Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
From Our E.D.
The State Funds New Housing for Working Families in Albany!
Donate to IHI for the Holidays
Healthcare and Housing
Holiday Spirit
Frolic with IHI at the Erickson Saloon
Thank You Coats for Kids Donors!
Partner Profile: Rosie's Room

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Winter 2013

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson
Sometimes inspiration strikes and moves you to immediate action.  Sometimes it has to sink in a bit, ruminate, and then slowly rumble to life.  And sometimes, even when I am inspired, I need an extra push.  Take Zumba, for example.  I was totally inspired by a video of one of my oldest friends, now the principal at Benson High School, leading his freshman class in a Zumba workout to help them find the fun in physical exercise.  Coolest principal EVER!  Click here to check it out!  This got me thinking about Zumba as more than an abstract concept, but didn't quite get me into workout clothes.  Then I saw some photos of a free Zumba class being taught at one of IHI's properties by a resident volunteer.  I was impressed and inspired by the moms, many of them single parents juggling multiple jobs, who joined the class and made time to exercise.  Still, I wasn't ready to sign up.  Then, over Thanksgiving weekend, my little sister came in from out of town and bought tickets for my mother and me to attend class 8 blocks from my house, leaving me no excuse not to go.  Fortunately, it was "Zumba - Nightclub Experience" so they turned the lights way down and no one could see me bumbling all over the dance floor.  I would never have gone on my own, but it was fun.  I might even do it again!  There are times I just need a kick in the rear to get me moving.


What's the point and how does this relate to housing?  On one hand, it makes me think about people who need to make changes, but don't have a sister to help them take that monumental first step.  That is where one of IHI's resident services coordinators might fit in - never pushing too hard, but offering assistance and following up to make sure something doesn't fall through the cracks for lack of the right motivation.  It also makes me think about some of the big organizational changes we are working on at IHI.  We have so many great ideas, but marshaling the time, energy, and resources to turn those ideas into action sometimes takes an extra push from a passionate colleague or a funder.  The implementation of a trauma informed housing model, execution of our overarching Equity Plan, and our efforts to align IHI housing and services with health care reform are all examples of big picture changes that are benefiting from a  passionate shepherd.  I am fortunate to have co-workers at IHI who bring that passion to their jobs and to work in an industry that embraces new ideas. 


I am also very lucky to have friends and family who provide me with the push to turn inspiration into action.  For any of you who haven't tried it yet, I recommend Zumba - maybe I'll see you there!  In the meanwhile, all of us at IHI wish you a very happy holiday season, a healthy New Year, and a winter full of inspiration!   


The State Funds New Housing for Working Families in Albany!



IHI is thrilled to announce that the State has awarded approximately $8.3 Million in tax credits and grants to fully fund IHI's redevelopment of the Woodland Square Mobile Home Park.  You have been reading about Woodland Square in our newsletters since 2011, when the Central Albany Revitalization Area awarded IHI $1.45 Million for the project.  Over the last two years, IHI has acquired the property, worked with residents to find new homes, coordinated with the DEQ to complete environmental remediation, and started demolishing substandard structures.  It has been a long road, but this State award is the last piece of the funding puzzle, which means that in 2014 IHI will start construction of 54 new affordable homes for working individuals and families to Albany! 


IHI is working with ORANGEWALL Studios Architecture + Planning and Greenberry Construction to build new housing that will blend into the historic neighborhood.  We are using Craftsman-style detailing and a townhouse-over-flat configuration that creates both accessible flats and large family units.  Five buildings will be arranged on the site so that front doors and porches face the streets, with green space and parking in the interior of the block.  There will be community space for resident services and community gatherings and IHI is restoring the Periwinkle Creek canyon that runs along one edge of the property. 


The City of Albany has been a great partner and worked very closely with IHI to make this project a reality.  IHI is excited about working in Albany, a new location for us, and has committed to spending 15% of total project costs on local contractors and suppliers, directly benefiting Albany's local economy.  


Click here for more information about this development and to follow our progress.


A donation to Innovative Housing is a perfect holiday gift for your loved ones!  You can donate online and print a gift certificate for your recipient here!


Healthcare and Housing 


We are all hearing a lot about healthcare and healthcare reform these days.  At IHI, we have spent the last year figuring out how to best align our housing and services with the reformed system to achieve improved health outcomes for our residents.  In 2013, IHI expanded its capacity to help residents access direct medical care when we hired Brittini Allen as our Benefits Specialist.  She came to IHI with experience working with Healthy Kids and other health initiatives and is coordinating IHI's efforts to ensure that all of our residents understand their options and enroll for medical coverage under Cover Oregon.  Three of IHI's staff members have been trained and certified by the Oregon Health Authority and are now helping residents enroll. 


Many of IHI's residents have severe and chronic medical issues.  Others are plagued by conditions that disproportionately affect people living in poverty, like diabetes and high blood pressure.  For years, IHI staff have helped people access treatment when we could, often through free clinics or special initiatives.  We have helped people with disabilities secure medical coverage and IHI has partnered with service providers to bring mental health and substance abuse treatment services on-site to several of our buildings.  In partnership with residents, we developed the Healthy Generations Program to help whole families make healthy lifestyle changes.  But until now, we could never get past the seemingly insurmountable barrier faced by most of our residents - lack of access to comprehensive medical care.  That is all changing!  It is exciting, a bit overwhelming, and creates opportunities for IHI to expand our services around health care awareness, education, and the healthy management of medical conditions.


