February 7, 2017 · Featured, PCRI

Takara 02PCRI awarded two new laptop computers to school-age youth living in PCRI housing at the beginning of February 2017. The two laptops were gifted to PCRI by Comcast at a late-2016 event providing information about Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. After receiving the computers, PCRI invited youth to submit letters describing how they would benefit from having a new computer. While PCRI received many deserving submissions, two winners stood out:

If it wasn’t already evident in Takara’s letter that she loves to read and write, it quickly became obvious when she came into PCRI’s office to pick up her new laptop. Her face lit up when she described what she would be able to learn and write on her new computer.

Takara 09Similarly, her mother Tiffany beamed as Takara talked about the focus areas of the IB program and how she had earned bracelets for each of the program areas, including thinking critically, taking risks, caring, being open-minded and more. IB schools encourage students outside of the basic common core lessons “by developing inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who are motivated to succeed.”

Another youth picked up his new laptop from PCRI’s Maya Angelou Community Center.

“I have attended the Maya Angelou Community Center ever since it first opened,” wrote Joseph, age 14. “Since that time, I have usually used the center’s computers for homework, but now that I am in high school, by the time I get home the center is either closed or ten minutes to close. Never enough time.”

Joseph with New ComputerJoseph’s letter went on to describe how having a new computer would help him and both of his brothers with their studies and completing homework. Joseph was beyond happy when Resident Services Coordinator Adrena Christmas delivered the news that he had won the new laptop. His immediate response was that Ms. Adrena (as he calls her) was tricking him, but once he realized it wasn’t a joke, he thanked Adrena and PCRI over and over again for allowing him such a great opportunity.

“My teachers would usually assign work that needs to be on Google classroom, I cannot do it without a computer or internet capable device,” Joseph said. “My mother has tried hard to get one, but she never could afford to buy one. This computer will help me so much. My papers will be turned in on time, it will also give me something to do over the weekends.”

Since receiving his new laptop, Adrena remarked that Joseph has been in to the community center every day to work on it and she has noticed him become much more in tune with completing his homework.

“I will work as hard as I can to keep my grades up by using the device,” he wrote in his letter. “I will graduate by keeping my grades up by using the laptop that I am hoping to win.”

All of the staff members who read Takara’s and Joseph’s letters congratulate them on their new computers. PCRI staff look forward to reading more of Takara’s writing and seeing Joseph graduate in a few years from Grant High School.

About the Comcast Internet Essentials Program
Working side-by-side with schools, government, and non-profit partners, Comcast has connected more than 750,000 families—over 3 million low-income Americans—to the power of the Internet in their homes. This program has grown to be Comcast’s largest and most successful community investment initiative. Since 2011, Comcast has built a network of over 2,000 volunteers and over 9,000 non-profit and educator partners to help spread the word about Internet Essentials. All told, Comcast has provided more than $300 million of support for digital literacy training, benefiting over 4.4 million people.

February 7, 2017 · Pathway 1000, PCRI

Portland’s Metropolitan Contractor Improvement Partnership (MCIP) is hosting their fourth annual subcontractor trade show on Thursday, February 16 from 12 noon – 4 p.m. at the Oregon Convention Center. The trade show allows MBE/DBE contractors the opportunity to have one-on-one face time with owners, primes, and agencies. Contractors will have the unique experience to individually market their businesses and build relationships to secure new work. Previous trade show participants made immediate connections with owners, primes and agencies for contracts.

MCIP Trade Show FlyerLast year the trade show had over 150 attendees representing General Contractors including: Howard S Wright, LMC, Hoffman, Fortis, Anderson Construction and Hamilton. This year, MCIP anticipates even more will participate as attendees look to meet and become more familiar with MWESB contractors in a variety of scopes.

The focus of this event is to introduce and showcase DMWESB firms to a network of industry leaders and decision makers. MCIP’s mission is to connect sub-contractors to opportunities and new industry relationships. In doing so, MCIP places subcontractors behind the booths to showcase their business, skills and capacity, then invites primes, agencies and other industry professionals to come check out the diverse trades, businesses and services that Oregon DMWESB firms have to offer.

MCIP is partnering with PCRI to create economic opportunity through contracting needed to develop the homes which are part of PCRI’s Pathway 1000 initiative. MCIP is recognized as a valuable organization that supports MBE/DBEs and helps to build their business capacity. MCIP provides general services and workshops to approximately 40 businesses each year as well as intensive one-on-one mentoring services. MCIP has helped public agencies and primes achieve their diversity goals and focused on MBE/DBE businesses which have the greatest disparity in contracting.

Questions about the trade show or MCIP’s services? Contact Chris Cross by email or at 503.288.1211.

January 24, 2017 · Featured, Pathway 1000, PCRI

Providing homeownership opportunities and housing counseling assistance to low-income families ensures long-term affordability, stabilizes residents and their neighborhoods and helps families build equity and break the cycle of poverty.

