Posts Tagged ‘About Us’

September 29, 2016 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

Yes4HomesIn August and September 2016, PCRI welcomed two new staff members to our Programs and Resident Services team. Both Linda Tellis-Kennedy (pictured, far left) and Suzanne Veaudry Casaus (second from left) bring deep connections to North and Northeast Portland as well as a diverse background of experience. In their new roles, Linda and Suzanne will help ensure that PCRI residents and other participants in PCRI programs have essential tools to achieve stability and begin building assets through matched-savings accounts and homeownership.

Linda Tellis-Kennedy, Homeownership Program Specialist

Linda Tellis-Kennedy is a native of Portland, Oregon. She was raised in Northeast Portland on Alberta from birth until 1999. Her parents and grandparents were survivors of the Vanport Flood and were relocated to North Portland then displaced again for the construction of the Memorial Coliseum. Linda went to King Elementary School and was bussed to Binnsmead Middle School and finished high school at Thomas Jefferson. She has rented, owned and purchased investment properties in North and Northeast Portland prior to the current gentrification epidemic.  In 2004, Linda moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she became a licensed Real Estate Agent. She invested in homes again. However, when the market crashed in 2006-07, she had to return to corporate employment. Linda moved back to Portland in 2011 and worked as a Case Manager for the Oregon Department of Human Services in a specialized Self Sufficiency Department.

Working with PCRI to purchase her home, Linda is grateful for the time and dedication she received from the staff that assisted her with training, classes and resources which helped her purchase a home in the Urban Renewal Area. Linda is very excited about her work as Homeownership Program Specialist at PCRI.

“I am looking forward to all of the things I will learn and experience here at PCRI,” she said.

Linda believes in the work and the vision of PCRI and says she feels like she is going to explode when thinking about all of the positive things that will be accomplished in North and Northeast Portland through the efforts and work that PCRI is spearheading.

Suzanne Veaudry Casaus, Financial Education/IDA Specialist

Suzanne Veaudry Casaus has lived in Northeast Portland for 15 years and has seen her neighborhood dramatically change and many of her beloved neighbors displaced. Since first working on gentrification nearly 20 years ago in Atlanta, she has been searching for innovative and successful programs addressing this very complex reality.

“PCRI’s commitment to providing affordable stable housing, education, access to financial assistance and a path to homeownership is exciting,” she said, adding, “for me, being at PCRI is like joining a family, a family with a passion for community, history and helping people.”

Suzanne will lead PCRI’s financial education and matched-savings Individual Development Account (IDA) programs. Professionally Suzanne has a varied background working at the Oregon Environmental Council, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office and as an economics instructor at Chapman University. She has spent her career working as an advocate, organizer and educator striving to improve people’s lives in very practical ways.

“Working at PCRI is a dream come true.” said Suzanne.

 

May 10, 2016 · by pcriadmin · 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!

June 16, 2011 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

On Thursday morning, June 16, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI) welcomed community members and project partners to celebrate the completed rehabilitation of 12 units of affordable housing at four sites in North Portland.  The Grand Re-Opening celebration showcased PCRI and General Contractor Colas Construction’s most dramatic transformation—a grand 1909 four-bedroom, two-bath single-family home—and highlighted the project’s success in increasing PCRI’s diverse affordable housing options, creating construction jobs and providing unique opportunities for community partnerships.

The rehabilitation, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and financed through Portland Housing Bureau, provides significant improvements to the rental homes.  Upgrades like new siding, roofs and paint compliment less obvious benefits such as improved indoor air ventilation and upgraded weatherization that will ensure affordable utilities for residents and low maintenance costs for PCRI.  But what caught visitors’ attention during the open house were the beautifully refinished floors and the preserved character of the turn-of-the-century home (below: one home before and after).

“I love that it’s an old house so it’s got all the character, but everything in it looks so new!” said visitor Orion Lumiere, Communications and Development Manager for Oregon Opportunity Network.  “It’s the best of both worlds,” she added.

These affordable rental homes exemplify PCRI’s diverse portfolio and the benefit of these affordable housing options.

