Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
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Spring 2015

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

As spring arrives and the season of change engulfs us, I am unsettled by the fact that I have very little news to share.  In both my personal and professional life, when someone asks me, "what's new?" the answer is an underwhelming "not much."  I want to respond enthusiastically with a passionate and elaborate answer (or at least an interesting one), but the truth is that I don't have much to report.  Before you stop reading, let me add that I don't think that is an entirely bad thing.  In fact, in most cases, no news is good news.  And it does not mean that we aren't hard at work! 


IHI's development staff have their heads down as we charge into the back stretch on two construction projects - the final months of development present plenty of challenges as the trades compete for time and space to complete their work, IHI and our architects do punch walk after punch walk to ensure that everything is done to spec and to our satisfaction, and the construction budgets get more intricate and detailed as we draw down the last of the project funds.  Both the Erickson Fritz and The Woodwind will be complete this summer - keep an eye out for your invitation to the grand openings.


On the asset management side, we are working closely with property managers to lease up new units, ensure that compliance paperwork is meticulously completed, and deliver on all of our commitments to funders and investors.  Our new Director of Housing Operations, Marques Lang, is getting settled and digging into the day to day work of making sure IHI's existing properties operate smoothly, a task that runs the gamut from mediating neighbor disputes to dealing with 18,000 gallons of raw sewage.  We also just closed out tax and audit season and completed most of our annual reporting to funders - phew!


Resident Services staff are extremely busy supporting residents at existing properties and getting ready to serve new residents at The Erickson Fritz and The Woodwind Apartments.  In addition to helping resident households meet their basic needs and maintain their housing stability, we are working to deliver a full range of services, including two previously announced Resident Service initiatives - Healthcare & Housing and Family Matters.  Through these initiatives we are helping residents access healthcare, engage in preventive care, and manage chronic conditions.  We are also supporting families and giving them a toolkit to tackle difficult topics together, like sex ed and financial education, and set goals around high school graduation and post-secondary education. 


Nothing new, but certainly not nothing.  And while we love announcing new programs and exciting new developments, we know that what really matters is doing the hard work it takes to deliver on our promises.  As the person responsible for steering the ship that is Innovative Housing, I am gratified to see all hands on deck and watch them doing their jobs with the skill and passion that make IHI great.  Steady as she goes!


I'd like to acknowledge one big change happening in our industry:  Traci Manning, Director of the Portland Housing Bureau, announced that she is leaving the City on April 30th to pursue a life change for herself.  Thank you Traci for your tireless support and commitment to affordable housing and best wishes as you set forth on new adventures.   

Sneaking Peeks in Old Town...  


Innovative Housing invited The Innovators and other VIP's to join us for a sneak peek of the first finished units at The Fritz Hotel and The Woodwind Apartments in March and April.  Due to construction schedules and staggered completion dates, these early units will be leased and occupied for the Grand Openings of the two projects and we wanted to show them off while we could!



Left, courtyard art installation at the Fritz. Right, a finished unit. 

 and Albany... 

Left, general contractor Greg Goracke, IHI Board President Joe Hughes, Sarah Stevenson, and Albany Mayor Sharon Konopa. 

Right, IHI's Director of Housing Development 

Julie Garver talks to local students about 

The Woodwind Apartments.

Below, a finished unit.

Certificates of Good Standing


IHI's joint project with MercyCorps NW's Reentry Transition Center to help reduce barriers to housing for individuals with criminal histories is up and running!  Our expert panel is assembled and has started reviewing applications from individuals seeking to demonstrate that they are rehabilitated and would be good tenants.  We are very pleased to introduce the Certificate Panel:            

If you know anyone who has served time in the justice system, needs housing, and would benefit from a Certificate stating that they have completed critical steps towards rehabilitation and reintegration into society, please refer them to Jeremy Nichols at (971) 255-0547, x 212 or  Click here to learn more about the program.

Together We Make a Neighborhood


Every April, IHI youth participate in the Fair Housing Poster Contest, organized by the Fair Housing Council of Oregon to celebrate National Fair Housing Month.  Youth in 1st through 8th grades submitted entries in this year's contest themed "Together We Make A Neighborhood." 


Over the years, this annual contest has been a great tool for Resident Services staff to help increase awareness and understanding of equal housing laws among resident youth and families.  We are excited to announce that one of IHI's own resident youth won first prize for her grade division this year!  

 Congratulations to Julia 

for her winning entry!

Healthcare and Housing 


IHI is very excited about our new partnership with the Breckinridge School of Nursing and Health Sciences.  Starting in March and running through the end of 2015, Breckinridge will be using three of IHI's family housing sites as clinical placements for their nursing students.  We hope to also add a downtown location and one more family property in Washington County later this summer.  The nursing students' clinicals last between four and five weeks, and they will be on site at our various communities twice a week for 8 hours/day

 during each cycle. 

During their time on site, the nursing students will be available to residents on a drop-in basis and can provide a wide range of services including but not limited to:

  •  Health screenings
  •  Vision and hearing screenings
  •  Blood pressure checks
  •  Answering health related questions
  •  Answering medication related questions
  •  Nutrition education

In addition, throughout the school year the nursing students will be providing health related activities on Monday and Tuesday afternoons as part of our after school youth programs.  During summer months, they will assist with activities before and after summer lunch programming. 


Thanks to the Breckinridge School, IHI residents are going to have great access to preventive screenings, medical resources, and health and nutrition education - all right where they live! 

Get Ready to Golf!


Multifamily NW's 29th Annual Charity Golf Tournament is coming up and IHI is grateful to have been selected as one of the charities that will benefit!  Each year Multifamily NW organizes a golf tournament to raise funds for local non-profit groups working with at-risk youth, the elderly, people with disabilities, and low-income families.  Over the years, they have raised more than $300,000 for local nonprofit housing agencies.  On July 9, 2015, this generous group will once again rally on the greens to raise funds that will help support IHI's housing and services.  Thank you Multifamily NW!

Rosie's Room and IHI Partner at a Second Location!


Rosie's Room is a nonprofit that teaches like skills such as mending, sewing, cooking, knitting, and crafting to help people fulfil their own potential and develop a pride in self.  Rosie's Room has been a great partner to IHI at the Broadway Vantage Apartments and we are very pleased that Rosie's Room is now offering its services at the Kinnaman Townhomes in Aloha.  Forty resident families in Washington County will benefit from sewing, mending, cooking, knitting, and arts & crafts workshops offered on-site by Rosie's Room.  If you are interested in learning more about them, volunteering, or signing up for a workshop, click here to visit their website

In March, 18,000 gallons of raw sewage flooded the basement of the Whitmarsh Building.  J.R. Johnson, Inc. mitigated the disaster and got our commercial tenants up and running in record time.  They also hosted IHI staff at a Blazer Game (and we thought that made a better newsletter photo than the alternative).  Thank you J.R. Johnson!

April is National Financial Literacy Month 

This seems like a particularly auspicious occasion to announce the newest component of our Family Matters program-a parent-teen combo approach to financial education.  IHI is partnering with Innovative Changes to develop financial curriculum targeted at teenagers and complementary curriculum for parents that will help them reinforce these lessons at home.  Hopefully, a winning combination! Innovative Housing provides household budgeting assistance and financial education to our residents year-round-to read more about our financial services, please visit IHI's website.
Innovative Housing Inc.                                                                    2011