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Innovative Connections
Resource Toolkit for June 2011
In This Issue
Tip of the Month: Keep Your Payments Safe
Upcoming Financial Education
Sign up for ACH
Innovative Advice with Prudent Protector
Carmina had a baby!
Product Highlight: Free Vision Care
Summer Programs for Kids
For Our Borrowers
Quick Links
Upcoming Events
Financial Household Resiliency Workshops

               

*Day 1: Saturday, July 23rd   

Part 1: Making Ends Meet, 10am-12pm

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm

 

*Day 2: Saturday, July 30th 

Part 3: Hands-On Banking, 10am-12pm   

Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit, 12:30pm-2:30pm

 

3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland

 *For more info or to register go here

 

Predatory Lending 

*July 19th, 5:30-6:30pm,

3rd Floor

 of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2011 Lloyd Center, Portland

email talia@innovativechanges.org to register


Join Our Mailing List
Greetings!

A lot is going on around here: from Carmina having a baby, to our next series of Financial Household Resiliency Workshops and seminars, we are busy! However, we are never to busy to hear from you. If you are a loan client, we urge you keep your payments safelook into signing up for ACH (if it's right for you) and communicate with us in general. We are always happy to hear how all our clients are doing and if there is anything we can do to support you better!   

 

As the weather gets nicer, take care of your self, spend some time outside and take advantage of free kid-friendly programs around Portland! 

 

Happy reading,

Innovative Changes

Tip of the Month: Keep Your Payments Safe!tipofthemonth

 

* Send us your tips! Each month we will collect your innovative money management tips -- these could be about resourceful ways you've saved money, thrifty activities you enjoy, helpful 
insights into living on a tight budget, etc. We will enter these tips into a pool and if selected, your tip will be featured in the next Innovative Connections and you will win a $20.00 Fred Meyer gift card.* 


mail 

When sending payments in the mail to us, a utility company or any other party, take the necessary precautions to ensure that your payment is safe and arrives at its intended destination. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

 

 Include your name, the name of the company/person/service that you are paying, the amount that you owe and your account number on your check or money order.

 Keep your money order receipt, or if you are sending a check, keep records of this check. Do not send cash in the mail.

 Put payments in a locked mailbox, or drop them off at the post office.

 If you sent a check, look at your next bank statement to ensure the check was cashed.  

 

 Upcoming Financial Education: fined

 

Last week, we hosted a great seminar on the impact of New Banking Regulations on consumers. It was taught by Scott Hartley of Sterling Savings Banks who informed us on changes to overdraft protection fees (you now have to opt-in) and what your rights are as a consumer.We have another exciting seminar coming up in July as well as our summer round of Financial Household Resiliency workshops in English and Spanish (at Hacienda)!

 

Predatory Lending

July 19th, 5:30-6:30pm

Our very own Program Director, Sarah Chenven, will lead an enlightening seminar on predatory lending: How does it work?, What are the attractions?What's legal? And, what are all these fees that draw people into a never-ending cycle of debt? What are alternatives to the reckless lending system? 

*These seminars are part of our ongoing monthly seminar series covering special topics of interest to our clients. For more information about our seminar visit our website here.

 

We also will be hosting our own Summer Financial Household Resiliency series, open to anyone, at the Lloyd Center in July. Here is the schedule:

 

Financial Household Resiliency Workshops: 

apple 

Day 1: Saturday, July 23   

Part 1: Making Ends Meet, 10am-12pm

Part 2: Budgeting and Saving, 12:30pm-2:30pm     

 

Day 2: Saturday, July 30 

Part 3: Hands-On Banking, 10am-12pm   

Part 4: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit, 12:30pm-2:30pm 

 

Our classes and seminars will be held at our new location:  

3rd Floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (near Nordstroms), 2201 Lloyd Center, Portland

 

To Register: call or email Talia at (503)-943-5620/talia@innovativechanges.org.

  

The classes and seminars are $10 each or $30 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify. 

 

We Can Now ACH Your Loan Payments! ach                             

On July 1st, 2011 we will have the ability to automatically

withdraw funds from your account to make your loan payment for you.This is called Automatic Clearing House (ACH) and is an electronic network that allows us to direct deposit your loan payments into our account. If you would like to sign up for this, please fill out the form on attached here and send or fax it back to us (please do not email for security reasons). ACH is a good idea if you have a bank account and a reliable balance in your account on your monthly loan due date. If this does not fit you, ACH is not the best option.  If you have any questions, as always, feel free to give us a call: 503-249-5205.