“This scattered-site approach helps to weave families into the fabric of their neighborhood and is a consistent and unique opportunity for PCRI to eliminate concentrations of poverty,” said Maxine Fitzpatrick, PCRI Executive Director.

Two detached single-family homes—one with two bedrooms and one with four—in North Portland’s quiet University Park neighborhood were completely renovated (below: before and after photos of one home’s kitchen).  Two other properties—a two-unit turn-of-the-century home and a eight-unit mid-century complex—are within walking distance of hip North Mississippi Avenue and received significant upgrades to ensure the units’ durability and functionality.  All of these improvements were completed at a fraction of the cost of building new housing units.

Beyond preserving affordable housing, the project was also an opportunity to preserve area jobs–a priority of the stimulus funds that financed the project.  Throughout the course of the project, construction trades amassed over 3,100 hours of work improving the units inside and out.  In addition, the rehabilitation was a Davis-Bacon prevailing wage project.  While this ensured the project’s construction jobs were good-paying ones, it also involved detailed and elaborate reporting requirements.  In keeping with Colas Construction’s—and PCRI’s—philosophy of working with small businesses, Colas provided opportunity for several subcontractors to work on their first Davis-Bacon project, something that will better position them for future opportunities.

“I have so enjoyed working face-to-face with the small and emerging contractors [on this project] and helping them understand the intricacies of Davis-Bacon,” said Gail Quail, the former Prevailing Wage Specialist at Portland Development Commission.  Referring to one particular subcontractor who returned to her for additional training, she added, “he is an emerging small business and I was also able to guide him to John Classen at PDC to assist with his ESB certification.”

The rehabilitation project provided yet another opportunity to support the community:  the jobsites provided excellent opportunities for women involved in Oregon Tradeswomen’s pre-apprenticeship training program to gain valuable real-world carpentry experience.  Dozens of Tradeswomen students worked on the projects, performing demolition work and building porches and fences.  In keeping with the project’s goals to use materials wisely and provide healthy, functional spaces for the residents, some particularly efficient and industrious Tradeswomen put their speed to good use by building planter boxes from remnants of the fencing material.  The Tradeswomen-built planter boxes are a great compliment to many colorful, water-efficient plants donated by Portland Nursery and Colas Construction.

New residents have already moved into several of the recently-rehabilitated units.  All 12 units which were part of the rehabilitation are reserved for individuals and families earning 60% or less of Area Median Family Income.  Rents range from $686 for a one-bedroom apartment to $958 for the four-bedroom house.  A list of currently available rentals is updated regularly on PCRI’s website.


July 26, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

There’s no shortage of stories these days about “banning the bag” and the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.  The City of Portland and State of Oregon are even stepping up their positions on the subject by looking at eliminating plastic bags and levying a nickel fee for other bags at large grocery and other stores.

Changes can often be a challenge to adjust to, but PCRI is working hard to practice what we preach.  In fact, this past spring, PCRI received a grant from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to implement a reuse and recycling initiative at our office and community centers.

While we’re always working to do a better job at recycling at our office, our primary use for the BPS Paper and Plastic Challenge grant is to purchase new dishes and utensils for our main office as well as our community centers (Did you see? Our community center info is now on our website!).

Our goal with the new dishes is to significantly reduce our use of disposable paper and plastic plates, utensils and cups.  The paper plates and cups are easy, but giving them up is not only good for the earth and keeps junk out of the landfill, it’s also good for our budget since we’ll no longer need to purchase these items over and over (check out our post with other money-saving reuse ideas).

Today, we kick off our reuse challenge with a goal of eliminating our use of all paper cups and plates.  Here are a few facts about paper that might help you kick off a challenge of your own:

Each time paper is recycled, the fiber length decreases–which impacts its strength.  It’s estimated that paper has approximately seven generations (meaning it can be recycled up to seven times).

57.4% of the paper consumed in the US was recovered for recycling in 2008.  This means nearly half of our paper waste ends up in the landfill (boo!).

But … every ton of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space (hey, it’s got to go somewhere!).

In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of the other ways we’re working to reduce our waste (and save money!).  Stop back and check it out … or keep up with us on our Facebook page for other tips!

