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Save the Date! PCRI’s 5th Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala will be held Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the Hilton Portland and Executive Towers. Visit pcrigala.org to learn details as they’re announced and to purchase tickets – now on sale. Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Sign up for PCRI’s mailing list to be the first to learn about the dancers who will compete in the 2016 gala and when tickets go on sale. We expect the event to once again sell out.
PCRI, Self Enhancement Inc. (SEI) the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF) and the Urban League of Portland are collaborating for the African American Financial Capabilities Initiative to improve and protect the economic security of African-Americans in our region.
Funded by an initial $1.2 million in grants from the Northwest Area Foundation (NWAF), the initiative will bring together a cohort of African-American-led groups to provide culturally-tailored work that strengthens asset-building services, sharpens policy advocacy strategies, and grows leadership capacity to benefit the communities.
Collaboration is a key aspect of the initiative. Beyond the collaboration between the cohorts themselves and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Corporation For Enterprise Development (CFED), the grant supports and promotes efforts by the cohorts to reach out and convene other organizations that can work collaboratively with groups within the African-American communities of each city.
NAACP and CFED help establish a learning community among cohort members and work collaboratively to provide technical assistance to African-American asset-building organizations that will serve as local anchors for the African-American Financial Capability Initiative in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, Seattle, Tacoma, Portland and Des Moines, Iowa.
The technical assistance aims to support a sustainable network of African-American asset development entities that produce and deliver premium asset-building resources that better serve the African-American community and encourage financial capability.
The NWAF listens to, learns from, and leads others to grantees’ transformative program and policy work, which helps hardworking people and families overcome crises today so they can establish good credit, launch small businesses, save, and begin to feel secure and hopeful about tomorrow.
The Community Energy Project and PCRI partnered for a pair of weatherization workshops held in January 2016. The workshops, which provided easy home weatherization tips and techniques, will help participants in PCRI’s Homeownership Retention program reduce energy costs while keeping their homes warm through the winter.
Thirteen senior homeowners at the January 13 workshop, and others at a January 6 workshop brought home a kit including weather stripping and other tools for insulating and reducing drafts. With easy-to-use instruction provided at the workshop, homeowners are able to begin saving energy and reducing their heating bills right away.
While many children celebrated rare Portland snow days that extended school’s winter break into the New Year, many low-income working families faced a difficult choice: stay home but lose a day’s income and risk losing their job, or brave the elements to be able to pay rent and keep food on the table.
January’s snow and ice underscore the importance of providing affordable housing in walkable, opportunity-rich neighborhoods. Individuals who work in lower-paying jobs including grocery clerks, hotel and food service work and other service professions typically do not have the luxury of staying home from work or working from home when the weather is bad. But, when housing affordability forces workers to find a place to live in neighborhoods further away from frequent transit service and job centers, families can lose their stability with just one bad weather day.
PCRI is continuing to reinvest in North and Inner Northeast Portland neighborhoods where, even on snowy days, families have safe, reliable access to work, to grocery stores and to community centers where kids can safely play even when parents don’t get a snow day. Beyond ensuring safe, affordable housing, we help families build stability so one day of bad weather doesn’t create a black financial cloud that lasts much longer.
PCRI staff coordinated with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to register and distribute toys to 97 resident kids this holiday season. Parents and kids–as well as PCRI staff–showed off big smiles as well as a carload of toys that helped make the holidays a bit brighter for deserving children.
In addition to Toys for Tots, PCRI worked with the Community Cycling Center once again this year, registering resident youth for the Center’s Holiday Bike Drive (follow the link for more photos). Several PCRI residents rode away with a new bicycle for the holidays, as well as safety gear and new bike safety and maintenance skills. Other residents used the Bike Drive as an opportunity to give back, volunteering at the event and helping other youth find the perfect fit.
PCRI Resident Services work one-on-one with resident families to help them find resources like Toys for Tots and the Holiday Bike Drive. Need a hand? Want to volunteer to help other families? Email us for information on upcoming programs.
Portland youth lined up for their pick of hundreds of bikes at the Community Cycling Center Holiday Bike Drive, Sunday, December 6, 2015. PCRI youth and other low-income children rode away from the event with a donated and refurbished bicycle, as well as free helmets, equipment and hands-on bike training. For many kids at the bike drive, this was their first bicycle and an exciting early holiday present.
