Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
From Our E.D.
A Trailer Park Story that Needs a Happy Ending
Special Thanks
Fun in the Sun and Sand
Modern Rich Apartments Nearing Completion
Modern Rich Grand Opening Save the Date
Thank You to our Construction Kick-Off Sponsors!

Help Us!

IHI has been nominated for the Chase Community Giving 2012 Program! You can help us win grant funds by voting for IHI at the Chase Community Giving facebook page. If you are a Chase online customer, you can also vote at vote now - voting closes on September 19th!  


chase comm giving







Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help Innovative Housing, Inc. support the hard-working families and individuals who live in our housing.




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Innovative Housing, Inc.

219 N.W. Second Ave.

Portland, OR  97209


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Fall 2012

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

You win some and you lose some. IHI has had a very exciting summer, with our first annual FriendRaiser doubling as a Construction Kick-Off Party for our newest development in the Eliot Neighborhood and the Modern Rich Apartments taking shape right in front of our eyes. Unfortunately, in July we also received word that Oregon's Department of Housing and Community Services did not fund IHI's proposal for new family housing in Albany. State funding is always a very competitive process, with three to four times as many projects submitted as there are funds to build them. The good news on that front is that the City of Albany is so committed to redeveloping the Woodland Square Trailer Park that it is funding IHI's acquisition of the property now, before our purchase and sale agreement expires. That means we will retain site control and can reapply for State funding next year.


This summer has also been exciting and hectic for me personally. I bought a new house and moved out of my family's first home. Closing on new home financing in the wake of the national housing collapse was challenging. Moving with two small children and way too much stuff was chaos. It was also emotionally difficult to leave the place my children were born and a home that my partner and I spent so much time and energy making our own. The entire experience was grueling, thrilling, and a valuable reminder of how important housing is to family, emotional, and financial stability.


Most of us recognize that homelessness is a problem, but the quieter problem of housing instability is often overlooked. Moving from home to home for financial or other reasons can have very damaging effects. Studies show that low-income families move much more often than the general population. Moving causes physical, emotional, and financial stress for people of all ages. School mobility also has a strong negative impact on academic performance - a child may need 4-6 months to recover academically and as long as 18 months to fully adjust to a change of school. The effects of school mobility are cumulative, meaning that children who move schools multiple times experience greater adverse effects. Not surprisingly, unplanned moves often have even more negative effects on both adults and children.


That is why IHI spends so much time and energy designing and delivering services with the primary goal of helping our residents maintain their housing. We intervene when behavioral or financial issues threaten tenancy; in 2011 alone we prevented 335 evictions. More broadly, we work hard to develop and operate housing that meets the physical and financial needs of residents, minimizing the need to move elsewhere. We locate our housing near public transportation, services, and other amenities, maintain it with the highest quality standards, and keep it affordable to people with limited incomes. We also strive to create community and provide support for our residents to use their housing as the foundation for success in all aspects of their lives. Our hope is that people are better off for the time they spend in IHI's housing, and that they only move on when they choose to do so.


I hope you have enjoyed another beautiful Oregon summer, that the sunny weather continues well into fall, and that you feel safe and secure in your housing. Everyone deserves a place to call home.

A Trailer Park Story that Needs a Happy Ending    



IHI began looking at the Woodland Square Trailer Park in early 2011. The City of Albany brought it to our attention as a site in need of redevelopment and, after studying the site and the condition of the housing there, we agreed. The trailers are 20-40 years old and most have significant structural problems, including roof leaks, electrical problems, asbestos and mold. In June, IHI negotiated a letter of intent with the owner and by August, 2011 we had a signed purchase and sale agreement for the property. We immediately contacted residents and neighbors of the site to talk to them about our plans and get their feedback. At a resident meeting in early September we heard from families eager to move into new and improved housing, and at a neighborhood meeting that same week we received our first unsolicited letter of support from a neighborhood association!