Innovative Advice with Prudent Protectoradvice

   

* Every month we answer a question or give advice based on a scenario that someone sends us. If you would like financial advice on something you're facing in your life, email Talia at talia@innovativechanges.org or call her at 503.943.5620. All situations and questions will be kept anonymous.* 

Dear Prudent Protector,

 

My sister just had her identity stolen. Someone took out several lines of credit under her name and now she is getting calls from collectors for debt that she does not owe! This is terrible and I am afraid that I am susceptible to identity theft - if it happened to her, it could happen to ME! What can I do to ensure that my identity is safe?!?!?

 

Safeguarding Sister

 

 

Dear Safeguarding Sister,

 

Identity theft is a horrible crime which can not only ruin your credit history, limiting your access to credit and services, but is emotionally taxing as well. I'm glad that you realize the severity of it and are ready to learn steps in order to keep your identity safe. Here are some concrete actions you can take:

 

1.        The first thing you should do to minimize the risk of identity theft is keep your personal information, social security number (SSN), credit or debit card numbers, PINs (Personal identification numbers) and passwords protected.  Never share this information and never give personal information to solicitation or unknown companies. To minimize lost or stolen items, only carry that which you plan on using right away. Leave unused credit cards, IDs or SSN cards in a safe and secure place at home.

 

2.        Protect your mail, financial statements and trash. Remember that your mail can have very personal information. Collect your mail promptly after it has been delivered, keep mail in a locked mailbox or secure location, and take your outgoing mail to the post office instead of leaving it in an unsecure mail box. Sign up for direct deposit so that your paycheck is not at risk of being stolen, and keep a close watch on your bank account statements and credit card bills. Keep your trash clean of personal information: be sure to shred any personal numbers, addresses, canceled checks, bank statements, bills or anything containing details about your finances or personal identity.    

 

3.        Watch out for internet ID theft! "Hackers" and scam artists are constantly finding new ways to use the internet to steal your information. Never provide bank account, credit card or personal information in response to an unsolicited email or when visiting a website that does not explain how your personal information will be protected. Don't email personal or financial information from your personal email account. The trickiest scams are fake "software updates" or phony emails that appear and look like a company that normally serves you. Be aware that if you are a customer already, your company would not need your personal or credit card information because they would already have it - don't be fooled into responding. You can always contact the company in question by phone or email, BEFORE sharing personal information online. ALSO, be sure to install a "firewall" to keep your personal computer safe from being infiltrated, and keep your secret password complicated (mix letters, numbers and symbols) and hard to guess.

 

Even if we do everything to protect ourselves from identity theft, we sometimes find ourselves victims in any case. If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft or notice that something doesn't seem right on your credit card bill, bank statement or credit report, FOLLOW UP! Call your credit card company or bank to ask about unrecognized charged, fill out the proper paperwork and turn it in on time, and check your credit report often to make sure there are not any unexplainable charges or errors.

 

You can also get more information about each of the suggestions mentioned here by going to the Fraud Watch Information Center at www.fraud.org or calling 1-800-867-7060, or the Federal Trade Commission Website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft/ or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

 

Good luck!

 

Prudent Protector

 

Carmina had a baby!baby

 

emoryWe are excited to announce, that after months of coming into the office with a growing belly, Carmina, our fabulous Financial Education and Loan Program Manager, gave birth to Emory Joan Lass on Wednesday May 25th at 3:28pm. Carmina will be taking the next three months on maternity leave to hang out with her new baby girl. We wish her congratulations and will miss her in during her absence from the office. Until late August, if you have questions about your loan or would like to come in for an appointment, please contact Talia at 503-249-5205/talia@innovativechanges.org. 
 
Product Highlight: Free Vision Care producthighlight                              

glassesIf you do not qualify for government aid or private health care assistance that covers the cost of routine eye or vision care, VISION USA can help. VISION USA provides basic eye health and vision care services free of charge to uninsured, low-income people and their families. VISION USA was established in 1991 by AOA doctors of optometry who donate their services.


