Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
From Our E.D.
30th Anniversary Celebration
National Night Out Celebration
Under Construction!
JP Morgan Chase Supports Financial Stability
Back to School Giveaway
Healthcare and Housing
Help IHI Earn Donations!

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219 N.W. Second Ave.

Portland, OR  97209


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Fall 2014

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

It has been a whirlwind 30th year for Innovative Housing.  We have grown steadily over the last decade to a staff of 10 that provides services to 500 households, manages operations of more than 900 units, and consistently brings new and innovative developments online.  We are so busy that it sometimes feels we are racing from one big thing to the next.  Fortunately, one of our major milestones recently forced me to sit quietly for a moment and reflect on IHI's accomplishments over the last three decades.  As I prepared my remarks for IHI's 30th Anniversary event, I started with concrete measures of success - 920 affordable rentals in the Portland region, 93 homeownership units, and services to 1,200 individuals each year.  In my mind, however, the true measure of IHI's success isn't in the numbers.  Our success is rooted in the people and the lives that we touch.  IHI's staff members are, every single one of them, driven by mission and conviction.  They go above and beyond, not just to do what is expected of them, but more often to do what is unexpected in order to prevent a family from becoming homeless or overcome a seemingly insurmountable hurdle and get the deal done.  Throughout IHI's 30 years, many dedicated individuals have given of themselves over and over.  It started with Lyn Musolf, IHI's founding President, who saw a different way to meet Portland's need for affordable housing.  It continues today with a board and staff wholly committed to creating accessible housing and providing crucial support to our residents.


As I delivered my remarks on September 17th and began to describe how proud I am to be part of Innovative Housing's history, I found myself overwhelmed by emotion.  This is very unusual - in fact, I can honestly say this was the only time I have teared up at work in 12 years at IHI.  As my stoic demeanor cracked, I felt myself becoming vulnerable and started to panic.  Then I looked out at all of the friends, colleagues,  and family who had gathered to celebrate IHI and felt completely supported.  I was surrounded by people I knew and trusted and I could see that I was safe. 


That moment of vulnerability was a strange experience for me - it was both unsettling and reassuring.   Over the last few weeks, as I have relived that experience, it has caused me to think hard about vulnerability.  We've all been vulnerable at various times - emotionally, physically, financially.  What we do in that moment of vulnerability can have a profound effect on our lives, and what we do is often influenced by who joins us in that experience.  An act of kindness by a stranger can be a lifeline for someone experiencing a vulnerability crisis.  Likewise, the absence of a support can result in a whole range of understandable, but potentially catastrophic, reactions.  Take, for example, a single working parent who bears the full weight of responsibility for her children's well-being.  She is unexpectedly laid off from her job and she comes home knowing she won't be able to pay the rent.  She is stressed, panicked, and vulnerable.  What does she do?  She might become angry and lash out at her children.  She might pack up and run, pulling her kids out of school and damaging her credit for years.  She might turn to self-destructive behavior that gives her a temporary feeling of control.  But what if, instead, she runs into someone on her way home who asks how things are going?  What if, in that moment of extreme vulnerability, she lets down her defenses and admits that she needs help, and the person she's talking to has the resources and know-how to help her find rent assistance, emergency food, and eventually get another job?  That scenario really happens.  Unfortunately, so do all the others. 


We all face our moments of vulnerability - financial security doesn't prevent that.  But financial insecurity lays people bare on a regular basis, which is why it is so important that IHI provides support to people where they live, and often when they least expect it.  Over the next 30 years, IHI will continue to post our concrete numbers - Portland needs affordable housing now more than ever - but our true measure of success will be in the quiet, steady work that takes place in those vulnerable moments.

Thank You To All Who Joined IHI for Our 30th Anniversary Celebration!


IHI launched our new individual giving campaign, The Innovators, at our 30th Anniversary.  Click here to learn about the benefits of becoming an Innovator.  





IHI Celebrates 
National Night Out

This summer IHI partnered with Income Property Management, Rosie's Room, Schools Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN), and IRCO to celebrate National Night Out with the Madison South Neighborhood at Hancock Park.  We had over 250 people join us for food, face painting, balloon fun, arts and crafts, and music!  



Thank you to our wonderful sponsors:  

Income Property Management


Waste Management

Madison South Neighborhood Association

Kennedy Restoration

Background Investigations, Inc.

Sherwin Williams

Erickson and Woodland Square Are Under Construction


Construction started on Woodland Square in Albany this June. Greenberry Construction cleared away the last of the trailer homes and prepped the site for new apartments. 


