Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
From Our E.D.
A Safe Home . . . and an Income
Miller Paint Keeps On Giving
IHI's Newest Development is Fully Funded
Under Construction
Helicopters, Marshmallows & Golf for Affordable Housing
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Portland, OR  97209


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Summer Fun!!

It has been a fun and busy summer for IHI Youth! On top of hosting free summer lunches and activities at our family sites, IHI's Resident Services staff coordinated with many partners to offer educational and exciting opportunities for residents. 


In July, Innovative Expressions Artists participated in a First Thursday art show in the Pearl District.  The exhibit was titled "Portland Through The Eyes Of . . ." and was focused on the children's artistic renderings of Portland landmarks.



The Portland Children's Museum visited all four of IHI's family sites in July to teach resident youth how to paint with watercolors.







Moses displays his artwork.


books 2 u
The Multnomah County Library's Books 2 U bookmobile came to each family site weekly and has been a huge hit.


books 2 u 3
Enjoying her books.


zoo zap team
The Zoo Zap team visited Village Square Apartments, bringing lots of furry and scaly friends for kids to meet.


On August 2nd IHI residents celebrated National Night Out with community parties and enjoyed refreshments, games, raffles, and visits from real firefighters!



Fall 2011

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

Every summer I look forward to piles of delicious fresh fruit and vegetables - juicy red tomatoes, berries galore, and peaches! Well, as you know, it started out a little cold and rainy this year. My tomato plants are exactly the same size they were when I planted them in June and I've picked a total of 15 ripe raspberries. Not what I'd call a good year for my garden.


Luckily, the fruits of IHI's labor have been much more gratifying! On May 31 we were awarded a $50,000 capacity building grant by Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). IHI will use these funds to implement a comprehensive asset management plan and develop a sustainable strategy for preserving valuable affordable housing. In mid-July we received word that the U.S. Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund awarded Innovative Changes a $290,000 grant that will provide critical operating support and additional loan capital for its socially responsible lending activities. And on July 22 IHI received grants and Low Income Housing Tax Credits from OHCS worth nearly $8 Million to fully fund our new housing development in the Eliot Neighborhood of Northeast Portland.


Each of these funding awards represents an investment in something very important to IHI. We have spent

significant time and effort managing our portfolio and look forward to taking our asset management program to the next level, ensuring that our housing is the highest quality, that it operates as efficiently as possible, and that it is maintained to last for the long term. While Innovative Changes is now an independent organization, it was IHI's brainchild and we remain passionately committed to its mission and its success. Finally, the development of new affordable housing to meet the growing need in our community is at the heart of IHI's mission.


In this era of shrinking resources and increased demand for housing and services, our work is harder but more important than ever. For each of these efforts, it is extremely rewarding to receive a vote of confidence from our funders. We planted the seeds of success and cultivated each idea and program carefully, but funding is the critical element that allows them to flourish and grow.


As we move toward fall, I'm holding out hopes for a few extra weeks of warm weather and sweet peaches. Maybe next year I will take a page out of IHI's book and better prepare the soil before I plant my garden - and hopefully the sun will show up. For now, I am going to revel in IHI's bountiful summer! 

A Safe Home . . .
and an Income


Can you imagine living with no income? If you are lucky enough to live in a rent subsidized apartment and receive food stamps each month, your basic needs will be met. But what if you need to take the bus to a medical appointment? How do you pay for toothpaste and toilet paper, which aren't covered by food stamps?  



Tom once owned a landscaping company. Derailed by a disability and with no health insurance, Tom's finances spiraled out of control and he became homeless. Merri

Gonsalves helped him secure SSDI within 7 months. He can now pay his rent and utilities, cover his Medicare copayments, and repay old debts to friends and family.  


IHI wanted to do more than help our residents survive week to week. Two years ago we set out to help people secure an income and become financially independent. For those who can work, we assist with job searches and purchase basic tools, such as workboots and eyeglasses, that allow someone to start a job. Although many of our residents' disabilities prevent them from working, they are eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). Unfortunately the application process for these benefits is notoriously complicated and difficult to navigate: nationally, only 37% of individuals who apply are approved on initial application. For people who have recently been homeless that number is even smaller: 10-15%.  An appeal can take two years with only a slim chance of success.   


