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PCRI believes that low-income families should not be forced to choose between keeping their homes warm and putting healthy food on their table. To help low-income families stay warm and have money left for other essentials, a partnership of Portland businesses will soon begin a pilot weatherization program at ten of PCRI’s single-family homes in North and Northeast Portland.
The pilot, a collaboration between Portland non-profits PCRI and Verde, will be funded by NW Natural. It provides energy-saving weatherization improvements like air sealing and insulation to low-income households without challenges like waiting lists and up-front costs that accompany many existing weatherization programs.
“This pilot is a great opportunity to more efficiently provide utility cost savings to families who need it most,” said Travis Phillips, Housing Development Manager at PCRI. “We’re eager to see and expand on the pilot’s success so these and other families can spend their hard-earned salaries on school books and healthy food instead of keeping their home warm
PCRI and Verde are also using the pilot to provide economic opportunity to low-income families and communities of color. The two non-profits engaged Home Energy Life Performance Group (H.E.L.P.), a minority- and woman-owned business who has already weatherized and reduced energy consumption for over 800 Oregon homes, to perform the weatherization improvements. The project is expected to create 340 work hours in its pilot phase, with additional opportunity in future phases.
“Along with helping Oregon families to live in warmer, healthier homes, partnerships like this mean we can grow skilled-labor jobs, while generating additional opportunities for multiple local business providers,” said Berenice Lopez, President of Home Energy Life Performance Group.
Beyond measures like air sealing and insulation, the pilot includes an education program, funded by a grant from The Concordia Foundation, helping residents understand the work being performed and how household habits affect their energy bills, comfort and healthy indoor environments.
“NW Natural is excited to fund and partner on this innovative program,” said Bill Edmonds, NW Natural director of environmental management and sustainability. “Even though gas prices are as low as they were in 2004, that doesn’t make drafts any warmer. We think it’s important to reach as many households as possible with education and services about energy efficiency.”
The pilot phase of the project is expected to be complete in early 2014. Following a successful pilot, PCRI and Verde aim to replicate the program elsewhere in PCRI’s affordable housing portfolio, for seniors in PCRI’s Homeownership Retention program, and with other organizations serving low-income Oregon residents.
Want to learn more? Contact Travis Phillips at PCRI and read about our partners below:
ABOUT VERDE: Verde serves communities by building environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach and advocacy. Verde establishes social enterprises to employ and train low-income adult community members, create contracting opportunities for minority-owned and women-owned businesses, and bring environmental assets to low-income neighborhoods. www.verdenw.org
ABOUT H.E.L.P.: Born out of a desire to build an organization that combined green job values with assistance to homeowners, Home Energy Life Performance Group, Inc. (H.E.L.P.) has been a driving force in Oregon’s home performance industry and is committed to helping make warmer and healthier homes accessible to all Oregonians. The company’s trained and certified staff perform all aspects of weatherization using building science practices. www.helppdx.com
ABOUT NW Natural: NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and provides natural gas service to about 689,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest. Additional information is available at www.nwnatural.com.
Saturday, December 21,2013, Portland’s Black Parent Initiative (BPI) will hosting their annual Black Parent Initiative Holiday Parent Fair from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The event will showcase parent education workshops and will feature gifts, music, food and fun.
“It’s a great opportunity for parents who’ve been unable to join us to enjoy more of our weekly scheduled classes and get resources from our community partners,” says Charles McGee, President and CEO of the Black Parent Initiative.
Childcare will be provided for children ages 3-12.
The Black Parent Initiative Holiday Parent Fair
December 21, 2013 | 11am-2:00pm
For more information, visit The Black Parent Initiative website at www.thebpi.org. Workshops at the fair include:
Literacy Traditions in the Black Community:
“Literacy Advice for Adults Raising Black Children.”
This informative workshop focuses on the reading traditions in the Black Community. This workshop will also highlight the importance of African-American presence in our reading selections. Using Imagery of African Americans to not only inspire but to motivate Black children to read and become culturally responsive to literature.
Balancing Home, Life, Balance:
This workshop will highlight tools and strategies needed to help better balance our hectic lives. The discussion will give strategies as to highlight how to best navigate when facing the challenges of having a demanding job, kids and families. The facilitator will provide tangible tools that can be implemented for organizing and maintaining a healthy life, without having to do it all!
PCRI and our Minority Homeowner Assistance Collaborative (MHAC) partners present a home repair resource forum on Thursday, March 15, 2012 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Please join us to learn about free resources in the community to help seniors with minor and major home repairs. Featured guests include Rebuilding Together, Community Energy Project, REACH CDC, Portland Housing Bureau, Home Depot, and CASA of Oregon.
The forum will also be an opportunity to learn more about MHAC and our efforts to help seniors prevent foreclosure and maintain homeownership.
For more information, call Andrea (503) 288-2923, extension 133.
Last weekend, PCRI and Cascadia Green Building Council’s Emerging Professionals organized a hands-on volunteer home improvement project in one of PCRI’s affordable rental homes. The volunteers teamed up with Green Hammer Construction in mid-February to observe and participate in Green Hammer’s Home Performance assessment process, conducting weatherization testing, inspecting insulation and verifying safe operation of combustion appliances, like the furnace.
