Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
From Our E.D.
New IHI Housing Coming to the Eliot Neighborhood
Healthy Generations
Nourishing Community at The Clifford
Hunter-Davisson Employee Giving
The Clifford Re-opens In Style
Golf for Housing
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Spring 2011

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

Discovering something new that excites you is a fantastic feeling.  I love watching my 2 year old experience this wonder almost every day.  Unfortunately, I don't make these new discoveries for myself nearly as often as I'd like.  One new "discovery" that I'm very happy to have made, thanks to her recent Grammy Award, is Esperanza Spalding's music.  For serious jazz lovers and followers of the local Portland music scene, I know I'm coming a bit late to the party.  But that is the beautiful part about discovery!  No matter how long others have known of and enjoyed her talents, she is a new and exciting treasure to me.


I can't pretend that housing development is as magical as the floating high notes of Esperanza's voice or the deep strumming of her bass, but I do hope that the stories in this newsletter help you discover something new about Innovative Housing that excites you.  We have been part of the local housing scene for over 25 years, using a complicated yet harmonious blend of funding sources to create homes for low-income individuals and families.  The fact that you are on our mailing list means that you know who we are, but you might not know that IHI housed nearly 2,000 people in 2010, or that in 2009 and 2010, some of the toughest economic times we've seen, IHI closed on $8.1 million worth of construction and permanent loans to acquire and preserve 264 affordable rental homes.  In this newsletter you can read about our newest housing development, find out how IHI's resident services program is helping families improve their physical health, and learn about community partners who are working alongside IHI to help individuals and families succeed.


I discovered my passion for affordable housing 18 years ago.  My heart literally pounds faster when I think about a mother sleeping better at night because she knows her children will wake up in a safe place, or someone regaining a measure of self worth lost while living on the street when they move into their own home.  We all hear the call of different songs and there is plenty of good work to go around.  If you share my zeal for housing and want to learn more about IHI or be a part of what we are doing, please visit our website at


I hope that 2011 holds some exciting new discoveries for you and that as you go about the daily rhythm of life you connect with something that makes your heart sing.  We can't all be Esperanza Spalding on the bass, but if each of us picks our own instrument and plays with passion, we will definitely make the world a more beautiful place.

New IHI Housing Coming to the Eliot Neighborhood


IHI is planning an exciting new housing development on Northeast Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard,MLK rendering between Northeast Cook and Fargo Streets.  It will be a mixed-use, transit-oriented project with commercial space on the ground floor and a mix of 49 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments serving people at 30%, 50%, and 60% of area median income.  In February the Portland Housing Bureau awarded IHI $975,000, the first funds committed for the project.  "The quality of the proposals was very high, giving our selection advisory committee a difficult job of analyzing, comparing and making recommendations," says Margaret Van Vliet, Director of the Portland Housing Bureau.  IHI is very pleased to have City support for our new development.  It is especially important because it demonstrates a local commitment to the  project, which is critical for securing additional funding.  In April IHI will  apply to the State for additional capital funds, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits and a Housing Trust Fund grant.  If successful, IHI plans to break ground in the summer of 2012.


IHI will seek LEED certification and integrate green building strategies in both design and construction that are aimed at improving performance across a range of sustainability metrics:  energy savings, water efficiency, CO2emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.  Some unique green features will include corridors that open to the outdoors and daylight at each end, fresh air intake that comes in behind refrigerators to warm up before entering the units, and on-site urban composting.  Water and sewer will be submetered so residents pay for and control their own usage.  In combination with water conservation education, this system has proven to decrease water usage atanother of IHI's properties. 


IHI's goal is to create beautiful new apartment homes that are affordable to people already living in the neighborhood, as well as those who are just discovering Eliot and all of its amenities.  They will be located one block from Irving Park, along a major transitcorridor, with downtown Portland a quick trip away.  Residents will enjoy living in a sustainable building that continues the commercial revitalization of MLK and energizes the area with new businesses and people.  IHI plans to work closely with the neighborhood to finalize a design that both enhances the urban fabric of the MLK corridor and remains sensitive to residential neighbors.  Please follow our progress on this project via IHI's website:


Healthy Generations 
Healthier Homes and Families

In 2011, IHI and our residents are committing to health!  IHI is working closely with resident parents and youth to launch Healthy Generations, a new program designed to help families develop and sustain healthier lifestyles.  This includes reducing physical, social and psychological barriers to increased exercise, improved nutrition, and improved air quality for the whole family.  

healthy generations
A father and daughter prepare a healthy meal together.


During the last year we have heard from residents who want to improve their personal health and make the health of their families and housing communities a priority.  A significant number of IHI residents suffer from obesity, chronic illnesses, and preventable diseases.  Many are noticing new health problems or dealing with worsening conditions, and parents are concerned about the development of poor health habits in their children.  Healthy lifestyle changes often take a backseat for families struggling to afford food and housing.  In community surveys at our family properties, residents list cost, disabilities, depression, and lack of energy, transportation, and information as primary barriers to eating better, getting more exercise and reducing indoor air pollutants. 


