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PCRI’s Fifth Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala was the most successful gala yet, raising a record $104,500! The dancers delivered an amazing show and the event’s sponsors, volunteers and guests raised 25% more than ever before to support the affordable housing and services PCRI residents depend on.
Following a packed reception, Nkenge Harmon-Johnson and Erious Johnson brought the event to life with an epic performance choreographed to “Staying Alive”. Emcee Chabre Vickers brought her personal connections to the work PCRI does.
The headlining entertainment of the evening, the Dancing with the Stars-style competition, was also one for the record books! Trained by and paired with professional dancers from Portland’s Fred Astaire Dance Studio, each dancing couple put on a spectacular show.
In the end, only one dance couple could be named champion and while Adrienne Nelson, Frank Taylor and reigning champion Pamela Weatherspoon had a tough decision, they named Cupid Alexander and Jessi Aillon this year’s winners.
But the evening isn’t just about a dance competition. Chabre Vickers and PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick celebrated the successes achieved by PCRI residents while underscoring the work that is still needed: to ensure all families have access to the benefits of stable, affordable housing in Portland’s opportunity-rich close-in neighborhoods. Led by auctioneer Kelly Russell, the gala’s live auction and special appeal were the most successful yet.
Most notably, former resident and first-time homeowner Altia Wilkins described how the stability of PCRI’s affordable rental housing, support of PCRI’s resident services and her strong dedication enabled her to purchase the home where her grandkids have room to play. In addition, the equity she builds in her home will provide stability for her grandkids and future generations.
For more news and photos, be sure to visit the Gala website! And, of course, we extend a giant thank you to all our sponsors, contributors and guests as well as the fantastic volunteers who made the evening such an amazing success. If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join our mailing list to get news and invitations for next year’s gala, scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2017.
PCRI is planning an open house and ribbon-cutting celebration June 14, 2016 for our newest affordable rental homes. These three-bedroom townhome-style rental homes are our most recent example of transit-oriented infill homes to help mitigate and prevent displacement in Northeast Portland’s rapidly changing neighborhoods.
Neighbors and community members are invited to help us celebrate these new homes at an event June 14, 2016 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Email Travis Phillips or call PCRI’s main office for more information and to RSVP.
These new homes (and a virtually identical development a few blocks away) are expected to achieve Earth Advantage Platinum certification for their sustainable, energy-efficient construction. Designed by eM|Zed Architecture and built by Colas Construction, these homes will ensure durability, health and affordability for resident families for years to come. Financing has been provided by Portland Housing Bureau and Pacific Continental Bank, with incentives and grant funding from Energy Trust of Oregon, the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability and NW Natural.
PCRI has been working with valued partner Qualen Carter, loan officer at HomeStreet Bank, since 2014. He has helped many of PCRI Homeownership Program clients to find appropriate home financing, guiding them through the complexities of the mortgage lending process with a level of care that is distinctly unusual in his field.
Qualen is a tireless and resolute advocate for first-time homebuyers; his approach to his work is rooted in his deep commitment to his community, and in his belief that opportunities for homeownership should be made accessible to all. He says that most of all he wants his clients to know homeownership is for them. That message is particularly meant for African Americans, who have historically been denied the opportunity to own homes through exclusion from the mainstream mortgage market, redlining, predatory lending practices, and other forms of discrimination. As an African American loan officer, Qualen knows that it’s powerfully important for clients of color to see him — someone who reflects their identity, someone who is intimately familiar with their community — in order to gain a sense of recognition, and a degree of confidence that they will be welcomed and understood.
