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News from Innovative Changes                                                    Volume 1, Issue 2, April/May 2010 

Innovative Changes Grand Opening!

Innovative Changes staff and board members celebrate the ICS Grand Opening with Mayor Sam Adams on March 16, 2010.
Grand Opening
Partner Profile:
Housing Authority of Portland
The Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) was an early supporter and partner of Innovative Changes.  When researching and designing the program we solicited input from HAP staff. When we needed a location out of which to run the program, HAP leased us space in their New Columbia Opportunity Center in North Portland. When we rolled out the program, HAP was one of the first partners to sign an MOU with us in order to refer prospective clients.
CherylIt's not surprising that HAP and Innovative Changes make such good partners. Our missions are aligned: HAP is dedicated to providing safe, decent and affordable housing for individuals and families who are challenged by income, disability or special need. Innovative Changes exists to help low-income individuals and families manage short-term financial needs in order to achieve and maintain household stability. Our individual and combined efforts on the ground support and empower people, and together we are making a difference.
According to Rosanne Marmor, HAP's Resident Services program manager, Innovative Changes' program complements HAP's work with its residents.
"Our participants are trying to develop the skills needed to move up and out of poverty, and high-interest payday loans are in direct conflict with that objective," said Marmor. "If access to a short-term loan means they can make their rent payment and remain in their housing-and receive financial counseling-then this is one more tool they can use to achieve their ultimate goal of stability and independence."
Cheryl West is the smiling face who will greet you when you visit Innovative Changes at the New Columbia Opportunity Center.
Announcing our Spring workshop schedule!
ICS is pleased to offer Financial Household Stability, a four-part series of interactive workshops. Each of the four workshops- Making Ends Meet; Budgeting and Saving; Hands-On Banking; and Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit- can be taken on their own, or as part of the full sequence.
 Download a flyer and course schedule here.
Part 1:     Making Ends Meet
This workshop is geared toward participants who are struggling to make ends meet- potentially burdened by heavy debt-loads and/or living paycheck to paycheck. It is designed for those who are not yet in a position to pursue long-term household budgeting and savings, but who recognize the need to take control of their finances. Participants learn to use crisis management tools, such as an income planner and credit inventory.  They learn how to make informed decisions about competing financial priorities, and how to address short-term financial short falls. Through this course participants reduce their anxiety around household finances and take steps towards establishing a degree of basic household stability.
Saturday April 17, 2010, 2pm-4pm

Part 2:     Budgeting and Saving
In this workshop, participants learn money management skills to achieve short-tem household stability, and take initial steps towards creating a plan for long-term financial security.  Participants create and learn how to manage a household budget by tracking spending, managing variable expenses, and accounting for changes in income. Participants will set short-term and long-term goals.
Saturday April 24, 2010, 2pm-4pm

Part 3:     Hands-On Banking
This workshop provides participants with an overview of banking services and how to use them successfully and responsibly. Participants learn how to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing a bank or credit union, establishing an account, and selecting other services. Participants explore how to minimize cost and stress while managing their accounts proactively. This course can be easily tailored toward the needs of first time bank account holders with more emphasis on the fundamental components of using a bank account such as writing checks, making deposits, withdrawals, etc.
Saturday May 1, 2010, 2pm-4pm

Part 4:     Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
Participants in this workshop explore the fundamental components of building, repairing and protecting their credit. This workshop helps participants understand how credit works, and gives them the tools to access their credit reports, dispute inaccurate information and address derogatory items. In addition, participants explore how to make strategic decisions to increase their credit scores and how to protect themselves from identity theft and scams.
Saturday May 8, 2010, 2pm-4pm
We're hiring an AmeriCorps VISTA!
Innovative Housing/Innovative Changes is currently accepting applications for an AmericCorps VISTA Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will help Innovative Changes expand and strengthen its programs with an emphasis on continuous organizational learning and improvement, creation of new educational and financial offerings, and public outreach.
In this issue
Grand Opening
Partner Profile: HAP
Financial Education Spring Schedule
We're hiring an AmeriCorps VISTA!
Our mission
As an emerging, nonprofit community development financial institution, Innovative Changes helps struggling individuals and families manage short-term financial needs in order to achieve and maintain household stability.
To date...
  • We have signed Memoranda of Understanding with
    11 community partners! 

  • We have 26 clients since opening our doors earlier this year!

  • We have made 13 loans, 2 of which have been repaid in full.

  • We have trained 66 staff members from 27 nonprofit agencies to refer loan clients.
We are grateful to our generous funders for making our work possible.
Quick links

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Financial Household Stability Group Workshops
Part 1: Making Ends Meet
Saturday April 17, 2010
Part 2: Budgeting and Saving
Saturday April 24, 2010
Part 3: Hands-On Banking
Saturday May 1, 2010
Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
Saturday May 8, 2010

Workshops will be held at the New Columbia Opportunity Center
4610 N. Trenton St.
Portland, OR 97203

For more info and to register, call Carmina Lass at (503) 943-5645 or email her at
carmina [at]

Contact us!
For more information about Innovative Changes,
please contact us at or by calling (503) 943-5607
We are located at
4610 N. Trenton Street
Portland, OR 97203

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We appreciate your support!