VISION USA is open to children and adults. General eligibility requirements vary by state. To receive free services, you must:
  1. Have no vision insurance (this may include Medicare/Medicaid)
  2. Have income below an established level based on household size
  3. Not have had an eye exam within two years
  4. Must be a U.S. Citizen or Legal resident

If you or your family are eligible to receive services, you will be matched with a volunteer doctor of optometry who will provide a comprehensive eye exam at no charge. A contact lens exam and / or contacts are not available through this program. Eyewear may be provided at no cost or for a small fee/donation in some states. (Note: Doctors donate their services and may be limited in some areas.)

 

Click here to apply online and find out more about VSION USA. Or call or email them at: 

VISION USA
243 North Lindbergh Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63141
1-800-766-4466, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM, CST (M-F)
Fax: 314/991-4101
E-mail: visionusa@aoa.org

Resources: Summer Programs for Kidsspecialmonth

 

summerSummer is arriving sooner that we know it and the question on every parent's mind is: what to do with my kids? Well, there are many affordable activities to sign your kids up for in and around the Portland area. Here are a couple ideas to keep your kiddos busy and having fun:

 

         The Police Activities League (PAL) of Portland offers many weekly day camp activities for youth ages 8 to 18. Their prices are from $35 to $75 per week per child depending upon the weekly day camp you sign up for. Some of the weekly camps are all day and others are half-day camps. The theme-based weekly enrichment camps include athletic, recreational and educational activities designed to stimulate learning and growth. Kids can participate in lunch and drop-in programs too. Discounts are available to those who meet free/reduced lunch requirements. To find the closest PAL Adventure Camp near you stop by their main location at 449 NE Emerson St., Portland, OR 97211, call 503-823-0250 or pop onto their website for more information: www.palkids.org, or www.palevents.com.

 

         Free library storytime is a great way to get your kids motivated about reading at an early age! Every Multnomah Library holds a storytime year round, but during the summer your library holds extra activities to keep kids busy while they are out of school. They have FREE activities for adults and children that range from Summer Reading programs to knitting groups.  Stop by your local library to find out more or visit http://www.multcolib.org/.

 

         The best time to swim is in the summer when the sun is shining! It is important for kids to know how to swim so that when those sunny days come along, they can enjoy them too! Portland Parks and Recreation is offering their first beginner session of swim lessons for FREE, between June 21st and June 25th. Classes are offered mornings, afternoons and evening on a first come, first serve basis, so you need to sign up at your nearest Portland Parks pool soon in order to take advantage of this great deal. Swim lesson dates are 2-week sessions and are available in several locations. Call Portland Parks at 503-823-5130 or visit www.PortlandParks.org for more information!

 

         Portland Parks and Recreation offers many other fun summer activities besides swim lessons! If you check out their website www.PortlandParks.org, you will see FREE activities at a bunch of different locations. For example, have you noticed how expensive it is to see a movie at the theater lately? Well, you can take advantage of Movies in the Park and see a free movie while sitting outside and enjoying the warm summer air.

 

You can also check out PDX Kids Calendar to see what kid-friendly activities and events are happening near you this summer. Check out their website at http://www.pdxkidscalendar.com/.

 

Let the fun begin! 

For Our Borrowers

Money treeAre You Receiving Your Payment Reminders?

If you chose to receive your payment reminders by email, make sure that they are coming to your inbox and not your junk mail. If you would like to change the way that you receive reminders (by mail, by email, or by phone call) let us know! Call Talia at  or Carmina at 503.249-5205.

How to Make Your Loan Payment
  • You can mail your payment by check or money order to: Innovative Changes, 4610 N. Trenton St., Portland, OR 97203
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the New Columbia Opportunity Center Front Desk- Mon- Fri, 8am-5pm 
    • Please note the building is closed to the public during the lunch hour (12pm-1pm) and is occasionally closed on Fridays for State furlough days.   
    • The front desk person has envelopes and is authorized to collect payments on our behalf if we are not in. If you are paying in cash and need change, you must contact Sarah, Carmina or Talia in advance to arrange a meeting time.    
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order or cash) at the Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Suite 2011 (2011 Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, OR 97232) Mon-Fri, 9am-6pm and Saturdays by appointment (call Carmina).             

We Are Here to Help!  

 

Are you having trouble making your payment this month, or afraid that it might be a little late? Let us know! We understand that unexpected events and expenses can make it hard to keep your finances on track, and Innovative Changes wants to be there for you in such cases. Innovative Changes is flexible and willing to work with our borrowers to satisfy loan obligations, and in return we ask for honest and timely communication. Remember, if you know your payment is going to be late, let us know ahead of time and we might be able to avoid charging a late fee, or sending out a late notice.