July 26, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

There’s no shortage of stories these days about “banning the bag” and the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle.  The City of Portland and State of Oregon are even stepping up their positions on the subject by looking at eliminating plastic bags and levying a nickel fee for other bags at large grocery and other stores.

Changes can often be a challenge to adjust to, but PCRI is working hard to practice what we preach.  In fact, this past spring, PCRI received a grant from the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS) to implement a reuse and recycling initiative at our office and community centers.

While we’re always working to do a better job at recycling at our office, our primary use for the BPS Paper and Plastic Challenge grant is to purchase new dishes and utensils for our main office as well as our community centers (Did you see? Our community center info is now on our website!).

Our goal with the new dishes is to significantly reduce our use of disposable paper and plastic plates, utensils and cups.  The paper plates and cups are easy, but giving them up is not only good for the earth and keeps junk out of the landfill, it’s also good for our budget since we’ll no longer need to purchase these items over and over (check out our post with other money-saving reuse ideas).

Today, we kick off our reuse challenge with a goal of eliminating our use of all paper cups and plates.  Here are a few facts about paper that might help you kick off a challenge of your own:

Each time paper is recycled, the fiber length decreases–which impacts its strength.  It’s estimated that paper has approximately seven generations (meaning it can be recycled up to seven times).

57.4% of the paper consumed in the US was recovered for recycling in 2008.  This means nearly half of our paper waste ends up in the landfill (boo!).

But … every ton of paper recycled saves more than 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space (hey, it’s got to go somewhere!).

In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting some of the other ways we’re working to reduce our waste (and save money!).  Stop back and check it out … or keep up with us on our Facebook page for other tips!

March 22, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

PCRI is always exceptionally thankful for our supporters.  Now more than ever, the businesses and individuals that provide financial and in-kind assistance for our programs, our community centers and our residents make an immeasurable difference for PCRI families.  With the help of our supporters, we help ensure our residents’ success on the path from basic survival and family stability to self-sufficiency and beginning the process of savings and wealth creation.

We extend a great big THANKS to

  • CASA of Oregon
  • City of Portland Bureau of Housing and Community Development (Portland Housing Bureau)
  • City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
  • City of Portland Bureau of Transportation
  • CLEAR by Mobile Citizen
  • Columbia Cascade Company
  • Franz Bakery
  • Free Geek
  • The Home Depot
  • KeyBank Foundation
  • JPMorgan Chase Foundation
  • Neighborhood Partnership Fund
  • New Seasons Market
  • Northwest Area Oregon Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation
  • Oregon Association of Realtors Home Foundation
  • Point West Credit Union
  • Portland Children’s Museum
  • Portland Community College
  • Sherwin Williams
March 22, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

PCRI is always exceptionally thankful for our supporters.  Now more than ever, the businesses and individuals that provide financial and in-kind assistance for our programs, our community centers and our residents make an immeasurable difference for PCRI families.  With the help of our supporters, we help ensure our residents’ success on the path from basic survival and family stability to self-sufficiency and beginning the process of savings and wealth creation.

We extend a great big THANKS to

  • CASA of Oregon
  • City of Portland Bureau of Housing and Community Development (Portland Housing Bureau)
  • City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability
  • City of Portland Bureau of Transportation
  • CLEAR by Mobile Citizen
  • Columbia Cascade Company
  • Franz Bakery
  • Free Geek
  • The Home Depot
  • KeyBank Foundation
  • JPMorgan Chase Foundation
  • Neighborhood Partnership Fund
  • New Seasons Market
  • Northwest Area Oregon Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation
  • Oregon Association of Realtors Home Foundation
  • Point West Credit Union
  • Portland Children’s Museum
  • Portland Community College
  • Sherwin Williams
March 22, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

Community, n: an interacting population of various individuals in a common location.

This definition of community describes well what PCRI offers at our three community centers in north and northeast Portland.  The common locations where PCRI residents can interact as well as learn, grow and seek community referrals are Park Terrace Community Center, Margaret Carter Community Employment Center and the Maya Angelou Community Center.  The resident service coordinator at each center strives to connect residents with the various programs PCRI offers, as well as provide information and referrals to community resources.