IHI spent the next several months working closely with our local development team - Greenberry Construction and OrangewallStudios - the City of Albany, the Central Albany Renewal Agency (CARA), neighbors, residents, and other stakeholders to design a project that meets the City's need for affordable workforce housing, creates an attractive gateway development along Old Salem Road, and provides accessible and appropriately sized housing options for low and moderate income families. The result is a housing development that we all think is pretty amazing. In addition to 54 family sized units, it includes 22 ground floor ADA accessible units, central green space, and restoration of the Periwinkle Creek canyon that runs along one edge of the property.

woodland square

An existing trailer at Woodland Square.  


















In November 2011, CARA demonstrated strong local support for the project by awarding it $1.45 Million of urban renewal funds. Unfortunately, IHI did not receive a State funding award this year, which could have been disastrous because our purchase and sale agreement expired in August. But CARA and the City of Albany continue to be such strong supporters that they voted to provide IHI with funding to acquire the property now, giving us another chance to apply for State funding next year. This also gives IHI an extra year to help residents find alternative housing and prepare the site for redevelopment.


Over the past 12 months, IHI has been truly inspired by the City of Albany's support for our proposal and the overwhelmingly positive response from neighbors and current residents of Woodland Square. IHI and our development team are 100% committed to creating a "new" Woodland Square that meets all of their expectations and provides safe, comfortable homes for Albany's hard working families.

Special Thanks  

to Jeff Reingold of Income Property Management for making his annual donation of backpacks to our Back to School Giveaway. backpack boy  


Each Fall, IHI fills these great backpacks with required school supplies and gives one to every child living in our properties. The kids love them and we love helping them start the school year ready to learn!

Fun in the Sun and Sand    


On Saturday, July 21st friends, families, and neighbors joined Innovative Housing at the site of its newest housing development for a day of sun, sand, and salsa music.

face painting

Income Property Management donated a professional facepainter and staffed the event with great volunteers.

Children "drove" real diggers, dug in a sand pit, enjoyed construction-themed craft activities, got their faces painted, and visited with firefighters.

Neighbors were able to learn more about IHI's upcoming project and participate in a naming contest for the new apartments. And everyone enjoyed delicious Colombian food provided by Hacienda CDC's Micro Mercantes Program, along with free popcorn, cookies, and drinks.
Kids got to drive an excavator and a backhoe, provided by Walsh Construction.





Thanks to IHI's generous sponsors, IHI's first FriendRaiser was our most successful fundraising event to date! Sponsor donations support IHI's Resident Services Program, which helps our residents maintain their housing stability, improve their quality of life, and access opportunities to break the cycle of poverty. To learn more about IHI's services, please  visit our website.

Modern Rich Apartments Nearing Completion  
The Modern Rich Apartments are taking shape and quickly moving toward completion. In just six months, IHI and our development team will have transformed this vacant SRO building into urban studio apartments surrounding an interior courtyard with 4,300 square feet of active storefront space.

Inside, the studios combine granite countertops and modern cabinetry with historic elements such as refinished fir floors, original doors and moulding, and large paned windows.
concrete pour
Pouring concrete for the reinforced courtyard walls
Outside, the historic brick façade opens up to a surprisingly edgy concrete courtyard that will serve as outdoor space for residents as well as seating for the corner restaurant space. Although there are no public funding restrictions at the Modern Rich, to stay consistent with our mission IHI has elected to restrict 14 units for people earning up to 60% of area median income and
12 units for people earning up to 80% AMI - the remaining 8 units are open to people at any income level.

We are pleased to announce that, as of mid-August with the building still under construction, 75% of the residential units were pre-leased. Clearly the market is hungry for workforce housing options in Old Town/Chinatown!
model unit
A model unit 


IHI Thanks our 2012 Construction Kick-Off and FriendRaiser Sponsors! 
Thanks to the generosity of the following companies, this was IHI's most successful fundraising event ever.
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Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    ©2011