Qualen’s mission-driven approach runs counter to the profit-driven business model that governs much of the financial sector. He highlights what he sees as the huge disparity that exists in the industry based on a borrower’s income — whereas financial institutions ‘roll out the red carpet’ for wealthy buyers (in terms of lower interest rates, more leniency around requirements for debt-to-income ratios, and more), moderate-income buyers struggle to find affordable products. While Qualen shares that he’s had to take some losses in order to do his work with the level of care and integrity this is his trademark, the opportunity to help families get into their first home is well worth it. Qualen cobbles together all possible resources in order to make a loan work for clients, utilizing programs like the Mortgage Credit Certificate, Oregon Bond, Down Payment Assistance Loans and Individual Development Accounts (the second two are available through PCRI). If there was ever a doubt, he wants his clients to know that he’s “grinding just as much as they are” — he’s prepared to advocate and work hard on behalf of deserving first-time homebuyers.
Wondering how you might get started on the road to first-time homeownership? Qualen leaves us with some expert advice:
Qualen’s passion for working with first-time homebuyers, his deep commitment to his community, and his true industry expertise make him an invaluable partner to our organization and the individuals and families that we serve in our Homeownership Program. We are proud to partner with Qualen, and grateful for his work.
Nicole Christmas joined PCRI’s staff this May as the Maintenance Administrative Assistant. Nicole brings extensive professional experience to her role, having worked in Office Management for over fifteen years at companies including Toyota Motor Sales and US Pipe Fabrication. Nicole’s compassionate customer service, her skill in financial management, and her capacity to balance the complex moving parts of a busy office will contribute to the smooth and efficient operation of PCRI’s Maintenance Department.
Nicole is excited to work with PCRI’s diverse resident community, and to assist people and their families with their maintenance needs as they arise. Nicole shares that she has always wanted to join a team that “offers an environment of cultural awareness, the kind that empowers all human beings.” She looks forward to fostering that kind of empowering community at PCRI, and is eager to work together with you, our residents. In addition to managing the day-to-day administrative needs of the Maintenance Department, Nicole is our residents’ primary contact for any necessary work orders and repair requests – she looks forward to communicating with you, and helping to make sure that your home stays in working order!
Outside of her time at PCRI, Nicole is committed to her family and to giving back to the broader community. She serves as Youth Ministry Leader at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, working with youth under the leadership of First Lady Sister Angela Pack. She’s also a volunteer with the Portland Parks Foundation. Nicole is a native Portlander, self-described free spirit, avid basketball player, gardener, and reader.
PCRI is thrilled to have Nicole as part of our staff team – please join us in welcoming her!
Would you like to be able to buy a home in North/Northeast Portland? PCRI is developing new homes for sale to qualifying first-time buyers and is partnering with the Portland Housing Bureau to make homeownership affordable and available to longtime residents of North and Northeast Portland. Portland Housing Bureau’s applications for this opportunity will be available beginning April 18, 2016 but must be completed and returned between May 2, 2016 – May 13, 2016.
Families who experienced or are now facing involuntary displacement from their historic neighborhood will be able to apply to receive preference for financial assistance to purchase a home via a policy developed by Portland Housing Bureau. Applications and additional information about the opportunities available and the preference policy are available on Portland Housing Bureau’s website, at PCRI and at other designated application sites.
As part of our Pathway 1000 Initiative to mitigate and prevent involuntary displacement, PCRI is developing these new homes for first time buyers beginning in 2016. These homes will include family-size single family homes, row homes and other types of housing. Families who purchase these homes can receive the full benefit of their homes’ equity and appreciation. Repayment of certain down payment assistance programs may be required; PCRI can help buyers understand all the opportunities and restrictions. More information on PCRI’s homeownership initiative can be found HERE.
More information about the Housing Bureau’s program and application is available online at www.portlandoregon.gov/phb and at PCRI. If you have any questions or would like to request printed copies of materials, call or visit PCRI or contact Jacquelyn Giordano at Portland Housing Bureau at 503-823-4100.
At a luncheon ceremony on April 14, Portland Business Journal honored PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick and 24 other accomplished business leaders as Women of Influence for 2016. The award (previously called the Orchid Award) recognizes the region’s most innovative and accomplished business executives.
“Maxine is a stabilizing force in affordable housing and community development,” Portland Business Journal reported in their Women of Influence special publication. “She works as a tireless advocate for low- and moderate-income families.”
