July 13, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

budget workshop 2Buying a home is the biggest purchase most of us will ever make. Properly budgeting for this important purchase is critical! On Wednesday, July 27, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives will host a budgeting workshop with tips, tricks and useful information for everyone–and especially anyone who would like to buy a home.

This Homebuyer Education class is designed to help residents who need help creating their first budget as well as those who already have a budget but need a boost to reach higher goals, including homeownership.

Interested in more information about PCRI’s homeownership programs? Learn more HERE. Additional classes will be offered each month and new public resources will soon be available; please check back for more information.

For more information contact Homeownership Program Coordinator Ted Salter at (503) 288-2923 ext. 130 or ted@pcrihome.org. Click the photo at right for a downloadable flyer.

July 5, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

PCRI has recently created and opened several positions and we’re looking for candidates who will excel with our organization. More information, including downloadable job descriptions will full details of each opportunity, is available on our Job Opportunities page.

DSC_0470Job opportunities at PCRI include a generous benefits package that typically includes paid vacation, sick leave, paid holidays and employer-paid health coverage. Details of benefits for each position are included in each position’s job description. PCRI also offers a 403(b) retirement savings plan, access to PCRI’s asset building and other programs, as well as other benefits.

PCRI is a fast-paced, highly engaged work environment. We strive to communicate effectively and respectfully within the context of varying beliefs, behaviors, orientations, identities and cultural backgrounds. We actively seek opportunities for professional development for our staff and promote a willingness to change for continual improvement.

 

June 30, 2016 · Featured, Pathway 1000, PCRI
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Urban League Director Nkenge Harmon-Johnson (left) joined PCRI’s Travis Phillips and Maxine Fitzpatrick at the open house

Community members, neighbors, partners and others joined PCRI for an open house to see PCRI’s newest affordable rental homes and enjoy food from local businesses Tamale Boy, Portland Prime and Cupcake Jones. The June 14 event celebrated completion of construction of six three-bedroom, townhouse-style rental homes intended to help mitigate and prevent displacement in Northeast Portland’s rapidly changing neighborhoods.

Families on PCRI’s affordable housing waiting list who were displaced or are at risk of displacement from North and Northeast Portland will receive priority to rent the homes using a “Right to Return” policy developed by PCRI to mitigate involuntary displacement. The homes will be reserved for rent by families earning up to 50-60% of Area Median Income (income thresholds vary by unit) and will rent for $955 to $1,146 per month.

Portland Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager (with hat) congratulates PCRI on the complete homes

Portland Housing Bureau Director Kurt Creager (with hat) congratulates PCRI on the complete homes

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. Thanks to a grant from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, the existing home at the site which was not suitable for rehabilitation was deconstructed, helping to prevent valuable building material from becoming landfill. Financing for the development and construction was provided by Portland Housing Bureau and Pacific Continental Bank, with additional incentives and grant funding from Energy Trust of Oregon and NW Natural.

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June 17, 2016 · Awards, Featured, PCRI
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PCRI Director Maxine Fitzpatrick at PCRI’s Gala in May, 2016

The Urban League of Portland announced on that PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick would receive the League’s keynote honors at their Equal Opportunity Awards dinner on October 4, 2016 at the Oregon Convention Center.

The annual event celebrates and supports the work of Urban League of Portland and others empowering African Americans and other Oregonians to achieve equality in education, employment and economic security.

In the June 15 announcement, the Urban League stated, “Maxine is a passionate leader in our community, working to ensure that all Oregonians have access to affordable housing and opportunities for home ownership. As the Executive Director of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Maxine is a tireless advocate for families in our community and has been at the forefront in providing real solutions to Portland’s current housing crisis.”

PCRI’s staff and board are honored to see Maxine receive the Urban League’s honors and will attend the event to celebrate the Urban League’s work and Maxine’s award. More information about the Equal Opportunity Awards dinner can be found on the Urban League of Portland’s website.

May 25, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

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.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

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.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

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.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

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.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

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.

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

Copyright 2016 (Photo by Cameron Browne)

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.

May 24, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

IMG_6550PCRI 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.

May 23, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

HO Debt FlyerAre you getting calls from collection agencies and you don’t know what to do? Do you want to clean up your credit so that you can achieve your goal of homeownership? On May 26, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives will host a debt settlement workshop that will give you the answers you need.

This Homebuyer Education class is designed to help residents in any part of the credit spectrum with answers you need to reduce debt and improve credit. The hour-long class will help you get prepared to settle your debts before contacting your creditors (and hopefully before they contact you).

Interested in more information about PCRI’s homeownership programs? Learn more HERE. Additional classes will be offered each month and new public resources will soon be available; please check back for more information.

For more information contact Homeownership Program Coordinator Ted Salter at (503) 288-2923 ext. 130 or ted@pcrihome.org. Click the photo at right for a downloadable flyer.

May 16, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

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.

IMG_3370Qualen 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.

New Homeowner 003Qualen’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:

  • Get prepared. The importance of having a budget (that you actually follow!) and a regular savings practice cannot be overstated. They are the building blocks of successful and sustainable homeownership. Connect with a homeownership counselor (come see Ted, our Homeownership Program Coordinator here at PCRI!) to evaluate your readiness before meeting with the folks who are trying to sell you something.
  • Ask questions. It’s important to have a full and clear understanding of the home purchase process, so that you can know what to expect from each individual or institution with which you interact. The more questions you ask, the better. No amount of information is too much information when closing a loan.
  • Work with people you trust. Find a counselor, realtor, and lender that is available to you and who is transparent with information. You want to be sure that the professionals in your corner will advocate for you and prioritize your best interests.
  • Take your time. Now might not be the right time for you to buy a home — and that’s okay! Take the time you need to get your budget right, to build or repair your credit, and to accumulate some savings. Take the time you need to get yourself in the best possible position to buy — it will be worth the wait!

 

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.

May 10, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

Nicole Christmas joined PCRI’s staff this MayNicole Christmas 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!

May 2, 2016 · PCRI

The staff at PCRI are always looking for ways we can better serve residents and clients. We’d like your help to understand the ways we’re doing a good job and the ways you think we can improve. Next time you’re at our main office or community centers, please take a moment fill out our feedback survey.

The survey is available HERE to download and mail/email back to PCRI’s Resident Services Department. Printed copies are available at our main office and at our community centers.

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