Statewide health care reform also opens the door to new strategic partnerships.  For example, IHI is working with Health Share of Oregon to develop a pilot program at Musolf Manor that will increase reliance on primary care providers and reduce emergency calls.  Musolf Manor provides 95 low-barrier, studio apartments to very low-income people with physical and mental disabilities.  In fall, 2012 IHI approached Health Share for help reducing the building's emergency medical service calls.  Since that time, we have been collaborating to identify common resident health needs and identify solutions beyond what is currently offered through traditional care facilities.  In February, 2013 Health Share and IHI Resident Services staff conducted interviews with residents to gather health histories and information about how people were accessing medical care.  55% of our residents participated and every one of them reported serious or multiple medical conditions.  Many residents shared similar conditions, including Type II Diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and 61% of people reported a mental health diagnosis.  Over 50% of respondents had experienced recent emergency room visits and 19% reported no relationship with a doctor or clinic. 


IHI and Health Share are working together to bring a public health nurse on-site to help residents build strong connections to a nearby primary care provider and offer easily accessible, face to face medical advice and services.  We believe this will reduce emergency room visits, improve overall health outcomes, and save $100,000-$250,000 annually.  People who understand their medical conditions and actively work with primary care providers are less likely to rely on emergency assistance.  If we are right, we will have data and a successful model that can be replicated elsewhere. 


This is just one example of what IHI will be working on over the next year!  We are planning many more health awareness events to encourage people to get preventive screenings, address high risk factors, and manage chronic conditions.  We can do all this and more, now that our residents have medical coverage!   

Holiday Spirit  

The holidays can be a very stressful time for families struggling to make ends meet.  At this time of year, IHI staff help residents access special resources, including "adoption" programs that give individuals or organizations an opportunity to provide food, gifts, Christmas trees, and other treats to help families celebrate the holidays.  IHI extends our thanks to several groups, organizations, and individuals who are dedicating time, energy, and resources to making holiday dreams come true for our residents at Kinnaman Townhomes, Broadway Vantage Apartments, Village Square, and Hewitt Place.  The Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department, the City of Portland, and the Christmas Family Adoption Foundation adopted 17 IHI families this holiday season.  Thank you!  


One of the lucky (and very happy) families that was adopted this Christmas.
Step Back In Time... 
To 1914 At The Erickson Saloon



Join IHI at Portland's most infamous watering hole for a night of revelry and vice!  Frolic with cabaret performers, rub shoulders with working men, play a hand of cards, and enjoy a nickel beer at the Erickson Saloon. 


Thursday, February 20, 2014

6 pm-9 pm

9 NW Second Avenue, Old Town, Portland

*this event is for ages 21 and over only


Please save the date for IHI's Second Annual FriendRaiser!  

We will be celebrating IHI's friends, old and new, and our historic renovation of the Erickson Saloon and the Fritz Hotel.  Contact Brittini Allen at for information about sponsorship opportunities. 




Thanks to Our Generous 
Coats For Kids Donors!


Eight 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 Eighth Annual Coats for Kids Campaign:


Lyndon and Barbara Musolf

Kerry and Bill Stevenson

John Cunningham

Greg Goracke, Greenberry Construction

Jan Yocom

Income Property Management

Chris and Debra Jo Page

McMenamins, Inc

Cascade Management

Travis and Sarah Carter Adams

Stewart Sokol & Gray LLC

Bob Davee

Brad Timmel, Nielsen Insurance Agency

Partner Profile: Rosie's Room   

In the Spring of 2013, Rosie's Room and IHI began a fruitful partnership to bring classes and workshops to residents of the Broadway Vantage Apartments.  IHI provides free office space and access to our community room, and Rosie's Room offers painting, sewing, and other craft activities to residents.  Rosie's Room is a nonprofit with a mission to help people fulfill their own potential by providing tools to help them develop life skills.  Their staff and volunteers teach people to mend, sew, cook, knit, and create crafts.  They provide tools (including sewing machines), materials, and support to help individuals and families work together to create things with their own hands.  Rosie's Room works with many nonprofits and provides services to the broader community - you can learn more about them here.  



IHI's residents have enthusiastically received Rosie's Room and enjoyed many different classes over the past several months.  Regular Friday open sessions are particularly

popular - Rosie's Room staff assists residents with any projects they are working on.  They also provide ideas for new projects - for example, they are currently encouraging people to make coats for homeless dogs.  Once or twice a month Rosie's Room distributes gently used clothing, shoes, jewelry, and other items to residents.  They also partner with IHI Resident Services staff to organize events like our National Night Out Party in August and a community dinner with cooking and baking lessons for residents in October.  It is exciting and rewarding to see such a productive relationship bloom - thank you Rosie's Room for being a fantastic partner! 

Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    2011