Pathway 1000_Page_2In conjunction with the Pathway 1000 Initiative, PCRI is adding additional focus in current and future housing development efforts to increase opportunities for homeownership. PCRI’s goal is to address active and ongoing involuntary displacement of African Americans and other low income residents from the neighborhoods we serve.

A bit of history: during the period from the mid-1990’s to 2010 10,000 residents—primarily African Americans—were forced to relocate out of North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods.  Essentially, 3 people every day for 10 years were forced to find another place to live.

To accomplish our  goal of addressing this involuntary displacement, PCRI established a displacement mitigation initiative, Pathway 1000, with the sole purpose and intent of slowing and reversing the involuntary displacement of long term residents previously forced to move from N/NE Portland, and current residents at risk of displacement.  Through the Pathway 1000 initiative, PCRI aims to build and create at least 1,000 homes, many of which will be available to purchase.  The homes will be located throughout the city of Portland, with the primary focus on the N/NE Portland neighborhoods where displaced families previously resided.

Pathway 1000_Page_1The 1,000 homes will be constructed at a level of 100 homes per year over the next ten years. PCRI is targeting involuntarily displaced residents who were forced to relocated due to escalating housing costs, or because their rental home was sold to a homeowner. PCRI encourages interested community members to participate and learn more via PCRI’s website and social media channels, where a forthcoming questionnaire will be posted to determine eligibility and housing needs.

PCRI will also conduct a series of exploratory sessions with displaced residents and residents on the verge of displacement. These sessions will further determine the need as well as interest in taking advantage of the Pathway 1000 initiative and share more information about the opportunities to move back into historic, African-American populated NE Portland neighborhoods.

We cannot undo the harms done, but rather must focus on restoring housing justice for those who were harmed.  PCRI’s goal is to support and encourage displaced African-Americans to focus on the future.  Homeownership is the stabilizing solution to displacement.  Investing in opportunities and assistance for low-income families ensures long-term affordability and stabilizes residents in their neighborhood.

Community development corporations like PCRI can support displaced residents by building community awareness of solutions through advocacy and civic engagement to create anti-displacement policy.  Residents and community leaders have influence over planning and development in their neighborhood. Gentrification and displacement issues must be discussed and addressed on a regular basis.  Residents must remind government leaders and city planners of displacement, and the reality of unintended consequences of strategic growth.  Residents who are concerned and who have been impacted must get involved in their neighborhood and they must expect and encourage equitable development.

More: PCRI’s Pathway 1000 Initiative is featured in the Portland Observer, June 2, 2015.

January 23, 2017 · Featured, Pathway 1000, PCRI
PCRI

Cheryle Clunes, 2017 PMAR Vice President Member Services (left) and 2017 PMAR President Kerri Hartnett (right) presented the grant to PCRI’s Travis Phillips and Linda Tellis Kennedy at a January 20 event.

On January 20, The Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors (PMAR) presented an Oregon Home Foundation grant for PCRI’s homeownership education program. The grant will help support increased attendance in PCRI program as well as development of ongoing post-purchase support programs.

“Homeownership is the most effective way for most families to achieve and retain stability within their community,” said Andrea Debnam, PCRI’s Manager of Resident Services. “This grant will help PCRI clients realize their dreams and build assets through homeownership, breaking cycles of poverty.”

PCRI, whose vision is to help low-income families achieve stability and build wealth, shares the Oregon Association of Realtors HOME Foundation’s belief in the incredible value of homeownership to break generational cycles of poverty. PCRI also understands that education and support prior to purchase are key to the long-term success of first-time buyers, especially for PCRI’s target population of African Americans who have been disproportionately excluded from homeownership.

Since 2004, PCRI has successfully provided culturally-specific homeownership education, counseling services, and financial assistance to low- and moderate-income residents living in PCRI housing and in the larger community. Interest in PCRI’s homeownership program has nearly doubled in the last year and, with increased development of homes for purchase associated with the Pathway 1000 initiative, attendance is expected to continue to increase. The Oregon Home Foundation grant will help PCRI meet increased service needs as well as develop new programs.

The Homeownership Opportunities Website Northwest (HOW NW) sponsored by PMAR provides additional resources for buyers without charge or obligation. In addition to PCRI’s education services, buyers are encouraged to visit the HOW NW website to learn more about buying, owning and retaining a home.

January 17, 2017 · PCRI

The most important step towards financial freedom is tackling a budget. Map out your goals, save money, keep track of your progress and make your dreams a reality. Join PCRI on Wednesday, January 25 to learn how to budget, find the motivation to save, and take home great tips on how to save money.Budgeting made easy flier_1.13.17

Date:  Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Time:  6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

Where: PCRI Annex, 6601 NE Martin Luther King Blvd.