Hermela, a PCRI resident, had an amazing time playing all the games, choosing her new bike, and riding it for the first time. PCRI was one of many partner agencies that referred families to the Bike Drive.
One parent was so thankful for this opportunity, noting that with such a tight budget Christmas presents are in question this year. Thanks to Community Cycling Center, partners and donors, the kids are ensured gifts under the tree. Each bike has an estimated value around $50, and with many participating families having multiple children, the benefit and opportunity of the bike drive adds up quickly.
In addition to youth receiving a new bike, PCRI residents were at the bike drive serving the community. Jericho has been interested in volunteering and helped give out helmets during the event. Each youth receiving a bike at the bike drive received a free helmet fit to size, as well as safety lessons and bike training to develop skills with their new bike.
Another PCRI parent was not only impressed by the amazing set up and knowledge of the staff and volunteers, but also grateful for someone else telling their kids to be safe, saying, “Parents can seem like nags about safety, so it’s good that the kids are hearing it from someone else this time! This helps!” The parent noted that they wanted the bikes to be a secret for Christmas but in the end was glad to bring their kids to such an informational experience.
PCRI staff member Kirk Rea helped families register them for the bike drive and brought his camera to the event to capture it in photos. It was “probably one of the cutest and most radical events I’ve been to,” he said.
For residents interested in connecting to similar resources, keep an eye on PCRI’s Programs page, contact a Resident Services Coordinator, and also follow us on Facebook, where we regularly share resources and opportunities.
Colas Construction and PCRI began development of affordable rental homes on two sites in Northeast Portland in November, 2015. Six new three-bedroom, two-bath townhouses are anticipated for completion in spring 2016 and will be available to rent by families earning up to 60% of Area Median Income (AMI – additional information is available HERE).
Work for the new homes began with deconstruction of an existing home, made possible in part by a grant from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. When it was determined that the existing rental home on the site wasn’t practical to rehabilitate, we looked to deconstruction (rather than demolition) as a way to keep valuable building materials out of the landfill and reduce the disturbance for neighbors as well as the impact on the environment.
Site preparations are now being made for the new homes. The new townhomes are designed to fit with the existing neighborhood scale, improve the properties that were vacant or underutilized, and provide the community with needed housing that is affordable to working families in Northeast Portland.
The new homes are part of PCRI’s Pathway 1000 Initiative, a response to involuntary displacement of families from North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods where affordable housing has become increasingly difficult to find or maintain. These new home will help ensure and expand the availability of affordable rental housing in neighborhoods where community resources are robust, schools are easily accessible, and transit services are frequent and readily available.
The project will also provide good-paying jobs for its workforce and opportunity for historically underutilized firms. Construction work performed by certified minority/women-owned and emerging small businesses (including general contractor Colas Construction) is anticipated to exceed 40% of all construction costs.
In addition to the deconstruction grant mentioned above, funding for this project is provided by Portland Housing Bureau, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), construction and permanent financing from Pacific Continental Bank, equity invested by PCRI, and the use of energy-efficiency incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon.
Genté, DJ and Chloé Shaw became first-time and first-generation homeowners as they moved into their new home in Northeast Portland in October. Moving from Gresham where rent was affordable, the Shaws were particularly excited to be able to own and raise their children in a closer-in neighborhood.
“To be owning a home, to be investing in our own personal asset and someday pass on to our daughter,” Genté said, “it’s a great feeling!”
The Shaws utilized savings they accrued through the PCRI’s matched-saving IDA program to help with their down payment and were supported through the entire process by Liz and Andrea, PCRI’s IDA and Homeownership staff.
It wasn’t always easy, Genté said, but she challenged others to make small changes to begin to achieve future goals. “I just encourage anyone else out there, if you’re able to do so [begin saving], do it,” she said. “Start where you are and be consistent.”
A week before closing on their new home, Genté and Chloé sat down with IDA Specialist Liz Olson to share their story for the Oregon IDA Initiative:
Achieving stability. Becoming self-sufficient. Successfully purchasing their first home. Using the tools PCRI provides, residents and clients achieve all types of success. We’re always eager to highlight the ways they’ve succeeded and congratulate the Shaw family on their new home!