These community centers are available to all PCRI residents (though we often request advance reservations due to space limitations).  In fact, in 2009 we made noteworthy improvements and experienced great increases in utilization of our community centers:

  • We remodeled Park Terrace Community Center where Amber provides a wide variety of program activities–from education programs and computer training to yoga and crochet classes.
  • Lisa, a longtime contributor to PCRI, now heads up the Margaret Carter Employment Center, providing computer and employment related services.  The JOBS Plus Program helps make her assistance possible.
  • We provide after school programs, tutoring and other program activities to residents living in Maya Angelou Apartment Complex.  Cassie, an AmeriCorps member, is our excellent Resident Services Coordinator at Maya Angelou.
  • Volunteers help out at all three locations (and at our main office).  Want to get involved?  Check out our volunteer page!
  • A list of activities is on our Facebook page.  Become a fan to keep up on the latest events!

In addition to the activities at our community centers, PCRI offers a variety of programs to support youth: paid internships, after school tutoring, dance and self-defense classes, art and craft lessons and a summer arts camp.  For fun, we’re even able to hold monthly birthday parties.  Thanks to our community partners, we achieved some great results for PCRI youth in 2009:

  • 7 PCRI teens received paid internships working at PCRI Offices and other local businesses: 3 teens (pictured above with Amber, Park Terrace Resident Services Coordinator) received summer internships and 4 had winter break internships.
  • 16 PCRI kids participated in our week-long Summer Arts Camp at Maya Angelou Community Center.
  • Youth at Maya Angelou gained valuable skills from our financial fitness classes there.

We’re proud of the success we’ve achieved at our Community Centers and with PCRI youth.  Still, we couldn’t do it without the determined participation of PCRI residents.  Want to get involved?  Check out events on our Facebook page or read more about our Resident Services programs and volunteer opportunities.

March 22, 2010 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Community, n: an interacting population of various individuals in a common location.

This definition of community describes well what PCRI offers at our three community centers in north and northeast Portland.  The common locations where PCRI residents can interact as well as learn, grow and seek community referrals are Park Terrace Community Center, Margaret Carter Community Employment Center and the Maya Angelou Community Center.  The resident service coordinator at each center strives to connect residents with the various programs PCRI offers, as well as provide information and referrals to community resources.

These community centers are available to all PCRI residents (though we often request advance reservations due to space limitations).  In fact, in 2009 we made noteworthy improvements and experienced great increases in utilization of our community centers:

  • We remodeled Park Terrace Community Center where Amber provides a wide variety of program activities–from education programs and computer training to yoga and crochet classes.
  • Lisa, a longtime contributor to PCRI, now heads up the Margaret Carter Employment Center, providing computer and employment related services.  The JOBS Plus Program helps make her assistance possible.
  • We provide after school programs, tutoring and other program activities to residents living in Maya Angelou Apartment Complex.  Cassie, an AmeriCorps member, is our excellent Resident Services Coordinator at Maya Angelou.
  • Volunteers help out at all three locations (and at our main office).  Want to get involved?  Check out our volunteer page!
  • A list of activities is on our Facebook page.  Become a fan to keep up on the latest events!

In addition to the activities at our community centers, PCRI offers a variety of programs to support youth: paid internships, after school tutoring, dance and self-defense classes, art and craft lessons and a summer arts camp.  For fun, we’re even able to hold monthly birthday parties.  Thanks to our community partners, we achieved some great results for PCRI youth in 2009:

  • 7 PCRI teens received paid internships working at PCRI Offices and other local businesses: 3 teens (pictured above with Amber, Park Terrace Resident Services Coordinator) received summer internships and 4 had winter break internships.
  • 16 PCRI kids participated in our week-long Summer Arts Camp at Maya Angelou Community Center.
  • Youth at Maya Angelou gained valuable skills from our financial fitness classes there.

We’re proud of the success we’ve achieved at our Community Centers and with PCRI youth.  Still, we couldn’t do it without the determined participation of PCRI residents.  Want to get involved?  Check out events on our Facebook page or read more about our Resident Services programs and volunteer opportunities.

