January 23, 2017 · Featured, Pathway 1000, 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.

November 27, 2016 · PCRI

Credit Building Class flyer_11.1.16UPDATE 12/14: Seminar has been rescheduled due to winter weather conditions. This seminar will now be held on Tuesday, December 20.

Are you looking for the best deals on a car? Cell phone? House? Loan? Join PCRI’s financial education program December 14 for a credit building class that covers a renter’s credit building tool, the ABCs of credit and includes insider tips on how to build credit, even rebuilding badly damaged credit. Understanding your credit is an important step to ensure you get the best bang for your buck.

When:  Tuesday, December 20, 2016 – 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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

Due to limited seating please RSVP to Suzanne Veaudry Casaus at (503) 288-2923 ext. 122 or by email. Click the photo at right for a downloadable flyer.

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.

PCRI is proud to be selected by Meyer Memorial Trust for a 2016 Housing Opportunities portfolio grant award. The grant, announced in November 2016, will help offset costs for PCRI to develop a large community center in the new building at the Grant Warehouse site (more recently named The Beatrice Morrow) which will serve residents as well as the larger community. Grant funds will also ensure the affordability of family-sized apartments in this new building, meeting Meyer’s goal of increasing the number of available affordable housing units.

Conceptual Rendering of The Beatrice Morrow (c) Carleton Hart Architecture

Conceptual Rendering of The Beatrice Morrow (c) Carleton Hart Architecture

In a post on Meyer’s website, Housing Opportunities portfolio director Theresa Deibele noted that equity and cultural competency were especially important for selected grantees, including PCRI and other organizations who predominantly serve communities of color. She added that selected grantees such as PCRI aligned well with Meyer’s equity mission, including work to reduce the disparities faced by marginalized people, support for vulnerable populations and commitments for contracting and employment opportunity.

“Equity also showed up in how projects are carried out,” Deibele wrote. “All capital projects reflected a commitment to use minority-owned, women-owned and emerging small business contractors.”

PCRI has made significant commitments to contracting equity in the development of The Beatrice Morrow and other projects. This development will also be part of PCRI’s Pathway 1000 initiative, which has a significant component dedicated to contracting and employment. An implementation plan for this portion of the Pathway 1000 initiative is currently underway.

PCRI was among six organizations who were awarded grants for new housing development. All of the developments awarded will serve very vulnerable and high priority populations. A total of 282 new units are expected to be added to the state’s housing stock in part because of these awards, according to Meyer’s website.

Diebele noted the value in Meyer’s philanthropy to help ensure the viability of affordable housing which also leverages public and private funds.

“Many projects directly leverage large public investments, which often come from restricted funding sources (e.g., tax increment financing that must be spent on capital in a certain neighborhood region),” she wrote, “and philanthropy can play a role in helping to fund the staffing and support services needed to deploy such funds.”

PCRI is honored to have Meyer Memorial Trust’s support to develop The Beatrice Morrow and is looking forward to beginning construction. As of November 2016, the development was pending building permit approval and finalization of financing terms. Construction is expected to begin in winter 2016-17.


November 18, 2016 · Featured, PCRI

Spending and credit habits can be easily tested during the holiday season: from temptation to overspend on those perfect gifts to discounts offered to open a store credit card. So it seemed to be a good time to revisit some tips shared at PCRI’s October financial education seminar.

how-credit-cards-workMyth: To get a high score, run up high balances on your credit cards.

Reality: Using  lot of credit is usually NOT good for your credit risk score. Roughly 30% of a FICO score is determined by a person’s reported debt, with particular emphasis on utilization of revolving credit such as credit cards (utilization = balance divided by credit limit). A rule of thumb is that people with high credit stores typically keep their utilization under 25% on credit cards.

Myth: Paying your credit card bill down to zero every month will boost your score.

Reality: Paying off your credit card is a great habit! You’ll avoid spending money on interest and likely keep your credit usage in the “good” zone. But … this great habit doesn’t necessarily translate into a higher credit score because scoring agencies generally see the balance as of a particular date, not how much is paid each month.

Myth: To raise your score quickly, open a new credit card or take out a loan.

Reality: The FICO score considers a wide variety of information about each reported account. A propensity to open new accounts and a short history on new accounts will likely hurt one’s credit more than help it. But if you take on new credit only as needed and use it responsibly, negative impacts of the new account will generally be offset within a few months.

lead_960Myth: To raise your score quickly, close any unused credit cards.

Reality: While it might seem like closing a credit card would help one’s credit score, that’s rarely the case. Having unused or available credit is more often viewed as a sign of lower risk for creditors. And although closing a credit card might be a worthwhile tactic so you don’t have the temptation to spend money you don’t yet have, it likely won’t boost your score (and might actually hurt it).

But you want to improve your credit score. What do you do? Here are the top suggestions from American Reporting Company:

  • Bring active past-due accounts current—and keep them current
  • Keep credit balances as low as possible, especially on credit cards
  • Request correction letters for any reporting errors
  • Limit new applications for credit cards or store accounts, but leave existing accounts open

So what are the factors that determine a FICO credit score?

  • 35% is based on your payment history for all accounts
  • 30% is based on the amount you owe on accounts
  • 15% is based on how long you have been using credit
  • 10% is based on your applications for new credit
  • 10% is based on types of credit used

Of course, these are just tips and recommendations. Your credit score considers deeper and more complex factors that just these few bullet points. Luckily, we can help. Join one of our upcoming financial education seminars or call us at (503) 288-2923 to make an appointment to meet with us one-on-one.

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