Posts Tagged ‘Collaborations’

September 28, 2015 · by pcriadmin · Featured, Pathway 1000, PCRI

Through its Community Planning and Development Grant Program, Metro Council recently awarded 16 grants totaling over $4.7 million, including $250,000 for the N/NE Community Development Project, part of the PCRI-led Pathway 1000 Initiative. The grant for N/NE Community Development Project will aid in planning, identification of underdeveloped properties and other strategies to mitigate, prevent and reverse residential and small business displacement in North and Northeast Portland.

PCRI staff and PSU Architecture students collaborate on a housing planning project

PCRI staff and PSU Architecture students collaborate on a housing planning project

For the grant-funded project, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) will lead a partnership including the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Portland Housing Bureau, Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design and PSU Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. Awards were announced at a Council meeting held at Harrison Park School in East Portland on September 24.

“Most importantly, and for the first time since this grant program was established, projects were selected using new criteria that addressed equity considerations,” said Metro Councilor Sam Chase in his email newsletter. “To me, ensuring we grow in a way that enhances the quality of life for everyone is critically important.”

The N/NE Community Development project is intended to help reverse negative impacts of past policies and public investment. The project will produce strategic and implementation plans for how to develop at least 1,000 new, affordable homes and commercial space in close-in North and Northeast Portland during the next ten years. This ambitious goal was framed by the Pathway 1000 Initiative envisioned by PCRI. The project is intended to mitigate, prevent and reverse the residential and minority-owned small business displacement that has occurred in North and Northeast Portland during the last 10 years, the impacts of which have been borne most heavily by the African-American community, which is the focus of the initiative.

“This is great news!” said PCRI Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick. “It provides PCRI and the City of Portland with valuable resources to strategically plan for at least 1,000 new affordable homes, reversing decades of involuntary displacement in North and Northeast Portland and ensuring these new homes are thoughtfully integrated into existing neighborhoods.”

With intentional community involvement, the project aims to develop a deep understanding of the housing needs and preferences of previously-displaced North and Northeast Portland residents as well as those at risk of being displaced. The grant will also help define criteria by which potential development sites are evaluated and proposed for development. In turn, this understanding can influence public investment strategy as well as the types of developments undertaken by PCRI and other housing providers.

Similarly, the grant funding will help design commercial opportunities, contracting, small business and workforce-related strategies that engage the target population of African-American and other low income residents who have been historically and consistently underrepresented in economic opportunities such as the development proposed in the Pathway 1000 Initiative.

Metro established the Community Planning and Development Grant program in 2006 to help local communities do the hard work of thinking forward: planning for development, investment and collaboration that help create great places all over the region. The community planning and development grant program is one of the Metro Council’s best tools to help communities achieve their visions, reflecting the council’s belief in investing to support communities, create housing and jobs opportunities and improve people’s lives throughout the region. Funded by a regional construction excise tax, these grants are critical planning resources that help communities revitalize existing neighborhoods and plan for the development of new urban areas. For more information, visit oregonmetro.gov.

August 17, 2015 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI, The Beatrice Morrow

IMG_0230At an August 17 event, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and Commissioner Dan Saltzman announced the selection of a PCRI-led team to develop the former Grant Warehouse site. The site, located on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, between Cook and Ivy streets, is envisioned with new affordable rental housing and community-serving ground floor commercial retail space.

“Even though this is just one site, it is the beginning,” said Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick of the project’s goals to mitigate involuntary displacement.

PCRI and our project team, including co-developer Gerding Edlen, general contractor Colas Construction, and Carleton Hart Architects, were selected following a Request for Qualifications issued by Portland Housing Bureau. The RFQ served to identify the development team which could best meet the goals of Housing Bureau’s N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy and develop a project which would involve and benefit the Northeast Portland community as well as its its historically African-American residents.

“This is an important opportunity to provide access to affordable family rental housing in a neighborhood that has experienced displacement and gentrification in the past several decades,” said Ms. Fitzpatrick. “PCRI was formed as, and continues to be, a solution to involuntary displacement. This project will help ensure everyone can experience the stability, safety and dignity that a home provides.”

IMG_0218The announcement about the development team for the Grant Warehouse site was one of two cornerstone projects highlighted at the public event, held at the site of the former Grant Warehouse. Colas Construction and Majestic Realty will develop a new commercial project a short distance away at NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Alberta Street. That project will feature a grocery and other commercial retail space.

“Through their focus on commercial activity and affordable housing, both projects will add to the vitality and diversity of the community, and will serve to underscore our commitment to this vital section of Northeast Portland,” said commissioner Saltzman in an email invitation for the event.

“This is a happy, long awaited day,” said Mayor Charlie Hales.

For continued information about the Grant Warehouse redevelopment and project updates, visit pcrihome.org/grant-warehouse or follow PCRI on Facebook.

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August 17, 2015 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

REACH Build Day TeamPCRI, REACH and others came together recently to complete critical home repairs for four low-income seniors in NE Portland neighborhoods. PCRI staff and other volunteers joined REACH Community Development for Community Building Day on Saturday, August 15.

