Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
From Our E.D.
Trauma Informed Housing
The Walls are Rising!
What Would You Like to See?
Residents Giving Back
On the Boards...
IHI's Star Player
IHI Thanks Our Generous Donors
The Perfect Holiday Gift

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Kaiser Permanente's Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) study collected data from 17,000 enrolled patients. The ACE study reports more than 1 in 5 adults experienced three or more adverse childhood experiences (emotional and physical abuse or neglect; household violence, substance abuse, or mental illness; a parent being incarcerated; parental separation/divorce). As ACE scores increase, the risk of homelessness, mental health disorders, substance abuse, violence, and even disease and premature death increase in strong and graded fashion.  







































































Winter 2012

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

I love fall and its transition into winter. I find something comforting and nostalgic about the end of a growing season, so blatantly heralded by brilliant color and the dramatic crunch of leaves underfoot. I revel in the seemingly endless rainy days that follow, which provide wonderful opportunities to get cozy with friends, family, or a favorite book. Unfortunately, this isn't everyone's experience. Those not fortunate enough to have warm homes are facing another harsh winter season and can use our help. A pair of socks, a wool blanket, or a coat you've been keeping in the back of your closet could make this winter easier on many of our neighbors. Please consider donating a few items to an organization that will make sure they reach the right people - JOIN is definitely one of those places (1435 NE 81st Ave, Suite 100, Portland, OR 97213, 503-232-7052).

Late fall brings Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, with its delicious tradition and a day dedicated to acknowledging the many reasons I have to give thanks. Moving deeper into winter, I appreciate year-end as an opportunity to look back on a finite period and celebrate successes. IHI has had another full year, ripe with accomplishments that make me proud to be part of this amazing organization. We acquired, renovated, and leased up the Modern Rich Apartments - without public funds. IHI started construction on an exciting new development in the Eliot Neighborhood of Northeast Portland that will create 50 units of affordable housing in a rapidly gentrifying community. We helped more than 400 households maintain their housing stability, access resources, and improve their financial situations. IHI staff assisted 45 disabled individuals secure benefits and become financially stable. Our financial statements remain healthy and our cash position is strong.

Then, in the heart of winter, the new year begins! This is the perfect time to assess our work with a critical eye and set attainable goals for improvement over the next 12 months. Thanks to a phenomenally dedicated staff, committed partners, and generous donors, IHI is in a great position to improve our services and bring more affordable housing online in 2013. Recognizing that trauma affects approximately 75% of the people we house, IHI is creating a replicable Trauma Informed Housing Model to more effectively serve our residents. We are developing an Equity Plan to ensure that IHI is housing, supporting, and celebrating a diverse community and that our business practices encourage participation by minority and women owned businesses. And we have four new housing projects that we will be pushing hard to move forward in 2013. An ambitious agenda, to be sure, but I have no doubt we can accomplish this and more.


I hope that this season finds you with plenty of reasons to give thanks, a warm home, and worthy goals toward which to strive. From all of us at Innovative Housing, we wish you a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy New Year!

Trauma Informed Housing     
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines trauma as "bodily or mental injury usually caused by an external agent." Almost

everyone deals with trauma at some point, or at many points, throughout their lifetime. But some people experience more than others, often in ways that severely challenge human coping mechanisms.


Studies show that trauma - often complex prolonged trauma across the lifespan - is prevalent among consumers of mental health, addictions, and homeless services. Data also supports an irrefutable link between traumatic experiences in childhood and negative physical, behavioral and mental health outcomes in adulthood. Trauma in childhood affects social, emotional and cognitive development, which in adult survivors shows up as a decreased capacity to live in community, manage emotions, and parent safely and effectively. These can be key challenges to housing and family stability.


Many causes of trauma are highly correlated with poverty. We know from working with our residents that a significant number have experienced complex, prolonged trauma, and that they deal with the effects of this on a daily basis. IHI is developing a Trauma Informed Housing Model so that we can better serve these households. To our knowledge, this is the first time trauma informed care and affordable housing have been integrated in such a comprehensive manner. As we implement this new model, IHI will document each step of our process, identify best practices, and create guidelines so the model can be replicated by other housing providers.


IHI is very excited to be working with the Trauma Informed Care Project (TICP) at Portland State University's Regional Research Institute for Human Services. In the coming year, TICP will provide trauma education and outreach to IHI residents, targeted trainings for site staff, and training/education for IHI staff and leadership.TICP will also help us evaluate our work. IHI's goal is to assess and adapt every aspect of our housing program, from application through residency and move-out, to ensure that the entire continuum of IHI services is trauma informed. The main goal is trauma awareness: understanding what trauma is, how it affects individuals, how certain procedures and practices can inadvertently re-traumatize or trigger trauma responses, and how we can de-escalate the trauma response and support healing and recovery. IHI will also be reviewing the physical structure of our properties and talking to residents about features of their housing that help them feel safe and secure. We will launch this holistic new framework at four family sites and then expand it to the rest of IHI's portfolio.


IHI believes Trauma Informed Housing can mean the difference between homelessness and housing for people coping with trauma. We look forward to developing a new housing model that helps us more effectively support residents facing the greatest challenges to household stability-and to seeing them succeed!

The Walls are Rising!

Construction has begun on IHI's newest housing development in the Eliot Neighborhood of Northeast Portland and it is starting to look like a building!  


