Out of a housing crisis, a housing solution was born. Not a quick-fix solution, but a long-term solution. Inspired by a vision, and put into action by strong leadership and commitment by many.
Years of redlining by financial institutions left families in the inner north and northeast neighborhoods of Portland unable to secure conventional mortgages. As a result, hundreds of properties became vacant and neglected. Property values plummeted, and in stepped an unscrupulous mortgage firm who scammed hundreds of unsuspecting families.
Action was finally taken when, in the fall of 1990, The Oregonian exposed these practices and the tragedies resulting from them. The brokerage firm was convicted of racketeering and fraud, but hundreds of families were still in the midst of their homes. Neighborhood and government leaders, and the families themselves worked to create a solution. They decided to form a non-profit that would acquire the endangered homes, help families secure conventional mortgages to buy them back, and retain the other properties as long-term affordable rentals.
They formed Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives.
From helping people who were unknowingly swindled out of their homes to helping people obtain homeownership, PCRI has come a long way, just as the communities and people we serve have. PCRI is an anchor of the inner north and northeast neighborhoods, and a place where families and individuals can come to start building their American Dream.
Gone are the abundant vacant and neglected homes, but new challenges are faced. Gentrification and displacement are forcing some people out of close-in neighborhoods and into situations of housing instability. Our affordable rentals are needed now more than ever. Our Homeownership Initiative and Resident Programs allow our residents to move along a continuum of self-sufficiency, on a path to wealth creation. It is not always a fast or easy path, but it is a lasting and effective one.
PCRI will continue to preserve, maintain and expand our portfolio of affordable rental homes to meet the housing needs of the community. Our homeownership program will continue to grow, graduating well-prepared first-time home owners each year.
Our new developments, whether for homeownership or rental, will continue to be designed in the sustainable fashion that earned PCRI the Governor’s Livability Award and recognition in the City of Portland’s Build it Green! homes tour. And we will continue to grow our partnerships to enhance services for our residents and community members.
During the last 20 years, PCRI’s housing and services have proven effective. For the next 20 years and beyond, we will continue to expand and adapt these tools to ensure the stability and success of our residents and communities.