Archive for March, 2010

March 26, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

It’s official!  PCRI is realizing our dream of building affordable, sustainable homes for new homeowners.

This morning, Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick (pictured above with Lori Medak of Fidelity National Title) signed closing documents–a final hurdle prior to deconstructing the existing structures and building the first four homes PCRI is developing for affordable ownership opportunities.

“This development represents our commitment to the community; it is a beginning,” said Fitzpatrick, who was jubilant to move forward with the project.

John Marshall of Portland Development Commission, whose funding will make these homes possible, touted the new homes as “incredible improvements to the neighborhood.”

While it’s been a long process leading up to this morning’s milestone, PCRI is especially excited to get started on construction.  To stay informed about construction progress, become our fan on Facebook or follow us at

March 22, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

PCRI is always exceptionally thankful for our supporters.  Now more than ever, the businesses and individuals that provide financial and in-kind assistance for our programs, our community centers and our residents make an immeasurable difference for PCRI families.  With the help of our supporters, we help ensure our residents’ success on the path from basic survival and family stability to self-sufficiency and beginning the process of savings and wealth creation.

We extend a great big THANKS to

  • CASA of Oregon
  • City of Portland Bureau of Housing and Community Development (Portland Housing Bureau)
  • City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
  • City of Portland Bureau of Transportation
  • CLEAR by Mobile Citizen
  • Columbia Cascade Company
  • Franz Bakery
  • Free Geek
  • The Home Depot
  • KeyBank Foundation
  • JPMorgan Chase Foundation
  • Neighborhood Partnership Fund
  • New Seasons Market
  • Northwest Area Oregon Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation
  • Oregon Association of Realtors Home Foundation
  • Point West Credit Union
  • Portland Children’s Museum
  • Portland Community College
  • Sherwin Williams
March 22, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

Community, n: an interacting population of various individuals in a common location.

This definition of community describes well what PCRI offers at our three community centers in north and northeast Portland.  The common locations where PCRI residents can interact as well as learn, grow and seek community referrals are Park Terrace Community Center, Margaret Carter Community Employment Center and the Maya Angelou Community Center.  The resident service coordinator at each center strives to connect residents with the various programs PCRI offers, as well as provide information and referrals to community resources.

These community centers are available to all PCRI residents (though we often request advance reservations due to space limitations).  In fact, in 2009 we made noteworthy improvements and experienced great increases in utilization of our community centers:

  • We remodeled Park Terrace Community Center where Amber provides a wide variety of program activities–from education programs and computer training to yoga and crochet classes.
  • Lisa, a longtime contributor to PCRI, now heads up the Margaret Carter Employment Center, providing computer and employment related services.  The JOBS Plus Program helps make her assistance possible.
  • We provide after school programs, tutoring and other program activities to residents living in Maya Angelou Apartment Complex.  Cassie, an AmeriCorps member, is our excellent Resident Services Coordinator at Maya Angelou.
  • Volunteers help out at all three locations (and at our main office).  Want to get involved?  Check out our volunteer page!
  • A list of activities is on our Facebook page.  Become a fan to keep up on the latest events!

In addition to the activities at our community centers, PCRI offers a variety of programs to support youth: paid internships, after school tutoring, dance and self-defense classes, art and craft lessons and a summer arts camp.  For fun, we’re even able to hold monthly birthday parties.  Thanks to our community partners, we achieved some great results for PCRI youth in 2009:

  • 7 PCRI teens received paid internships working at PCRI Offices and other local businesses: 3 teens (pictured above with Amber, Park Terrace Resident Services Coordinator) received summer internships and 4 had winter break internships.
  • 16 PCRI kids participated in our week-long Summer Arts Camp at Maya Angelou Community Center.
  • Youth at Maya Angelou gained valuable skills from our financial fitness classes there.

We’re proud of the success we’ve achieved at our Community Centers and with PCRI youth.  Still, we couldn’t do it without the determined participation of PCRI residents.  Want to get involved?  Check out events on our Facebook page or read more about our Resident Services programs and volunteer opportunities.

