homeowner!

Victoria moved to Central Oregon at the beginning of 2019 with one goal in mind -- to own her own home. Around that time, someone told Victoria that homeownership was not a viable or realistic option for her because of her low income, which was only Social Security, a low credit score, high personal debt, and no savings or bank account in her name. She was determined to prove them wrong. Shortly after she moved to La Pine, Victoria joined the PATHWorks program to get to work in pursuing her homeownership goal.

Victoria started volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. She was interested in possibly applying for a Habitat home but found out that she did not have enough income to qualify. Habitat was building townhouses at that time and with her disability, stairs were out of the question. She was feeling pretty defeated, but her determination to succeed would not allow her to give up.

Victoria visited the La Pine Community Kitchen one day to get groceries and stayed to take a cooking class. That lead her to start doing volunteer work for the La Pine Community Kitchen. After about 6 months, she was hired and started working for them through the Worksource Experience Works program. This gave her an entry-level income, but it still was not enough for her to qualify to buy a home. In June of 2020, she applied for and was offered a position as a Grant Writer for the La Pine Community Kitchen. Her past education, including a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology, past work experience, and the relationships she developed from volunteering helped her to secure the position.

With her increase in income, Victoria created a budget and made a plan to pay off her remaining debts. The on-time payments she made on her Security Deposit Loan through Families Forward at Housing Works, along with paying down her debts, helped Victoria increase her credit score from 400 to over 700 points. Not only did Victoria pay down her debts, establish a positive credit history, and increase her earned income (which resulted in PATHWorks escrow savings as a participant in the PATHWorks program), she also started saving in the IDA 3:1 matched savings program through NeighborImpact. She was well on her way to accomplishing her goal of homeownership!

A short two and a half years later, Victoria accomplished her goal of homeownership and released all her assistance when she closed on her home in Myrtle Creek, OR in July 2021. Victoria continues to be able to work remotely as the Grant Writer for the La Pine Community Kitchen.

It wasn't always easy for Victoria, and she had obstacles to overcome along her journey, but she never gave up. She had the perseverance and determination to reach her goals. This is only the beginning for Victoria! Her next plan includes starting her own business now that she has the room and her own space to do it.

Victoria recently said "I am not sure I would have had the motivation and follow through to reach, what just a little over two years ago, I thought of as just a dream. While most people are retiring at 65, my future is just beginning. I am loving having my own weeds to pull, and I splurged and bought myself the one gift I have been wanting since I volunteered with Habitat. I bought a power sliding, dual bevel, miter saw. The gift of my dreams and a place to work on, what more could a mom want. My daughter, Harley, is loving having our own yard, and enough space in the house to dance around in. For the first time, in a long time, I am excited when I wake up in the morning, and I can honestly say that the FSS program, Andy, and Vanessa helped reawaken the joy in me. They helped guide me to achieving my dreams."

Thank you, Victoria, for the kind words, and congratulations on all you have accomplished!
Tips for Cultivating a Mentor

To be successful in any field, aspiring leaders benefit and excel from having role models and guidance. Support from a mentor can help you navigate employment opportunities and explore new professional interests. A mentor supports a mentee's professional development by providing feedback and helping the mentee identify areas for opportunities and growth.

The following are some tips for cultivating a mentor:

1. Consider the kind of mentoring you are looking for. There are professional and/or personal mentors. Before selecting a mentor, consider the following questions:
  • Are you seeking feedback on how to respond to different challenges that come up in the workplace (and possibly also impact life outside of work)?
  • Are you looking for support in developing specific technical skills?
  • Are you looking for feedback on your career development strategies?

2. Utilize your network to identify potential mentors. Once you know what you are looking for in a mentor, start brainstorming with your network about specific people that could fill that role. Be mindful of potential time commitments for yourself and your selected mentor.

