Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
From Our E.D.
Rehab of The Clifford Complete
Innovative Change$
Coats for Kids Drive a Success
Resident Services Year in Review
Search, Shop and Donate




xmas kids 200res


This holiday season, please help Innovative Housing celebrate our 25th Anniversary by making a

tax-deductible donation to support hard-working families who are struggling to make ends meet. 


To make a donation online,

visit our website:


You can also mail your donation to: Innovative Housing, Inc.

219 N.W. Second Ave.

Portland, OR  97209

Thank you!




If you prefer to receive this

newsletter in print, please

notify Jaime Schmidt, IHI's Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, at or 503-226-4368 ext. 8






















Winter 2010

From IHI's Executive Director

Sarah J. Stevenson 

Seasons Greetings.  It is with great pleasure that I write my first Executive Director's Letter, and I can think of no better time to share news about Innovative Housing with you.  2010 marked our 25th year of service to the Portland metro region.  We decided to celebrate by telling people more about Innovative Housing's mission, our work, and our accomplishments.  In this inaugural issue of the IHI newsletter, you will read about our most recent housing development, our resident services, and an exciting new enterprise that we launched to better serve the Portland community.


We have all struggled during this economic downturn, some more than others.  I count myself fortunate every night that I come home to a safe, warm house and am able to put ample food on the table for my family.  Many of our fellow Portlanders are not so lucky.  Low-income individuals and families are  struggling to make ends meet in the face of job loss, reduced hours, and overall financial crisis.  At the same time, the recession is causing budget cuts to traditional safety nets and reducing community resources.  IHI was thrilled to receive a large grant from the Paul Allen Family Foundation in late 2009 designated specifically for helping our residents weather this financial storm.  We have had the benefit of using those funds throughout 2010 to help people pay utility bills, buy medication, purchase essential work supplies, repair vehicles, and maintain their housing. 


IHI's resident services staff has been extremely busy during the past twelve months providing support and resources to more than 1,200 residents.  While I regret that our services are in such demand, I take great pride in the work that IHI does and am grateful that we have the capacity to deliver during these times of hardship.


This has also been a trying period for real estate development, making it harder than usual to provide affordable housing for people who need it now more than ever.  IHI saw two of our developments falter in 2009 due to the economy, but we were fortunate to have committed partners, and we revived both deals in 2010.  This year IHI acquired and preserved 44 units of large family housing and completed the historic preservation of a building that will provide 88 units of low-barrier housing for very low income individuals.


In 2010 IHI also launched Innovative Change$, a responsible alternative to predatory lenders for low-income Oregonians.  ICS pairs financial education and counseling with small dollar loans to help people bridge financial gaps that might otherwise spiral into crisis.


Innovative Housing has had a very successful year, in spite of an adverse climate for development and fundraising, marking our 25th Anniversary with several major accomplishments.  I hope that you can also identify many personal successes in 2010, and I wish you a happy holiday season, a healthy winter, and a safe, warm home.  Thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter!

IHI Completes Historic Rehab of The Clifford Apartments
Clifford entry

New entry, door canopy and windows

This month IHI will complete its renovation of The Clifford Apartments, preserving 88 affordable apartments for low-income individuals. Constructed in 1911, The Clifford provides a mix of Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units and studio apartments, along with four ground floor commercial spaces. It has long been a resource for very low income people seeking low-barrier housing, but in the past has not been nonprofit owned.

In early 2007 IHI identified The Clifford as a property worth acquiring and preserving. We spent seven months negotiating a complex option agreement and took over operations in July 2007. During 2008 IHI used The Clifford as temporary housing for Musolf Manor residents while their apartments were under construction. This enabled us to use relocation funds from the Musolf Manor project to secure our purchase rights for The Clifford -making every dollar count twice! We were originally scheduled to begin construction in 2009, but the economic downturn and the loss of two historic tax credit investors delayed the project until 2010.  As they say, when the going

"I love my new apartment here.  Everything has been so positive. I am really able to get my feet on the ground here."

- Bryan, Clifford Apartments resident

gets tough, the tough get going! Our funding partners stuck with us and, in some cases, stepped up with additional resources. The resulting financing structure is a complex mix of partners and 14 different sources that gets the job done.

IHI is not only restoring some historic elements like the front entrance canopy but also making improvements to residential units and implementing new energy efficiency measures.  We've created a new community space and offices for supportive services and made ADA access improvements.  We also reconstructed and seismically reinforced the roof, tuck pointed exterior brick, and restored the building to its original configuration, increasing the number of apartments from 83 to 88.

We will have a Grand Re-opening and 100th Birthday Celebration for The Clifford in January!  If you are interested in attending, please check our website for details.



IHI Proudly Launches
Innovative Change$

For the last three years, Innovative Housing has been working to provide the Portland region with a responsible alternative to traditional, high-cost payday loans. In December 2009 Innovative Change$ (IC$) was born, and in February 2010 it began making its first loans to Portland area residents.

ICS logoYou might wonder why a housing provider decided to get into the payday loan business. The answer is simple - our residents need access to affordable, short term cash to bridge financial gaps. IHI works closely with our residents to help them achieve financial and household stability. We have developed a very effective curriculum designed specifically for low-income people and households experiencing generational poverty and have seen amazing results.

Yet, financial education and counseling are not always enough. Many low-income households truly need access to short-term loans until they are able to develop new budgeting, spending, and saving skills and change their relationship with money. Others, particularly in this economy, need cash to weather short-term job losses, reductions in hours, or other personal hardships.

