January 2016

Remember a time when you planned something and it went well? The same can happen for emergencies. Good preparation will help you and your family manage the unknown. We have some resources this month to help you prepare for emergencies. Also tax time is here! Read on for exciting tax time news!

All the best,
Innovative Changes
Credit Tip of the Month
Did you know that not all bill payments build your credit? When you make on-time payments for utilities, insurance, cellphones, and more, the creditor does not report those positive payments to the credit bureaus. To build credit, make sure you are making on-time payments on a financial product such as a credit card, secured or unsecured or an installment loan.

Good credit is an asset during times of emergency.
You could earn $130 for doing three short surveys
Innovative Changes and CASH Oregon are doing a Family Economic Opportunity Research project at tax time. We are enrolling 160 families in a research assignment on the role that the earned income tax credit has on our families' economic opportunities.  Each family will fill in three short surveys over the course of 90 days. You will be paid $40 for turning in survey #1, $40 for survey #2 and $50 for survey #3. The surveys and all related communications will be done in English and Spanish.

To qualify for the research project you need to qualify for and file for the Earned Income Tax Credit and have at least one child aged five or under. Families will be recruited from the Lloyd Center tax site on a first come first serve basis.  
Please encourage your families who qualify to come to the CASH Oregon / AARP Tax Aide site at Lloyd Center to get their taxes done as early as they can.  We only have 160 researcher slots and we envision the slots will fill up fast. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Get Your Taxes Done!
CASH Oregon Tax sites open January 26th.

The Lloyd Center tax site located in room 2027 will be open Saturday through Wednesday 9AM-4PM, Thursday 1PM-8PM, Friday CLOSED. Our last day will be Monday April 18th. We will be closed Easter  Sunday March 27.

Prepare Yourself for Floods
By Katie Kasabian
Last December officially broke Portland's previous wettest December record of 13.35 inches set in December 1996. With extreme weather expected to continue throughout the winter, it's important to be prepared for a flood. Check out the steps below to prepare for and prevent a flood in your community.
SNAP benefit changes
By Rosalia Harte
As of January 1st, it is estimated that 25,000 people in Multnomah County and 7,000 in Washington County will be affected by the loss of SNAP (of food stamps) benefits. Oregon was previously exempt from policies put into place in 1996 because the state unemployment rate was higher than the national average. Now that Oregon's unemployment rate in Multnomah and Washington counties are falling, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act went into effect January 1st.
Creating your Emergency Kit
By Rosalia Harte
You may or not have heard about the Cascadia Subduction zone and the large earthquake that will happen when the plates shift. Happening roughly every 300 years, it isn't a question of "if" it is a question of "when" this earthquake will happen. To better prepare you and your family, there are simple measures you can take; the first being preparing an emergency kit for when electricity and water services are likely to be down.

Winterize Your Home
By Stephanie Sampedro
Resource Highlight: Stay in control of your energy bill!
The tough part about sticking to a monthly budget is that things change from month to month. Unexpected expenses come up and monthly bills aren't always the same. One expense that increases around this time is heating costs. According to data from the U.S. Department of Energy, drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. Whether you heat your house with electric or gas, your energy bill will inevitably be higher in the winter, but you can set limits to this increase! Here are some other ways to stay in control of your energy bill:

 Upcoming Workshops & Orientationscb
The next Financial Household Resiliency workshops will be:
- Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 pm  
Jan. 19th: Hands on Banking
Jan. 26th: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit
Feb. 2nd: Making Ends Meet
Feb. 9th: Budgeting and Savings
February 16th: Hands on Banking

This workshop series will be held at our NEW office in 2027 Lloyd Center Mall.
You can register for the classes 
Our next Credit Builder Orientations will be:

Thursday, January 21st, 5:30-6:30 pm
ESPANOL, viernes 29 de enero, 1-2 pm
Friday, February 5th, 1-2 pm
ESPANOL, martes 9 de febrero, 5:30-6:30pm
Tuesday, February 16th, 5:30-6:30pm

All take place at our office, 2027 Lloyd Center.
Register here.
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Innovative Changes | 2010 Lloyd Center | Portland | OR | 97232