May 12, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

Oregon Governor Kate Brown is set to sign a bill recently passed by the state legislature that will provide an important tool for low-income families to maintain housing stability as they increase their incomes and move toward self-sufficiency.

Photo via Denis Theriault/The Oregonian

House Bill 3082, sponsored by Representative Lew Frederick, was overwhelmingly approved by the Oregon State House of Representatives on April 2, 2015. Senator Chip Shields sponsored the bill in the Oregon State Senate, where it passed easily on May 12. The bill, which will now go to Governor Kate Brown to sign into law, eases the “benefits cliff” faced by families as their incomes grow beyond 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), the maximum threshold to qualify for affordable housing property tax exemptions (approximately $44,000 for a family of four).

Under Oregon’s existing laws, when a family earns even one dollar over the 60% AMI limit, they are at risk of losing their affordable rental housing. While PCRI works with residents to allow them to maintain their affordable housing as their income grows, HB 3082 would allow government to extend the threshold for exemptions to 80% AMI (about $58,000 for a family of four) for existing residents. New renters would still need to earn less than 60% AMI at move-in, but would also be able to benefit form the flexible threshold which allows for increases in income over time.

The bill was supported by Oregon Opportunity Network and local leaders, including Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury.

“Families who are working to improve their lives shouldn’t be penalized just as they begin to achieve better futures for their children,” Deborah Kafoury stated in recent letter as the bill was presented to the House of Representatives’ Human Services and Housing Committee. “I believe that HB 3082 balances our efforts to provide affordable housing to those most in need with our investments in families who are working to attain self-sufficiency.”

The so-called “benefits cliff” refers to the sharp drop-off in benefits low-income families face as their income reaches a pre-determined threshold, such as the 60% AMI limit. Easing the “cliff” provides organizations like PCRI additional tools to help residents achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty.

May 7, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI
PPS Class of 2025Through May 8, community members can participate in Portland Public Schools’ 2025 Survey. Through the survey, Portland Public Schools (PPS) hopes to gain community feedback about how best to accommodate the 5,000 new students anticipated to enroll in PPS in the next 10 years.

You can take the survey here or via paper copies in six languages available at all schools. Please share with friends, family and neighbors, even those without children in schools, so they may also share their views.

The results of the survey are vital to the District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee, a group of 26 community members tasked with shaping how PPS evaluates school boundaries. This survey will help ensure that every student can get a great education at schools in every neighborhood.

Additionally, PPS invites community members to provide more input  at a community workshop on school boundaries.  The workshop, hosted by the District-wide Boundary Review Advisory Committee, will be on May 16th from 9:30am – 1:00pm. Childcare and refreshments will be provided. Please register by emailing arodriguez@pps.net.

Financial Education Partnership Announced with Banner Bank

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April 15, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

April is National Financial Literacy Month. PCRI is excited to celebrate with a Financial Education Program in partnership with Banner Bank. Residents who complete the four-class program will earn $100 to open a new checking account or use in other ways. The program includes four 2-hour classes on Tuesday evenings, starting Tuesday, April 28, 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:

  • Love MoneyClass 1 (Tuesday, April 28, 6-8 p.m.): “Bank on It” and “Borrowing Basics” topics include basics of banking and borrowing.
  • Class 2 (Tuesday, May 5, 6-8 p.m.): “Check it Out” and “Money Matters” topics include backing vs. check cashing services, and budgeting.
  • Class 3 (Tuesday, May 12, 6-8 p.m.): “Pay Yourself First” and “Keep it Safe” topics include the importance of saving and protecting your identity
  • Class 4 (Tuesday, May 19, 6-8 p.m.): “To Your Credit” and “Charge it Right” topics include financial scams, identity theft, and maintaining good credit.

Participants who attend and complete all four classes will earn $100 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.

March 20, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

CM Flyer ENGLISHPCRI is excited to host cooking and nutrition classes at Park Terrace Community Center this spring. The classes, available to all PCRI residents, are in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank and their Cooking Matters™ program. Cooking Matters™ is a nationwide program of Share Our Strength which teaches participants to shop smarter, use nutrition information to make healthier choices, and cook delicious, affordable meals.

PCRI’s first class series will run once per week for six weeks from Wednesday, April 22 to Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Classes will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and participants will be provided a free bag of groceries each week. Lessons cover meal preparation, grocery shopping, food budgeting, and nutrition. These are hands-on classes where all participants will have the opportunity to practice fundamental food skills, including proper knife technique, reading ingredient labels, cutting up a whole chicken, and making a healthy meal for a family of four on a $10 budget.

Classes are open to all PCRI residents. For more information or to sign up, please contact Karissa by email or by telephone at (503) 282-1359.

 

March 19, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI believes wealth creation is a critical step along the path of stability and self-sufficiency. On Thursday, April 16, from 6:00 – 7:00pm, PCRI will host an asset building information session. PCRI  offers several programs to aid with financial wellness and building savings, all aimed at empowering residents’ success. This information session will be a valuable opportunity for residents to learn more and sign up for these programs.