According to the Business Journal, “this year’s class was chosen from among an intense array of nominees who sported vast accomplishments and long, sometimes overwhelming, community service involvement lists.”
PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick was recognized as a 2015 “Newsmaker of the Year” at an awards ceremony on March 16, 2016. The Royal Rosarian Foundation presented the awards for Newsmaker of the Year to local heroes who have performed acts of bravery or service to the community without regard to personal safety or public recognition. The recipients are nominated by local media representatives including Ms. Fitzpatrick, who was nominated by The Skanner News.
Jerry Foster of The Skanner News nominated Ms. Fitzpatrick for her work developing PCRI’s Pathway 1000 initiative. The Initiative aims to mitigate and prevent involuntary displacement of North and Northeast Portland’s historic residents, including the African American community, which has been disproportionately impacted.
Mr. Foster presented the award to Ms. Fitzpatrick alongside Rosarians Robert Hungerford and Rick Saturn, pictured above.
PCRI is excited to begin another series of the “Money Smart” Financial Education Program in partnership with Banner Bank. Residents who complete the four-class program will earn a $100 certificate they can redeem at any Banner Bank location. The program includes four 2-hour classes on Tuesday evenings, starting Tuesday, April 12, and will cover topics ranging from budgeting, balancing a checkbook, managing credit and avoiding identity theft.
Classes are limited to 35 participants and pre-registration is required, so residents are encouraged to RSVP as soon as possible to Amy Dang at PCRI. The classes include:
Participants who attend and complete all four classes will earn the $100 certificate from Banner Bank. Class sizes are limited and registration is required. Contact Amy Dang, PCRI’s Financial Education Specialist, for more information or to register. All classes will be held at the PCRI Annex, two blocks north of PCRI’s main office.
Key Planning and PCRI aim to learn what current and future residents of North and Northeast Portland want to see in their neighborhoods. Informed in part by a series of community conversations in March and April, 2016, we will develop the Pathway 1000 Community Housing Plan. This plan will guide PCRI’s Pathway 1000 initiative by helping answer questions of what housing should be developed, where, and for whom.
Join PCRI and Portland State University Masters in Urban and Regional Planning candidates for three upcoming community conversations about what home means to you. Each of the forums will be held at the Peninsula Park Community Center, 700 N Rosa Parks Way in Portland. Refreshments and childcare will be provided!
Forum One: Breaking Ground
Thursday, March 31, 6–8 p.m.
Forum Two: Community Choices and Trade-Offs
Thursday, April 14, 6–8 p.m.
Forum Three: Building Community
Sunday, May 22, 2–4:30 p.m.
In early March, PCRI’s Park Terrace and Maya Angelou Community Centers each hosted an open house for residents and new Resident Service Coordinators to meet each other. Both the residents and PCRI’s staff enjoyed food and laughter while meeting other residents and welcoming the center’s new coordinators, Victoria and Adrena (read more about PCRI’s new staff here).
In addition to meeting one another, the open houses serve as an opportunity to learn more about resident needs so the coordinators can develop programs that help residents become stable, achieve self-sufficiency and begin building assets. Programs at each of the community centers are designed to be particularly responsive to the needs of each community’s residents. In addition, residents of Park Terrace and Maya Angelou apartments have access to PCRI’s full suite of resident service programs.
Special thanks go out to the young photographer who captured photos at the Maya Angelou Community Center. We managed to catch her on the other side of the camera while she was taking a break with some of the evening’s banana pudding!
Click on any of the photos below to view a larger version.
Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives Inc.
6329 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Portland, OR 97211
Tel: (503) 288-2923 Fax: (503) 288-2891
PCRI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit community development organization providing affordable rental housing to low-income families, primarily in North and Northeast Portland. Since 1992, PCRI's vision has been to provide affordable housing and associated services that achieve family stability, self-sufficiency and wealth creation.