Walsh Construction and Faison Construction, IHI's general contractors, started digging foundations in late September and raced the clock to get footings and foundation walls poured before the rainy weather started. This 50-unit project is on track to be completed by September, 2013.


What Would You Like to See?  


Bright orange signs are popping up in the windows of the Modern Rich Building. They ask "What Would You Like To See?" and invite passers by to share their ideas about what kind of business or services would benefit the neighborhood. IHI owns and manages 21 commercial spaces in Portland - they typically stay 100% leased, but with the recent completion of the Modern Rich Apartments we have a few storefronts available. IHI's office is in Old Town and we feel a strong connection to this community, so we are being selective as we rent these spaces. We have leased to some great businesses that promise to contribute to the neighborhood's vitality and we want to continue identifying tenants that meet this criteria.


What Would You Like To See? was started by Mike Caputo and Joey Tomlinson in 2012. They figured out a way to solicit exactly the kind of information from community members that IHI is seeking for our new spaces. wwyltsPeople walking by the vacant storefronts can access the What Would You Like To See? application via their smartphone or log onto its website and either make suggestions or vote on other people's suggestions for the commercial space. Then brokers and property owners, like Innovative Housing, can use this information to target the right tenants for the right spaces. Importantly, this great new service gives residents, workers, and shoppers in a neighborhood a place to share their opinions and help shape their surroundings. What Would You Like To See? is still in pilot mode (IHI is proud to be one of the first landlords to work with them) but we hope that very soon you will see their colorful signs everywhere and that you will log on to help create the community you would like to see!

Residents Giving Back   

Danielle is a long-time IHI resident. Over the years she has worked closely with Resident Services, accessing various resources, attending community gatherings, and encouraging her children to participate in afterschool programming and fieldtrips. Last year Danielle started working at Fred Meyer in the Community Giving Department. When it came time to nominate organizations as charitable recipients, she immediately thought of IHI's Annual School Supply Giveaway.


Danielle was able to secure enough

give back
Danielle's children with the school supplies she secured from Fred Meyer for Innovative Housing's Giveaway

donations from Fred Meyer to provide school supplies for 15 youth, ensuring that they had what they needed to start the school year right. Danielle is a great example of someone who has benefited from working with IHI, achieved her own financial stability, and is now looking to give back and help others. IHI views this as the ultimate success story!

On the Boards...

Innovative Housing is pleased to announce that we have secured site control of the historic Erickson Saloon and adjacent Fritz Building in Old Town. We are planning to convert these historic properties, retaining as much of the original fabric and feel possible, into workforce housing.


The result will be very similar to what we did at the Modern Rich Apartments, but on a much larger scale (about twice as big!). We plan to create studio and one-bedroom units where brothel rooms once overlooked the famous Erickson Saloon. We will daylight the historic atrium that once housed the saloon's bar to create outdoor space for residents, much as we did at the Rich. And we will wrap apartments around a series of courtyards and lightwells to maximize living space while preserving a valuable piece of Portland's history.  

IHI's Star Player

Each year at the Oregon Opportunity Network annual Gala, IHI is given the opportunity to honor one of its own as our Star Player for the year. This year IHI chose to celebrate Merri Gonsalves, our Benefits Specialist. Her accomplishments in the benefits arena are truly outstanding - she has a phenomenal success rate and has helped residents secure more than $63,000 of back benefits and an average monthly Social Security Disability Insurance benefit of $766. Merri also helps IHI residents access health care, Medicaid/Medicare, survivor's benefits, payee services, and in-home care. And she helps people understand and maintain their benefits, which is critical.

merris a star player
Merri Gonsalves receiving her Star Player award 
But what really makes Merri shine is the way she approaches residents and her job. There is nothing she won't do to help. Her clients have physical and mental disabilities, they have moved in and out of homelessness, and are struggling to meet their most basic needs. Merri takes a holistic approach to helping them become financially stable and self sufficient, providing a wide range of resource referrals and direct assistance to each of her clients. Most importantly, she makes people feel good about receiving her assistance. She empowers people, gives generously of her time, and is always supportive and kind. Merri helps people who live in IHI housing and those who have moved on but come back because they know she still cares about their well-being. Merri embodies excellence in service delivery and IHI is proud that she is a part of our team.
IHI Thanks Our Generous Donors

Seven years ago, IHI received a phone call from a resident who was concerned that her neighbor's children were walking to school in cold winter weather without coats. IHI inquired and learned that the family could not afford coats for their children. That was the beginning of our Coats for Kids Campaign and we are proud that no child living at an IHI property has since gone without a winter coat. 


This is only possible thanks to the support of our donors. IHI extends its gratitude to the following individuals and companies who so generously contributed to IHI's Seventh Annual Coats for Kids Campaign:


Kerry and Bill Stevenson

Heritage Investment Corporation

Travis Adams and Sarah Carter Adams  

LMC Constructionmanuel

Chris and Debra Jo Page

McMenamins, Inc.

Don Geddes

Walsh Construction

Lenny Jurden

Lyndon Musolf

Greenberry Construction   

Stewart, Sokol, & Gray

Income Property Management

Nelda Scott Newton

Amy and Joseph Alexander

John and Sarah Epstein

Denise and Alain Bohbot

Dee and Rod Norton

Katy Patricelli

Tierney and David Chappell

Brenda Fitterer

Carol Schug

George and Gina Horton

Lynn Bush

Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    2011