Recently, PCRI honored two employees of the month. Fiscal Manager David Wilcox earned employee of the month honors for July, and Maintenance Technician Kwasi Armstrachan earned the honors for August.
David’s “great work ethics” and “approachable, respectful, professional” attitude earned him the recognition. “I appreciate when departments can cohesively work together to make sure PCRI finishes first, and David exemplifies this very well,” said his nominator.
Kwasi’s nominator also raved about his commitment and attitude. “Kwasi is an amazing employee. He is always willing to go the extra mile,” the nominator said, adding that he “exemplifies PCRI’s core values.”
And our hearts were warmed by a story of Kwasi’s commitment to making a better community:
One day at 7-Eleven, Kwasi saw a young boy take a pack of cookies. No one saw him except Kwasi. Kwasi placed his arm around the boy and asked if he’d ever been in trouble with the law. When the boy replied “no,” Kwasi said, “you don’t want to start now” and told him to put the cookies back.
Once the boy replaced the cookies, Kwasi gave him $5 to buy the food. “You don’t know what his home life was like,” Kwasi explained.
We extend our gratitude and appreciation to both David (upper photo) and Kwasi (lower photo) for their outstanding service in and out of the office.
Residents, Vendors, Contractors, Visitors, Staff, Partnering Agencies and others are encouraged to nominate a PCRI employee who they feel should be recognized for their efforts to make PCRI the best it can be (click here for a nomination form, which can be submitted via email). The success and growth of the organization depends on employees’ dedication to the betterment of the community we serve.
Through its Community Planning and Development Grant Program, Metro Council recently awarded 16 grants totaling over $4.7 million, including $250,000 for the N/NE Community Development Project, part of the PCRI-led Pathway 1000 Initiative. The grant for N/NE Community Development Project will aid in planning, identification of underdeveloped properties and other strategies to mitigate, prevent and reverse residential and small business displacement in North and Northeast Portland.
For the grant-funded project, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) will lead a partnership including the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Portland Housing Bureau, Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design and PSU Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Awards were announced at a Council meeting held at Harrison Park School in East Portland on September 24.
“Most importantly, and for the first time since this grant program was established, projects were selected using new criteria that addressed equity considerations,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase in his email newsletter. “To me, ensuring we grow in a way that enhances the quality of life for everyone is critically important.”
The N/NE Community Development project is intended to help reverse negative impacts of past policies and public investment. The project will produce strategic and implementation plans for how to develop at least 1,000 new, affordable homes and commercial space in close-in North and Northeast Portland during the next ten years. This ambitious goal was framed by the Pathway 1000 Initiative envisioned by PCRI. The project is intended to mitigate, prevent and reverse the residential and minority-owned small business displacement that has occurred in North and Northeast Portland during the last 10 years, the impacts of which have been borne most heavily by the African-American community, which is the focus of the initiative.
“This is great news!” said PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick. “It provides PCRI and the City of Portland with valuable resources to strategically plan for at least 1,000 new affordable homes, reversing decades of involuntary displacement in North and Northeast Portland and ensuring these new homes are thoughtfully integrated into existing neighborhoods.”
With intentional community involvement, the project aims to develop a deep understanding of the housing needs and preferences of previously-displaced North and Northeast Portland residents as well as those at risk of being displaced. The grant will also help define criteria by which potential development sites are evaluated and proposed for development. In turn, this understanding can influence public investment strategy as well as the types of developments undertaken by PCRI and other housing providers.
Similarly, the grant funding will help design commercial opportunities, contracting, small business and workforce-related strategies that engage the target population of African-American and other low income residents who have been historically and consistently underrepresented in economic opportunities such as the development proposed in the Pathway 1000 Initiative.
Metro established the Community Planning and Development Grant program in 2006 to help local communities do the hard work of thinking forward: planning for development, investment and collaboration that help create great places all over the region. The community planning and development grant program is one of the Metro Council’s best tools to help communities achieve their visions, reflecting the council’s belief in investing to support communities, create housing and jobs opportunities and improve people’s lives throughout the region. Funded by a regional construction excise tax, these grants are critical planning resources that help communities revitalize existing neighborhoods and plan for the development of new urban areas. For more information, visit oregonmetro.gov.
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.