March 10, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

So you’ve checked out descriptions of PCRI’s Programs elsewhere on our website, but you’re hungry for a little more information.  Well, you’ve come to the right place!  Our Programs Department has been feverishly working on new services for our residents–as well as make our current programs even better.  Here are some highlights of our recent Programs successes:


Our Homeownership Initiative (launched in 2004) aims to transform PCRI residents from renters to first time homeowners.  The comprehensive program includes intake and assessment, credit repair, one-on-one counseling, financial fitness, HUD-certified homebuyer education, monthly homebuyer club meetings, and post-purchase assistance.  It’s exactly this type of program that goes beyond helping homeowners, says the New York Times:  “These alliances have sidestepped the plague of foreclosure.”

Since 2007, PCRI has been working with the African American Alliance for Homeownership and Hacienda Community Development Corporation, with whom PCRI forms the Minority Homebuyers Assistance Collaborative (MHAC). Through the MHAC collaborative, PCRI residents have access to culturally-specific HUD-certified homebuyer education classes and additional funds to assist with down payment and closing costs.

We’re excited about 2009’s growth for our homeownership program and the successes of the residents who are enrolled:

  • 10 PCRI families purchased homes (read one resident’s story here)
  • 54 families participated in our complete homebuyer counseling program
  • 17 families ended the year mortgage-ready … and looking for homes
  • 10 special-topic homebuyer education classes were held
  • PCRI’s post-purchase education initiative, “Life After Renting,” was implemented
  • $178,000 in down-payment assistance was distributed to new homebuyers


As an integral part of our homeownership initiative, PCRI’s financial literacy program is designed to prepare individuals and families to better manage their finances and achieve family goals such as lowering debt and improving credit scores.  Residents in this program are provided with multiple choices of sound and proven financial education curricula including: Money Smart, Dollar Works 2, and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

  • Developed community partnerships with OSU Extension Services to provide the Dollar Works 2 program
  • Worked with Banking on our Future to provide financial fitness to youth at the Maya Angelou Community Center
  • Had 25 individuals graduate from our financial fitness programs.  All residents who participated have developed plans to reduce debt–and have experienced notable increases in their credit scores


IDAs are matched savings programs that allow qualified individuals to set savings goals and make monthly deposits into a designated account. Each dollar deposited is matched 3:1. PCRI has been involved in the IDA matched savings program since 2007.  In 2008, we expanded our community partnership with CASA of Oregon allowing us to provide IDA’s directly through PCRI. Residents have the ability to save in 3 major areas: homeownership, higher education, and home repairs.  The program is so popular, we currently have a waiting list of  residents wanting to take advantage of it.  The program is successful, too.  In 2009, PCRI:

  • Received $70,000 in IDA funding for homeownership, education, and home repair
  • Awarded 11 IDAs to residents utilizing every cent of our allotted funds
  • Had 3 PCRI residents use funds from their homeownership IDAs towards  purchase of their first home


Here’s our newest and most innovative approach to helping PCRI residents achieve their family goals.  The Thriving Families program is the all-encompassing package that helps move residents from family stability to self sufficiency and begin the process of creating wealth.  It incorporates all the programs and services PCRI currently offers, providing an effective vehicle to help families identify their needs and aspirations and put them into a strategic plan framework. Through this framework, each family member age six and older is able to create individual and family goals to be achieved. Monetary and other incentives are offered to participants who meet and exceed agreed upon milestones. These awards can assist families to overcome barriers they currently face. 2009 was an exciting year for the program as staff finalized details and began enrolling families.  In 2009, we:

  • Received funding to begin the thriving families pilot program
  • Signed up 7 families who are actively participating in the program
  • Set a goal of tripling the number of families enrolled in the program by the end of 2010

Next up: a look at the resources available at PCRI’s community centers, where we put these programs into action.