At left, you see the team driving piles to support building

foundations near the creek bed. 







Once the site was clear and piles were driven, the contractor started pouring foundations.  

At right, you see the slab for one of five buildings that will make up the apartment complex


At left, framing is underway and the buildings are starting to rise!


When complete, Woodland Square will include 54 apartments, a manager's office, green space, and a community room with space for IHI to deliver resident services. 


also started at the Erickson Saloon and the Fritz Hotel Buildings this June.  In August they ripped off the roof and took out the skylight.  Those of you who 

attended our FriendRaiser might recognize the interior as the site of our party-it looks a little different now!  At right, Silco Commercial Construction uses a very large crane to remove, seismically reinforce, and replace the roof of the Fritz Hotel.


At left, Silco Commercial Construction uses a very large crane to remove, seismically reinforce, and replace the roof of the Fritz Hotel.

Visit IHI's website for weekly construction in progress pictures of both projects!





JP Morgan Chase Foundation Supports Financial Stability


On August 7th, Chuck Weinstock and Bruce Jaeger of JPMorgan Chase Bank presented a check for $42,000 to Innovative Housing to support our Foundations for Financial Stability program. JPMorgan Chase's generous award expands IHI's ability to offer comprehensive financial education to low-income residents of our housing.  IHI combines one-on-one support and budgeting assistance with a financial education curriculum that we have designed  to address the unique circumstances of people living in generational poverty.  By combining personal support with realistic goals and concrete financial tools, IHI is able to help our residents achieve and maintain financial stability.  


Sometimes people come to IHI seeking assistance with their finances, but most participants enter the program as a result of a late rent payment.  IHI will waive late fees if our residents agree to sit down with IHI staff and engage in a household budgeting session.  Once all sources of household income and monthly expenses are laid out, it often becomes apparent that the problem is not exclusively poor money management skills.  Rather, our residents often lack sufficient income to cover their basic expenses.  So IHI also focuses on helping people increase their incomes, whether that be through employment skills trainings, job search assistance, or securing benefits that provide stable income. 

IHI Students Head 
Back to School!
This year was IHI's 10th annual backpack and school supply giveaway.  Going back to school can be a stressful time for families, especially when parents are unsure how they will purchase the necessary supplies for their children's education.  To make it easier, IHI works with each school serving our housing, identifies required school supplies, and provides grade-appropriate items to every resident student so they go back to school equipped to learn!  


Special Thanks to Jeff Reingold of IPM for his 

annual gift of fantastic backpacks.


Healthcare and Housing 


This summer, IHI began hosting sexual education workshops at our family properties.  These workshops, offered in partnership with Multnomah County and Planned Parenthood, are the first component of IHI's newest family programming, Family Matters.  Family Matters is a series of workshops where parents receive education and tips for teaching kids about tough, but important topics, and teenagers receive corresponding education that supports and affirms the messages that they are getting from their parents.  IHI is taking this dual approach to healping parents and children make positive behavior change in four critical areas:  household budgeting, sexual health, completing high school, and pursuing post-secondary opportunities.  To fit this model, the sex ed workshops were offered in two parts - the first one was offered to parents and the second was offered to teenagers. Parents reported that the class was very informative - they even requested that the presenters come back and conduct a workshop about adult sexuality.  The teen workshop allowed teens to guide the conversation, which ended up focusing on human anatomy and contraceptives.  Teenage participants reported that they enjoyed the intimate setting.  One participant said, "We were able to ask questions we would not have felt comfortable asking in a larger group." 


IHI looks forward to working with resident parents and teenagers to continue developing and refining the Family Matters program over the next year.  Our goals are to provide consistent messaging and support for parents who are tackling tough issues with their children and encourage young people to make positive life changes and break out of poverty.

Help IHI Earn Donations!  

You can help Innovative Housing, Inc. earn donations just by shopping with your Fred Meyer Rewards Card!


Fred Meyer is donating $2.5 million per year to non-profits in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, based on where their customers tell them to give. Here's how the program works:

  • Sign up for the Community Rewards program by linking your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to Innovative Housing, Inc. at You can search for us by our name or by our non-profit number 86076.
  • Then, every time you shop and use your Rewards Card, you are helping Innovative Housing, Inc. earn a donation!
  • You still earn your Rewards Points, Fuel Points, and Rebates, just as you do today.
  • If you do not have a Rewards Card, they are available at the Customer Service desk of any Fred Meyer store.
  • For more information, please visit  
Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    2011