Innovative Housing, Inc. Newsletter
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Winter 2015

From IHI's Executive Director
Sarah J. Stevenson

Caleb Porter, coach of the Portland Timbers, started his remarks at the Timbers' rally celebrating their MLS Cup Championship by saying that most things come down to moments and memories.  That struck a chord with me, because as the mother of two young boys I find myself constantly seeking to create special moments and memories that they will carry with them throughout their lives.  The irony is, as much effort as I may put into "creating" and cultivating those special times, it is the unplanned, unchoreographed moments that most often stick with us. 
I'm sure that my parents spent many hours orchestrating special family Christmas moments (they still do!), and I know that I carry those memories with me.  But I'm also certain that the most vivid holiday memory I had this year was evoked when I walked into a cavernous, funky-smelling import store in the Central East Side.  That probably wasn't the Stevenson family Christmas memory my parents envisioned me carrying into the future.  Yet it was our annual family shopping trip to Import Plaza (a wonderful  but long-gone Old Town establishment where a child with $5 could find exotic and interesting gifts for everyone on her list) that embedded itself in my memory banks as a cherished holiday tradition, somewhat forgotten until unearthed by the smell of incense burning in a refurbished warehouse. 
You never know what our brains will hold sacred.  Is it the moments we intentionally curate or the ones in-between that will resonate most strongly?  As parents, we try our best to create positive memories for our children and hope that they overshadow the mundane, challenging, and sometimes horrible moments that inevitably happen.  For those of us lucky enough to have loved ones in our lives and the resources to pay for food, shelter, and creature comforts, forming positive memories is relatively easy.  But what about parents who are struggling to meet basic needs and whose financial and personal resources are stretched beyond capacity?  I often think about how hard it would be to explain to a young child why they don't have a bedroom, a place to go to the bathroom, or even dinner.  And, in the face of that stress, I wonder how a parent finds the resiliency to create special moments for their children.  The challenge is magnified at this time of year, when society and every form of mainstream media is messaging children that they should expect holiday magic.  Some parents find a way - others just do what they can to survive.  Perhaps they are teaching their children the more valuable lesson and creating the most salient memories.
During this hectic holiday season, please pause and think about what you can do to help someone create a special moment for themselves and their loved ones.  Big or small, every gesture matters and can make a difference.  Whether you share your time, your money, or something else, the odds are that you will double your investment - not only will you help someone else make a precious holiday memory, but you may also discover a special holiday moment for yourself. 
From all of us at IHI, thank you for caring about safe, affordable housing and best wishes for a holiday season full of magical moments and wonderful memories! 

Visit  IHI's YouTube channel to view a video of some of our young residents talking about their favorite 
holiday memories.
New Family Housing Coming 
to the Pearl!

IHI is very excited to announce that we will break ground on a new, 12-story apartment building in the Pearl Neighborhood in 2017!  In October, the City of Portland selected Innovative Housing to develop new affordable housing for homeless families at NW 14th and Raleigh Streets.  IHI responded to a Request for Proposals issued by the City following its acquisition of the site from Hoyt Street Properties this spring.  The City was able to purchase the site at a discounted price of $1.3 million as part of an earlier agreement between Hoyt Street and the City that required 35 percent of housing developed on Hoyt Street's property to be affordable. 

6-story Rendering by Alex Salazar Architects
IHI proposed three development scenarios - a six-story building with 40 units, an eight- story building with 50 units, and a nine-story building with 64 units.  Under every scenario, at least half of the units were planned to house families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.  As the selection process proceeded, it became clear that the City wanted to maximize density on this site and when they selected IHI as the developer they asked us to redesign the building as a 12 story tower!  IHI and our development team of Alex Salazar Architects, LRS Architects, and Bremik Construction have been working since late October to research cost effective construction methods and design a larger building with additional units, parking, and community space. 
Many of the families who will live at 14th/Raleigh will have little or no income and will need support to maintain their housing stability.  IHI will provide a full time resident services coordinator and draw on our expertise housing formerly homeless individuals and families to deliver services designed to help our new residents thrive in this fantastic housing opportunity.
"Our city's housing crisis has left too many Portland families on the brink," said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau.  "We are excited to partner with Innovative Housing on this project to give dozens of these families the opportunity to put down roots in one of our great neighborhoods, and bring their children up near the things that make life better for families - a pre-school, a grocery store, a city park and good access to jobs."  IHI is thrilled to be working with an outstanding development team and the Portland Housing Bureau to create new affordable homes in a great, family-friendly neighborhood. 
Support IHI this Holiday Season

Each year, IHI provides wraparound services to hundreds of men, women, and children to help them stay housed and use their housing as a foundation for success.  Winter brings increased challenges for people struggling to make ends meet and more dire consequences for those who lose their housing, making our services even more important during these cold, dark months.

We all need help sometimes.
And everyone deserves a safe home. 