Armed with information gained from the testing, the crowd of nearly two dozen volunteers (pictured at right), led by PCRI, Emerging Professionals and Andrew Morphis of Green Hammer Construction, tackled projects to make the home healthier, more comfortable and more efficient. Existing carpet was removed to expose wood floors that were ready for refinishing. Old kitchen cabinets were deconstructed to make way for new, more usable ones. Windows that were previously painted shut were once again made operable for fresh-air ventilation. Insulation was improved and volunteers slathered mastic on the heating ducts to ensure they operated as efficiently as possible. All of the materials that volunteers removed were carefully sorted to enable recycling and keep as much as possible out of the landfill.
PCRI’s Executive Director, Maxine Fitzpatrick greeted the volunteers before they started on the project. She thanked them for their service, adding that their volunteer efforts are priceless in supporting PCRI’s ability to provide below-market rate rental homes to residents who rely on these opportunities to stabilize their lives and return to self-sufficiency.
In addition to the home improvement benefits realized by PCRI, volunteers utilized the day as an opportunity to learn more about efficiency, home performance testing and existing buildings.
“I think there were a lot of learning opportunities for energy efficiency projects as well as the real world variability of existing buildings and the challenges that they inherently represent,” said Emerging Professionals volunteer Jackie Kingen.
To reward the volunteers’ hard work, Parr Lumber rolled up to the work site with their BBQ trailer and grilled up a meal of burgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers (plus some chips and cookies for good measure!) to refuel the volunteers on the day of the event.
Click on any of the pictures below to view the full size image.
PCRI’s is a Community Partner with Cascadia Green Building Council and the International Living Future Institute for their upcoming Living Future 2012 Conference. The conference, scheduled in May, will be the Northwest’s premier Green Building conference and expo. More information about the conference can be found at the Cascadia GBC’s website.
For low-income Oregonians, identifying tax deductions and completing tax forms is as important as it can be confusing. Many families and individuals unknowingly overlook valuable tax credits they are eligible for. To help, PCRI is hosting CASH Oregon’s free tax preparation services at our Margaret Carter Neighborhood Network Center. PCRI residents and other community members can register for an appointment by calling Lisa at (503) 281-1778. Additional information is available at CASH Oregon’s website or in the flyer pictured below.
The assistance, provided by AARP Tax Aides in conjunction with CASH Oregon, will help identify eligibility for a variety of tax credits, including Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Oregon Earned Income Credits and Oregon Working Family Child Care Credit. In addition, Oregon IDA participants may be able to deduct 2011 interest and contributions on their state taxes. Once the participant and the tax aide have identified eligible credits and deductions, the tax aide will be able to e-file the participant’s 2011 tax return.
Interested participants should bring to their appointment a picture ID, their social security number and/or ITN as well as documentation of income (W-2s, 1099s, etc.), records of tax-deductible expenses such as child or dependent care, property taxes and mortgage interest. For direct deposit of any refunds, participants should also bring banking information, including their account number.
CASH Oregon, like PCRI, is committed to improving the financial health of low income working families, individuals, and seniors. Their Earned Income Tax Credit outreach and free tax preparation programs—coupled with financial fitness programs like those provided by PCRI and other organizations—provide families and individuals with the tools and resources to begin building solid financial futures.
This tax preparation assistance is free to the community and is a valuable way PCRI residents and other community members can stretch a limited income. Appointments are required. Please call Lisa at (503) 281-1778 to schedule yours.
Having a bike is special for 6-year-old Ameia Vaughn. “I feel great when I ride,” she said.
Ameia was one of many PCRI youth who received a bicycle with help from Resident Services Coordinator Lisa Williams. PCRI residents with children ages 3-8 were personally contacted by Williams who then helped residents register for Community Cycling Center’s 16th Annual Holiday Bike Drive, held on December 11.
“You went out of your way to make this holiday season special for us,” said Courtney Roser, whose two children Veda and Cadence grinned as they took their bikes for a spin around the bike rodeo safety course.
Before riding around the bike rodeo, the youth got to pick their new ride from a dizzying selection of bikes. Cadence (pictured below) was a bit shy in front of the camera, but was excited about her choice of bicycles: “It’s pretty and fun,” she said.
This year, the Bike Drive provided over 465 bicycles, helmets and safety trainings to youth from partner agencies like PCRI. In addition to pre-registering the youth for their bicycles, Williams and PCRI staff member Travis Phillips joined the families at the event to ensure everything went smoothly.
Judging by the giant smiles on the kids’ faces, everything went very smoothly.
“I like to ride,” said Dominic Weatheroy matter-of-factly before pedaling around the safety course.
His sister Iserael (pictured above) was just as excited to ride, but had some other priorities too. “It’s pretty with lots of colors and flowers,” she said, posing proudly next to her pink, purple and blue bike.
To express our gratitude for organizing the event and providing the bikes, helmets and training, Williams and the new cyclists signed a giant thank you card. Williams delivered the card to the center a few days after the event and reflected on the difference made by her effort.
PCRI also extends thanks to volunteer Izzy Ventura for capturing great photos of the kids during the Bike Drive. Check out additional photos in the full gallery.