Asset BuildingWe invite you to join PCRI to learn more about the following programs:

  • Financial Wellness offers support with budgeting, saving, debt reduction, and money management.
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDA) offers a matched savings account for assets like higher education, home purchase, or small business. IDA participants currently receive $3.00 for every $1.00 saved.
  • Homeownership offers education and individualized supportive counseling for those preparing to buy their first home.
  • Career Development

The asset building information session will be held at the PCRI’s Main Office at 6329 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

RSVP’s are requested. Please call Liz at (503) 288-2923 x122 or RSVP via email to confirm your attendance.

March 12, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI’s Fourth Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala was the most successful gala yet! Not only did the dancers deliver an amazing show, the event’s sponsors, volunteers and guests raised over $85,000 to support the affordable housing and services PCRI residents depend on to achieve stability and self-sufficiency. Click on any of the photos to view Cameron Browne’s gala photos, or find additional links at the bottom of the page.

Following a packed reception, Judge Adrienne Nelson and her husband Ted Poole were guilty of a stunning performance as they opened the event with their crowd-pleasing dance. And Mistress of Ceremonies Margaret Carter delivered a seamless program for the evening with even more energy and glamour than she brought as MC for PCRI’s premiere gala.

The headlining entertainment of the evening, the Dancing with the Stars-style competition, also had more energy—especially judging by the volume of cheering from the audience! 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 Judges Jesse Beason, Karin Edwards and Nancy Hales had a tough decision, they unanimously named Pamela Weatherspoon this year’s winner.

But the evening wasn’t just about a dance competition. Margaret Carter 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.

And, most notably, resident Jean Paul and his family described how, with the benefit of affordable housing and their own dedication, families can grow roots, dream big, and achieve amazing goals.

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.  Be sure to look through all the pictures from photographers Antonio Harris and Cameron Browne, as well as those on the Gala Website and PCRI’s Facebook page!  If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join our mailing list to get news and invitations for next year’s gala.

March 12, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

PCRI is excited to endorse a new coalition dedicated to ensuring ongoing resources for housing and homeless services in our community – the Welcome Home Coalition.wh-logo

Welcome Home is building a region-wide coalition to lead a grassroots movement in support of affordable housing opportunities, and PCRI is proud to be a part of the coalition.  Welcome Home—and PCRI—believe in a community that invests in safe, stable, and affordable homes for everyone.

Here’s how you can support and stay engaged with the critical work of Welcome Home:

​PCRI will also share key milestones and updates in our mailing list and on PCRI’s Twitter and Facebook pages. If you’re not already signed up, be sure to follow PCRI too!

March 1, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · Featured, PCRI

KSwiftPCRI is proud to announce the newest member of our Board of Directors, Kathy Swift.

As Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer for Pacific Continental Bank, Kathy brings her deep background in financial analysis and expertise in loan portfolio management to the bank’s client service team. With over 25 years of banking experience, she helps her clients find the right solution to meet their credit needs. Kathy’s banking background includes positions with US Bank, First Interstate Bank and Chicago’s Continental Bank. She honed her business management skills on the client-side as area business manager for Mentor Graphics’ Americas Region. She holds an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School, and a BA in Political Science-International Relations from Carleton College.

In addition to her service on PCRI’s Board, Kathy is active in the Portland community, currently serving as trustee of the Parish Trust Fund of the Archdiocese of Portland, as a Finance Committee member of Catholic Charities, and on fund raising committees for Impact NW. She has been a route coordinator and driver for Meals on Wheels. She has participated for a decade with the Oregon Business Association and currently chairs the Education Committee and is a member of the Business Development Committee. She also teaches classes to bankers on structuring loans, evaluating risk, and working through problem loans.

Fair Housing Council Offers Workshop at PCRI Center

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February 23, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

The Fair Housing Council of Oregon will present a Know Your Rights Workshop at PCRI’s Margaret Carter Neighborhood Network Center on Thursday, February 26, 2015 from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Know your rightsworkshop FHC 2-26-15The Know Your Rights workshop provides essential information for tenants, including best practices for protecting your rights and communicating with your landlord. The workshop will also share information about rights of immigrants and families with children and ways to protect against harassment in housing.

RSVP’s are requested. Amharic translation will be provided at the workshop. Additional translation and/or translated materials may be available with advance notice.

The Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) is a nonprofit civil rights organization driven to eliminate illegal housing discrimination through enforcement and education across Oregon. FHCO promotes equal access to housing by providing education, outreach, technical assistance, and enforcement opportunities specifically related to federal, state, and local fair housing laws. These laws protect against illegal housing discrimination based on “protected class status” in any housing transaction and, in fact, any housing situation.

For questions about the workshop or to confirm attendance, contact John at Margaret Carter Center by email or by phone at 503-281-1778.

Youth Cooking Club Begins at Park Terrace Center

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February 20, 2015 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

PCRI invites all Park Terrace and PCRI youth to join us as we explore new foods and learn new skills in the kitchen! The first meeting of PCRI’s Youth Cooking Club will be on Monday, February 23rd from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm.

Maya Cooking ClubThe cooking club is open to all PCRI youth. And activities at this first meeting, will include decorating aprons, discussing safety in the kitchen, and learning to read a recipe card. We will also be making a delicious snack!

Youth must sign up to join and participate. If your child is interested in participating, please sign up by emailing Karissa, coming by Park Terrace Community Center, or calling the center at 503-282-1359. All youth who participate will receive their own apron to keep!

Interested in lending a hand? Contact Karissa to express your interest in volunteering with the Cooking Club!

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