Please consider giving a gift to IHI this holiday season so that we can continue to provide more than just a home to our residents.  Making a donation to IHI is also the perfect gift for that special someone in your life.  You can either use the enclosed envelope to mail in your donation or donate securely and print a gift certificate online.
Happy Holidays to you and your family!
Help for the Holidays

Each year IHI staff nominates resident families for the Christmas Family Adoption Foundation, a nonprofit that provides assistance to those who would otherwise not have a holiday celebration.  This year IHI successfully nominated 21 families for adoption, including Ana, Joel, and their three young children.  Ana's little sister Yessenia also lives with the family.  Joel works long hours as a landscaper but always finds time to spend with his family.  Ana was a stay at home mom until recently, but is now enrolled at Mt. Hood Community College to become a Certified Nursing Assistant.  Ana and Joel's children are active participants in IHI's after school program and Yessenia is involved in our teen program.  IHI staff has worked extensively to help her enroll in an alternative school that will allow her to reach her full potential as a student.
This year when it was time to nominate families, Ana and Joel immediately came to mind.  They are both very responsible with their finances, always prioritizing basic needs, but rarely have any money left over for extras.  This holiday season, the children were going to go without gifts.  When Ana learned that her family was adopted by Nike she said, "I'm so excited for the kids to have a memorable Christmas."  Last week Nike employees delivered gifts to the family and the children were over the moon.  They immediately came to the Resident Services office to say how thankful and excited they were.  IHI is grateful for the Christmas Family Adoption Foundation and the generous companies and individuals who provide gifts to families like Joel and Ana's to help them celebrate the holidays and create lasting memories together.
Art at the Erickson Gallery

The Erickson Fritz Apartments not only provide homes to people, but they also house Old Town's newest art gallery!  IHI installed a professional hanging system and track lighting and we are inviting a new artist to showcase his or her work each month at the Erickson Gallery.  The Erickson Gallery held its inaugural First Thursday event in November, featuring Joe Watts.  In December, our guest artist is Dino Murphy, whose work you may have seen at the Portland Saturday Market.
We also use First Thursdays as an opportunity for public viewing of large art installations in the Erickson courtyard. Created by James Harrison, Evan Holt, Dave Laubenthal, and Natalie Ball, these pieces interpret and celebrate the history of the Erickson Saloon.

We invite you to join us on First Thursdays to view each new featured artist!  More information can be found on our  website.

Erickson Gallery
9 NW 2nd Ave
Open Every First Thursday 

Thank You 
Coats for Kids Donors!

2015 marked the 10th year of IHI's annual Coats for Kids campaign.  Each year we are thankful for the continuing support of our donors.  Through their generosity, we are able to ensure that every resident child in need of a warm winter coat receives one.  This year, we distributed 169 coats!  Because of our donors' compassion and generosity, 169 children will stay warm and healthy as they play, learn, and enjoy the winter season.
Thank you to our generous donors for helping ensure that all of our resident children have warm winter coats this year:
Kerry & Bill Stevenson
Nelda Scott Newton
Chris & Debra Jo Page
Darcy Vincent
John Cunningham
Jan Yocom
LRS Architects
Sarah Carter Adams
Katherine Patricelli
Brad Timmel
McMenamins, Inc.

IHI Receives the DeMuro Award

On November 13, 2015, Innovative Housing was honored to receive a 2015 Art DeMuro Award for its historic restoration and repurposing of the Erickson Saloon and Fritz Hotel Buildings. The DeMuro Award is bestowed by Restore Oregon to recognize extraordinary historic rehabilitation projects throughout the State.

Innovative Housing, along with its development team of LRS Architects, Orangewall Studios Planning + Architecture, Silco Commercial Construction, and Froelich Engineers paid special attention to preserving historic pieces of the building, such as the original wood floors, ornate cornices, and original beams and studs, while converting the vacant commercial buildings into 62 apartment homes. 
IHI's Year in Review
  • IHI completed construction and opened The Erickson Fritz Apartments in Old Town, Portland and the Woodwind Apartments in Albany, OR, creating 116 new apartment homes.
  • We raised $65,425 in charitable donations and sponsorships to support our Resident Services Programs and $111,472 in foundation grants to support our asset management, development, and resident services work. 
  • With Silco Commercial Construction, we achieved a 42% MWESB utilization rate at The Erickson Fritz Apartments.
  • IHI was named one of the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon.
  • We served 3,766 summer lunches, provided daily summer activities at 4 family sites, and distributed 261 backpacks full of school supplies to resident children.
  • IHI staff provided over 1,300 eviction prevention services to residents.
  • IHI acquired a 60 unit apartment building in NE Portland that houses low and very low-income families.
  • On 12/31/15, IHI will close on the refinance of three mortgages, locking in low rates to ensure financial sustainability at three of our older properties.
Innovative Housing Inc.