3. Make the ask. Be clear with the potential mentor about what you are asking for and why. Some things that you might want to say when you make the ask:
  • I’m looking for a mentor to support my career development and have been doing some brainstorming with my supervisor and coworkers about who that could be. ___ suggested that you might be a good person to talk to.
  • In particular, I’m trying to develop a relationship with a mentor who could give me feedback on _______.
  • Would you have 10 or 15 minutes to talk about this idea in person?
  • Would you be able to make time to meet with me for 30 to 45 minutes once a month, for a couple of months, to talk about some questions that are coming up for me in my career development process? Then, we could decide if we should continue beyond that.
  • Ask the mentor what time and place would be most convenient for them to meet with you. Consider offering to buy them a cup of coffee, as a gesture of thanks.

4. Be prepared for your mentoring meetings with questions to ask. It is not the mentor’s job to lead that discussion, it is yours! Set clear expectations with your mentor regarding the confidentiality of what is shared in mentoring meetings. Identify action items that you will work on between meetings with your mentor, and report back on progress the next time you meet with your mentor to show that you take their investment of time seriously.

5. Know when to move on. Set clear goals for what you will accomplish in the time with your mentor. Keep reviewing these goals with your mentor to check that you are making progress on them. After you have been working with your mentor for a while, ask if there are any other people that your mentor would recommend that you meet with.

6. Be willing to mentor others! Pay it forward by sharing the skills and insights that you have gained through the mentoring process with others.

You may find it helpful to develop a few different mentors to support you in your growth and development areas. Finding a mentor who is an experienced and trusted advisor can help you in reaching your employment goals and succeeding in your career.
CFPB Videos that Spark Action

These short videos below explain concepts from the "Your Money, Your Goals" toolkit.

You can use the toolkit to help:

  • Make spending decisions to help reach your financial goals
  • Order and fix credit reports
  • Make decisions about repaying debts and taking on new debt
  • Keep track of your income and bills
  • And much more!

The toolkit includes:
  • Tools and handouts
  • Easy-to-follow directions so you can use tools confidently
  • Recommendations on which tools to use based on the situation and time available

Play the videos to introduce a financial topic and follow up with a tool or handout tied directly to that topic from the website to learn more.
Families Forward Receives $8,000 Grant from United Way

Housing Works' non-profit, Families Forward, is honored to have been recently selected as a recipient of an $8,000 Community Impact Grant from United Way of Central Oregon (UWCO). We’re proud to partner with United Way of Central Oregon to provide Security Deposit Assistance loans through our Moving Forward Fund. Loans are only available to Housing Choice Voucher holders, VASH participants, and people moving into properties owned by Housing Works. The Moving Forward fund exists to help individuals and families with income restrictions improve their credit, access financial tools, and help with the high cost of moving by providing security deposit assistance loans. 

Nearly 40% of households in Central Oregon were living on the edge BEFORE the COVID-19 pandemic – that’s more than 37,000 of the area's 97,000 households. Families living on the edge made up: 56% of Crook County, 35% of Deschutes County, and 53% of Jefferson County’s households. The state of emergency created by COVID-19 pushed already fragile households into even deeper financial stress. These are our families and community members who continue to face the greatest health and financial risks today, so providing access to housing is critical.

Together with United Way of Central Oregon, we’re making a difference, every day. We’re investing in the growth and success of individuals, families, and our community. Through partnerships like this, we are helping individuals and families access programs and services to meet their immediate needs and strengthen their futures. This Community Impact Grant will allow Families Forward to assist families in removing the final barrier to accessing safe and affordable housing by providing rental security deposit loans. The United Way of Central Oregon is a wonderful and valued resource in our community. We feel lucky to count United Way as an ongoing partner and appreciate not only the support they provide our program, but the good work they do throughout the Central Oregon community.

Thank you UWCO!
Bank On Oregon

Bank On Oregon can help you find a safe, affordable bank account. Bank on Oregon is a coalition of financial institutions, government agencies, and non-profits who are working together to provide a bank product, and experience that works better for previously underserved communities to reduce the number of unbanked and underbanked people in the country. Bank On Oregon works in partnership with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund), a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure that everyone has access to a safe, affordable transactional banking account through Bank On.  