Merri Gonsalves, an IHI Resident Services Coordinator, engaged in the SSI/SSDI Outreach and Recovery, or SOAR, training, which is designed to help disabled people with histories of homelessness win their benefits on initial application. Within a 9-month period, Merri used this model to file successful social security claims for four residents.  All four residents received back pay and ongoing monthly benefits, in some cases as quickly as two months!  Importantly, all four applicants also secured health insurance.   


Motivated, by this initial success, IHI established a dedicated Benefits Specialist position.  Merri can now focus all of her time on helping residents apply for SSI/SSDI benefits and accessing related benefits such as Medicaid/Medicare, survivor's benefits, payee services, and in-home care.  She also helps residents understand and maintain their benefits, which is critical.  IHI is proud to provide this invaluable service to help our residents secure incomes and achieve financial stability.



Miller Paint Keeps On Giving

In 2006 IHI acquired and renovated the Bridgeview Apartments to create 14 safe, affordable homes for men and women who struggle with chronic homelessness. Our rehab budget was skinny to start. Then, during the course of construction, circumstances beyond our control unexpectedly increased costs. IHI and our funders worked together to manage the budget and we asked the community for help.

 Miller Paint

Miller Paint, through the Home Builders Foundation's "Painting a Better Tomorrow" Program, stepped up in a very big way, donating paint and labor to paint all of the interior units as well as the exterior of the building.


Five years later, it is time to repaint portions of the exterior and guess who is donating the paint againThank you Miller Paint for your ongoing support and your generous donations!

IHI's Newest Development

in Northeast Portland

is Fully Funded


Innovative Housing is thrilled to announce that Oregon Housing and Community Services has awarded $400,000 of grant funds and an allocation of $820,000 in Low Income Housing Tax Credits to complete the funding process for IHI's newest project. IHI can now aggressively move into design development and prepare to break ground on this exciting new project in the summer of 2012. Eliot MLK, as it is currently called, will provide 49 new affordable rental homes in Northeast Portland. The Portland Housing Bureau awarded IHI $975,000 through a competitive application process in February 2011. The State funding award represents approximately $7.9 Million of capital and puts this development on the fast track with the goal of being complete by summer 2013.    

 Eliot MLK rendering

Eliot MLK is an exciting transit-oriented development on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just south of Fremont. The area has excellent transit with a high frequency bus line, access to Irving Park just one block away, services and amenities along MLK, and is close to downtown Portland. The project will seek LEED certification and include many green elements to minimize operating costs for residents and IHI. To read more about this innovative new project, please visit our website.

Under Construction

IHI is currently completing a limited rehab project at the Kinnaman Townhomes in Washington County. The 40-unit complex was built in 1994 and was showing signs of wear and tear. Kinnaman Townhomes are all two and three-bedroom apartments and have been home to many families (and kids) over the last 17 years! 


Although IHI has operated the property Kinnaman constructionsince 1994, we did not own it outright until June, 2011.  

Now we are investing in capital repairs that will extend the life of this much-loved community, including new roofs, selective siding replacement, improved attic venting, and window seal repairs. We are also painting the exterior to preserve our siding and give the townhomes a fresh new look! 


The Kinnaman Townhomes are home to 40 families and 64 children. In addition to a full range of resident services provided by IHI, the complex has an on-site day care center that offers below-market rates to residents.

  Helicopters, Marshmallows & Golf for Affordable Housing!

On July 26, IHI staff joined dozens of Walsh Construction Co. volunteers and three of our sister organizations (REACH, NHA, and CCC) at Langdon Farms Golf Club for The First Annual Walsh for Housing Golf Tournament.


helicopter ball drop

Supporters of affordable housing bought

raffle tickets that corresponded to numbered balls-the ticket matching the ball that dropped closest to the hole won a cash prize!


Walsh organized the event to support affordable housing and help IHI, REACH, NHA, and CCC spread the word about their missions to players, sponsors, and others in our industry. IHI staked out Hole 11 and facilitated a marshmallow driving contest while players waited to tee up - who knew you could drive a marshmallow 50 feet? Another fun event was the helicopter ball drop. Everyone gathered to watch the helicopter drop 750 balls on the green! 


Thanks to Walsh for such a well-organized event and to all of the players and sponsors for supporting IHI and affordable housing! For a complete list of sponsors please visit our website.


Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    2011