IHI is identifying resources and ways that we can support individual and community-wide changes at our housing sites.  Resident Services staff are meeting with families to brainstorm ideas to help them overcome barriers and make healthy living easier, accessible, and even fun.  We've come up with some great ideas already!  Families are excited about community meals and recipe exchanges, walking groups, increased access to local community centers, and teen tobacco prevention.  Residents want to learn more about ways that food and exercise can fight depression and improve overall mental health.  They have also asked for resources to address indoor air quality, including information about chemical-free cleaning products.  Residents' commitment to improving air quality includes overwhelming support for smoke-free housing and IHI will be making that change at two of our family properties in the upcoming year. 


Healthier lifestyles not only improve quality of life - they also lead to improved economic and social opportunities.  IHI is thrilled to help parents and their children make these important changes together!


Nourishing Community
at The Clifford


On the last Saturday of every month, when food stamps and funds are running low, volunteers from the Peace and

Social Justice Team of St. Agatha's Catholic Church in Sellwood prepare a hearty meal and serve it to residents of the Clifford Apartments.  In January 2010, the group responded to a request by one of IHI's Resident Services Coordinators to help reduce food insecurity and build community at The Clifford Apartments. That same month, undaunted by a looming renovation project and the lack of a community kitchen, the team organized groups, took up a special collection from the parish, and served their first meal.

St. Agatha's volunteer
A volunteer from St. Agatha's and a Clifford resident.


For over a year, even when construction on the building meant less than ideal conditions, twenty volunteers spent a few hours each month shopping, cooking, serving meals and eating with Clifford residents.  Residents - many of them formerly homeless - are thrilled to have such a valuable service offered where they live.  Charlie, a resident, expresses the sentiments of many people, "It gets tough at the end of the month when I run out of money.  I appreciate St. Agatha's providing me a great meal to last me through the hard times."  Joanne, another long-time resident, says, "They always bring something delicious.  I like it when they serve soup, it's easy to eat.  But my favorite is the homemade cookies."


Jerry Harp, moderator of the Peace and Social Justice Team, says one of the most important outcomes of the meals is that they provide opportunities for residents to build their own community.  IHI could not agree more.  Providing a healthy meal is important, but the greatest value comes from the opportunity for residents to gather with their neighbors and from knowing that others in the community care about their well-being.  IHI thanks the St. Agatha's volunteers for generously sharing their time and resources and becoming a part of The Clifford community.


Hunter-Davisson and Its Employees Make a Difference

IHI has worked with Hunter-Davisson to provide HVAC design/build services for several of our affordable housing developments and has always appreciated the excellent quality of their work and service.  In 2008, as IHI struggled to keep The Clifford Apartments renovation moving forward in spite of a severe economic downturn and development slowdown, Hunter-Davisson gave IHI another reason to appreciate its partnership.  Hunter-Davisson employees committed to donating $2,322 to the renovation of the Clifford Apartments.  They either made one time donations or monthly contributions.  Then Hunter-Davisson matched the employee donations with $2,697, for a total of $5019!


Their generous donations allowed us to install air conditioning in the Clifford lobby, which is now a very comfortable and beautiful place for residents to share community space.  IHI thanks Hunter-Davisson and its employees for their hard work on the Clifford Apartments, generosity, and dedication to preserving affordable housing in Portland.

HD employees
Hunter-Davisson provides single source HVAC&R design/build, installation, repair and maintenance services to the Pacific Northwest.
A Reason To Celebrate! 
The Clifford Re-opens in Style

IHI was joined by Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, Director of Oregon's Housing and Community Services Department Victor Merced, residents, partners, and community members to celebrate the grand re-opening and 100th birthday of The Clifford Apartments on January 26, 2011. 

Nick Fish
City Commissioner Nick Fish addresses the crowd.


The building re-opened following an historic renovation that improved residential units, made energy efficient and ADA upgrades, and created new service offices and community space.  The highlight of the event was resident Robert Hannick Jr.'s speech.  He described his personal journey to The Clifford and explained how his new home makes a difference in his life, concluding that "all the services and good things going on in here give me the strength to cope with what goes on out there."  IHI gave a hearty thanks to all of our project partners and celebrants raised a glass to toast another 100 years of housing at The Clifford!


Clifford model unit
A model unit at The Clifford.

Mark Your Calendars and
Golf for Housing!


In place of IHI's annual golf tournament, this year IHI will participate in the first Walsh for Housing Golf Tournament.  The Walsh tournament will feature a full field of 30 teams and be held at Langdon Farms Golf Club on Tuesday, July 26, 2011. 

Proceeds from the event will benefit Innovative Housing, Central City Concern, REACH CDC and Northwest Housing Alternatives.  For more information about playing or becoming a sponsor, please contact Jeff Patton at 503-222-4375 x 335 or  It is a great way to enjoy a beautiful golf course on a sunny summer day and support affordable housing, all at the same time!

Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    2011