RSVP by 1/23: Via email to Linda or Suzanne or by calling (503) 288-2923

Interested in more information about PCRI’s financial education or homeownership programs? Learn more HERE. Additional classes will be offered each month; please check back for more information.

For more information contact Homeownership Program Specialist Linda Tellis-Kennedy or Financial Education/IDA specialist Suzanne Veaudry Casaus. Click on their names to contact them by email or contact them by phone at (503) 288-2923. Click the photo (above, right) for a downloadable flyer.

January 3, 2017 · PCRI

Save the Date! PCRI’s 6th Annual Dancing with the Stars Portland Gala will be held Saturday, March 25, 2017 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.

Dancing with Stars Save the Date

Sign up for PCRI’s mailing list to be the first to learn about the dancers who will compete in the 2017 gala, exciting auction packages and more. We expect the event to once again sell out.

January 3, 2017 · Featured, PCRI
Sabin Fire PFB

Photo credit: Portland Fire Bureau

In November 2016, four families were displaced from their homes after a fire destroyed four of six townhomes at NE 27th Avenue and Killingsworth in Portland. Upon learning of the news, PCRI reached out to affordable housing provider Sabin CDC, who owns the property that was impacted by the fire, offering to assist in finding homes for the displaced families. Happily, two of the families recently moved into nearby PCRI rental homes with help from community partner Self Enhancement, Inc., ensuring the families remain in affordable homes and are able to stay in a familiar neighborhood.

Fortunately, all four families escaped the fire safely and found temporary shelter with the Red Cross while seeking permanent homes. The families not moving into PCRI homes have already found new housing or are working with partners to move into other homes. Sabin CDC is in the process of rebuilding the fire-damaged units so they can be once again made available as permanent housing for low-income families.

IMG_6959In addition to the new residents who were previously displaced due to fire, PCRI welcomed 38 new residents into its homes during the year, ensuring each family had safe, stable and affordable homes. And we’re proud to have opened the doors on 6 new rental homes (including the one pictured at right) in Northeast Portland. Stay tuned for additional news: more new homes are on the way in 2017 for renters and first-time home buyers.

December 21, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

SAM_2820PCRI staff coordinated with Toys for Tots to provide toys to help brighten the holidays once again for resident children. This year, Santa joined kids of all ages, celebrating with toys, photos and fun on Tuesday, December 20.

Toys were distributed at PCRI’s Park Terrace Community Center on a first-come, first-served basis to any residents with children age 12 and under. Parents and kids showed off big smiles with Santa and his “sleigh” full of toys. PCRI staff joined in the fun too! Santa exchanged a big thank you hug with Victoria Davis, PCRI’s Resident Services Coordinator at Park Terrace Community Center (pictured, right).

PCRI Resident Services staff work one-on-one with resident families to help them find resources like Toys for Tots or The Skanner/Portland Prime’s Thanksgiving turkey giveaway. Need a hand or know someone that does? Or maybe you’re interested in volunteering to help other families? Email us for information on getting involved or about upcoming programs.

December 19, 2016 · PCRI

Project Independence Program - Winter2017_Updated 12_14_16_Page_1The Women’s Resource Center at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus has a limited number of scholarships available through its Project Independence program. This program is designed for single parents and returning women students.  Classes focus on how to be successful in college, exploring careers, and planning an educational path. Students in the program take 7 college credits together in a supportive learning community.

“We’ve had great success with the program getting women back in school and on a career path,” said Dr. Karin Edwards, Cascade Campus President and PCRI board member.

Class space and scholarships are still available, but time is running out to enroll in winter classes, which start January 9.

Please join an information session Wednesday, December 21 from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Portland Community College, Cascade Campus, Student Union 301

If you cannot make it to the Information Session, PLEASE call 971-722-5249 to schedule a personal appointment.

Project Independence provides a safe and supportive environment for students as they begin or return to college, and can help participants navigate the college system and overcome anxiety about the program. Many program participants are single parents, are divorced, widowed or separated, or are survivors of domestic violence. All participants benefit from support services designed to ensure success:

  • Guided career exploration to pick out your career and educational path
  • A safe and comfortable place to learn how to do college
  • Scholarship for the first term (7 credits of program classes, up to $800.)
  • Limited childcare scholarship
  • Help with transportation costs
  • On-going personal & academic support during and after the term

The Winter 2017 classes begin January 9 and end March 17, 2017. Click on the image above for more information and to download a full flyer.

December 14, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

While many children celebrated rare Portland snow days recently, 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.

Portland snowPortland’s winter 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 “affordable” neighborhoods are 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 more options for 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 is an inconvenience, not a crisis.

Click the links to learn more about PCRI’s recently completed developments, new homes under development as well as initiatives to ensure existing homeowners are able to retain their homes.

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