Without options, many households turn to payday and car title loans that trap them in vicious cycles of borrowing at high interest rates and on short repayment terms. IHI recognized that we need another model and that it should be available not only to our residents but also to thousands of low-income individuals and families in our region. Thanks to a capacity-building grant from the US Treasury and tremendous local support from Meyer Memorial Trust and the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation (breaking news - IC$ was just awarded an additional $250,000 from the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund!), we were able to turn our idea into reality.

IC$ offers three loan products - an Emergency Loan, an Opportunity Loan, and a Credit Builder Loan - and pairs them with comprehensive financial education. It uses access to financial services as an opportunity to educate and inform consumers and provides tailored one-on-one coaching as well as group workshops. As of November 30, 2010, IC$ had made 117 loans and provided financial education to 245 households. IC$ is not yet open to the public - it works with 27 community-based partners who refer borrowers for education and loans - but we anticipate this changing in early 2011.

To learn more about Innovative Change$ and its services, please visit

IHI Families Receive Extra Cheer this Holiday Season
IHI partners with many dedicated community organizations that enhance our housing, strengthen our services, and enrich the lives of our resident families.  This season, we'd like to recognize the Family Assistance Foundation's Adopt-A-Family Program. In 2002, Mike Burright decided to ask his local community to help him bring holiday joy to families whose season would otherwise be bleak.  Over time the Family Assistance Foundation (FAF) was born.  In 2010 FAF will connect 200 area families in need with local businesses and individual donors who will provide a festive meal, household essentials, and gifts, which mean a relief from the emotional and financial strain of the holidays.  Program volunteers collect and wrap donated gifts, shop for additional items to meet the needs of the individual families, and deliver those gifts just before Christmas.
"This means that my daughter will have a Christmas, and that is all that matters to me."

This year, IHI's Resident Services staff nominated six families who


were all "adopted" and are looking forward to a great holiday.  One mother of three, who has been struggling just to cover rent and utilities since her husband was laid off in July told IHI, "This great news could not have come at a better time. Things have been really hard this year. The kids are going to be so excited!"  Thank you to the Family Assistance Foundation for providing IHI families with extra cheer this holiday season! If you'd like to donate, volunteer, or learn more about the Family Assistance Foundation, visit
Coats for Kids Drive a Success

IHI extends heartfelt thanks to all of the donors who contributed to our 5th annual Coats for Kids campaign. Winter brings increased hardships for families struggling to make ends meet, as parents must stretch their budgets to pay higher utility bills and provide warm clothing for their children.  Because of your generosity, we were able to provide warm winter coats to children living at IHI's family properties.


Coats for kids

IHI resident youth show off

their new winter coats.

This year's donors include Travis Adams & Sarah Carter Adams; Roslyn Aronson; Larry Byers; Nicholas Knapp; Traci Manning; Chris and Debra Page; Bill and Kerry Stevenson; Heritage Investment Corporation; Jones and Roth; Kennedy Restoration; JP Morgan Chase; LMC Construction; LRS Architects; Precision Countertops; Proud Ground; Stewart Sokol & Gray, LLC.; Walsh Construction Co.; and Wells Fargo.


We are also honored to be receiving donations through REI's Annual Holiday Coat Drive in their Portland storeFor over ten years, REI has generously hosted a coat drive to help individuals in our community. 


If you haven't made a donation and are interested in doing so, it's not too late!  For information, please call Angie Harbin, Director of Resident Services, at 503-226-4368 ext. 6 or e-mail


This Year, in Resident Services
Innovative Housing is committed to helping our residents meet their basic needs and access opportunities that improve quality of life and increase household stability. We do this by providing a range of services at our housing sites. While the economy made 2010 a difficult year for residents, it gave IHI staff even more opportunities to provide support. We are proud to share with you some of our greater accomplishments for the year:
  • IHI received $100,000 from the Paul Allen Family Foundation to continue financial education programs and provide residents with direct financial assistance.
  • IHI distributed more than $48,000 to directly help 134 households (416 people) stay stable in housing and meet basic needs. These funds helped IHI residents pay rent and utilities, purchase work clothing, repair vehicles needed for work, and purchase medication.
  • IHI raised $2,545 and received donations of about 50 coats for its fifth annual Coats for Kids campaign. We will also be receiving a large donation from REI in mid-December.
    National Night Out
    IHI youth at a National Night Out Event
  • 803 residents participated in 140 community events such as holiday meals and National Night Out.
  • 782 residents attended 106 workshops at 8 sites on topics that include First Aid/CPR and Energy Conservation.
  • IHI conducted 442 eviction preventions, provided financial education to 122 households, helped 248 residents advocate for themselves, and helped 86 residents acquire benefits.
  • IHI provided 230 youth with backpacks and school supplies and distributed 1,105 direct resources including food, clothing, household items and tickets to events.
  • IHI served 3,511 summer lunches and provided daily activities for children at 4 sites.
  • IHI, in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank, provided fresh fruits and vegetables to an average of 100 families a month.
  • IHI provided 1,170 resource referrals to residents. 
Help IHI Earn a Donation When You Search and Shop Online is a Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half of its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to nonprofit organizations designated by its users. Innovative Housing is proud to be a participating nonprofit. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up for IHI!

Additionally, is a new online shopping mall that will donate up to 30% of each purchase to IHI. Hundreds of stores including Amazon, Target, Gap, Best Buy, eBay, Macy's, and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop. Every time you place an order you'll be supporting your favorite cause - Innovative Housing! If you download the GoodSearch Innovative Housing toolbar, IHI will earn money every time you search and shop online, without having to visit GoodSearch or GoodShop first.

Add the Innovative Housing toolbar at For more information, please contact Jaime Schmidt, IHI's Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, at (503) 226-4368 ext. 8 or by

e-mail at

Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    2010