Get started today!
  1. Find a participating bank or credit union in your area. Bank On Oregon has many participating partners throughout the state. For a list, click here.
  2. Ask about opening a Bank On Oregon account. Participating banks and credit unions offer safe and affordable checking and savings programs.
  3. Remember to bring your identification. Contact the financial institution and ask what kind of identification is accepted.
  4. Open your new account and start enjoying the benefits! The bank or credit union person will walk you through the entire process and show you how to sign up for money management training classes.
New Affordable Housing Available Soon in Prineville

Housing Works is developing 44 units of workforce housing on 4.42 acres in Prineville, Oregon off Peters Road, adjacent to a 500-acre city park with over 9 miles of trails.

Barnes Butte Vista, aptly named for its proximity to Barnes Butte Trail, will consist of 9 buildings with spacious two- and three-bedroom townhomes. The units are nicely equipped with modern conveniences such as a dishwasher, washer and dryer, and air conditioning. The buildings are designed with long-term sustainability using integrated solutions for energy efficiency, health and comfort for the residents. Features such as energy star appliances, packaged terminal heat pumps, and LED lighting will save residents money on their power bills.

The anticipated construction completion date for the first building is January 2022. As an affordable property, income restrictions will apply, and rents will be substantially below market rate. If you or someone you know is interested in living in this new community, please watch the following websites, and for information about waiting list opening dates, eligibility and the application process.
Housing Works is Excited to Announce a New Set of Vouchers!

On May 10, 2021, Housing Works received notice of selection to receive Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) and funding as authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 starting July 1, 2021. These new Emergency Housing Vouchers are dedicated to serve Central Oregonians under specific eligibility criteria.

What are Emergency Housing Vouchers? 
The Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) program is a new rental assistance program serving low-income families across the country. An EHV helps families locate rental housing and provides financial assistance to make their rent affordable. Housing Works (HW) will administer the EHV program in Central Oregon.

Who is Eligible? 
Families must be low-income and meet at least one of the following categories:
  1. Homeless 
  2. At risk of being homeless 
  3. Fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. 
  4. Recently homeless, and rental assistance will prevent a return to homelessness or high risk of housing instability. 

How does the program work? 
There are several steps to receiving EHV assistance:
  • The family must be referred to Housing Works through the Central Oregon Continuum of Care (CoC) or other partner agency. The referring agency will confirm that the family meets one of the four categories described above and make the referral to Housing Works. 
  • Housing Works determines eligibility for EHV assistance. 
  • The family selects a unit to lease from a private landlord. Assistance will be available to help families locate a home. 
  • The unit must pass a housing quality inspection, and the rent must be reasonable. 
  • The family will pay a portion of the rent to the landlord (typically 30% of their income) and Housing Works pays the remaining rent to the landlord. 

How many families will be served? 
Housing Works is authorized to serve up to 96 families through the EHV program.

How do I apply?
Families must be referred to Housing Works by the CoC through the Coordinated Entry System or another partner agency. Housing Works is working closely with the Homeless Leadership Coalition (HLC), Saving Grace and the Anti Trafficking (AT) Project. Please visit for complete application instructions. You cannot apply for this program directly through Housing Works.

For more information, please feel free to reach out to Lesly Gonzalez, HCV Director, at 541-323-7416 or
Welcome Beth Dias, Housing Specialist
Housing Works would like to introduce and welcome Elizabeth (Beth) Dias as our newest Housing Specialist.

Beth grew up in Oregon. She is the first person in her family to graduate with a four-year degree and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Beth joined Housing Works with many years of experience working in customer service and property management. She enjoys reading and coloring landscape pages in her free time. Her idea of spending time outdoors is sitting in a lawn chair and reading a book. Beth has a cat named Mister.

Beth's contact information:
Phone #: (541) 323-7403

For a complete contact list of Housing Works' employees, click here.