March 10, 2010 · by Travis Phillips · PCRI

So you’ve checked out descriptions of PCRI’s Programs elsewhere on our website, but you’re hungry for a little more information.  Well, you’ve come to the right place!  Our Programs Department has been feverishly working on new services for our residents–as well as make our current programs even better.  Here are some highlights of our recent Programs successes:

HOMEOWNERSHIP

Our Homeownership Initiative (launched in 2004) aims to transform PCRI residents from renters to first time homeowners.  The comprehensive program includes intake and assessment, credit repair, one-on-one counseling, financial fitness, HUD-certified homebuyer education, monthly homebuyer club meetings, and post-purchase assistance.  It’s exactly this type of program that goes beyond helping homeowners, says the New York Times:  “These alliances have sidestepped the plague of foreclosure.”

Since 2007, PCRI has been working with the African American Alliance for Homeownership and Hacienda Community Development Corporation, with whom PCRI forms the Minority Homebuyers Assistance Collaborative (MHAC). Through the MHAC collaborative, PCRI residents have access to culturally-specific HUD-certified homebuyer education classes and additional funds to assist with down payment and closing costs.

We’re excited about 2009’s growth for our homeownership program and the successes of the residents who are enrolled:

  • 10 PCRI families purchased homes (read one resident’s story here)
  • 54 families participated in our complete homebuyer counseling program
  • 17 families ended the year mortgage-ready … and looking for homes
  • 10 special-topic homebuyer education classes were held
  • PCRI’s post-purchase education initiative, “Life After Renting,” was implemented
  • $178,000 in down-payment assistance was distributed to new homebuyers

FINANCIAL LITERACY

As an integral part of our homeownership initiative, PCRI’s financial literacy program is designed to prepare individuals and families to better manage their finances and achieve family goals such as lowering debt and improving credit scores.  Residents in this program are provided with multiple choices of sound and proven financial education curricula including: Money Smart, Dollar Works 2, and Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

  • Developed community partnerships with OSU Extension Services to provide the Dollar Works 2 program
  • Worked with Banking on our Future to provide financial fitness to youth at the Maya Angelou Community Center
  • Had 25 individuals graduate from our financial fitness programs.  All residents who participated have developed plans to reduce debt–and have experienced notable increases in their credit scores

INDIVIDUAL DEVELOPMENT ACCOUNTS

IDAs are matched savings programs that allow qualified individuals to set savings goals and make monthly deposits into a designated account. Each dollar deposited is matched 3:1. PCRI has been involved in the IDA matched savings program since 2007.  In 2008, we expanded our community partnership with CASA of Oregon allowing us to provide IDA’s directly through PCRI. Residents have the ability to save in 3 major areas: homeownership, higher education, and home repairs.  The program is so popular, we currently have a waiting list of  residents wanting to take advantage of it.  The program is successful, too.  In 2009, PCRI:

  • Received $70,000 in IDA funding for homeownership, education, and home repair
  • Awarded 11 IDAs to residents utilizing every cent of our allotted funds
  • Had 3 PCRI residents use funds from their homeownership IDAs towards  purchase of their first home

THRIVING FAMILIES

Here’s our newest and most innovative approach to helping PCRI residents achieve their family goals.  The Thriving Families program is the all-encompassing package that helps move residents from family stability to self sufficiency and begin the process of creating wealth.  It incorporates all the programs and services PCRI currently offers, providing an effective vehicle to help families identify their needs and aspirations and put them into a strategic plan framework. Through this framework, each family member age six and older is able to create individual and family goals to be achieved. Monetary and other incentives are offered to participants who meet and exceed agreed upon milestones. These awards can assist families to overcome barriers they currently face. 2009 was an exciting year for the program as staff finalized details and began enrolling families.  In 2009, we:

  • Received funding to begin the thriving families pilot program
  • Signed up 7 families who are actively participating in the program
  • Set a goal of tripling the number of families enrolled in the program by the end of 2010

Next up: a look at the resources available at PCRI’s community centers, where we put these programs into action.

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