Ms. Johnson, a client of PCRI’s Senior Homeownership Retention Program, was one of the seniors whose home was cared for by the Community Building DSC_0020volunteers, including Retention Program Coordinator Lisa Williams (pictured at left). With fresh exterior paint and other improvements, Ms. Johnson’s house not only looks good, but will also ensure she can remain safe and stable in her home for years to come.

“It was so great to be working in community to help Ms. Johnson out,” said PCRI staff member Kirk Rea, one of the volunteers. “Her family, friends, plus folks from different agencies showed up, and we had youth to elders working and laughing together. The positivity and service I saw us all activate, just by painting a home, gives me hope that we can keep rolling back the barriers and hardships of our most vulnerable people.”

In addition to painting, volunteers installed two wheel chair ramps and completed plumbing repairs for the seniors who were selected for Community Building Day improvements.

REACH Build A Day 267The Community Building Day is an initiative of REACH with the support of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) and the Urban League of Portland. Two of the event’s beneficiaries were referred by PCRI and the Urban League. Special thanks to the event underwriters, The Grainger Foundation and Macy’s Community Giving, both of whom sent awesome volunteers! In-kind support was provided by Walsh Construction Co., Miller Paint, Pipeline Plumbing, M & M Contracting Services, LMC, Inc., Greg Clarke Photography and Mike Beeson.

DSC_0030The Community Building Day highlights the extensive free home repair work the Community Builders Program does year round. The Community Builders Program, a program of REACH, is dedicated to helping older adults and people with disabilities age safely in their homes by providing free home repairs. PCRI’s Senior Homeownership Retention program helps area seniors connect with programs such as the Community Builders Program. Through advocacy, referrals and financial support, the program helps seniors retain homeownership and age in place.

June 12, 2015 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

150519 Arika Bunyoli Grad PicOn May 19th, 22 PCRI residents and clients completed the PCRI Adult Financial Education Class. This is the second financial education class held in partnership with Banner Bank. The evening class held once a week for four weeks covers a range of personal finance topics.

Class participants appreciated getting answers to their banking, credit, and fraud questions from industry professionals. One PCRI resident commented, “I can do more and have more options when I need to pay a bill or get money.”

150519 Terry Orr Reina Hernandez Grad PicIn addition to the valuable financial information, Banner Bank presented all completers of the class $100 cash.

PCRI and Banner Bank will be partnering again in September 2015 to present another Adult Financial Education Class. All PCRI residents and clients are invited to sign up. If you are interested in learning more about the class, please contact Amy Dang, PCRI Financial Education Specialist, at 503-288-2923 ext. 131 or by email.

 

July 15, 2014 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

PCRI is pleased to announce that we have been chosen as one of 30 select organizations to participate in United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s new Community Strengthening collaborative cohort designed to improve outcomes for low-income children and their families, and ultimately break the cycle of childhood poverty in the four-county (Clackamas, Clark, Multnomah and Washington) region.

UW LogoThe collaborative cohort, which is based on the “collective impact” approach, is part of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s new strategic direction to leverage the expertise, resources, and effort of multiple organizations across the region in working together toward one common goal: breaking the cycle of childhood poverty.

United Way’s Community Strengthening cohort is comprised of 30 emerging and established non-profits serving low income and culturally specific communities across the metropolitan area. The cohort will work together for a period of three years (July 2014 through June 2017) to create and participate in learning communities designed to share experiences, exchange data and information, and build collective knowledge around new and promising practices to improve outcomes for low-income families and their children. Each member of the Community Strengthening cohort will be awarded up to $50,000 per year, to complete this critical work. (*Funding to PCRI and the other non-profits in the cohort is contingent on the funding United Way receives as an organization to its Breaking the Cycle fund.)

Each non-profit organization participating in United Way of the Columbia-Willamette’s Community Strengthening cohort has agreed to share their results through a common measurement framework, to work together on critical problems and innovations in the field, and to build a common knowledge base about collective impact on childhood poverty in our region.

“We are ecstatic to be collaborating with the outstanding organizations selected to be a part of our Community Strengthening cohort on breaking the cycle of childhood poverty. The issue of poverty is incredibly complex, with multiple facets; it’s a far greater issue than any one organization can resolve alone,” said Keith Thomajan, CEO of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette. “In utilizing the collective impact model, we are confident we can amplify and accelerate the impact we are making in our community specific to student success, family stability, and connected communities to give every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status, a fair chance at success. Quite simply, we are better together.”

The Collective Impact Model

The collective impact model, as articulated by the non-profit consulting group Foundation Strategy Group (FSG), is a model of work that brings people together, in a structured way, to achieve social change. There are five conditions** of “collective impact” that lead to meaningful results:

A common agenda: All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions

  1. Shared Measurement: Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable
    1. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action
    2. Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation
  • Backbone Organization: Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies (The backbone organization for the Community Strengthening strategy is United Way of the Columbia-Willamette.)

 

**Source: Foundation Strategy Group (FSG) http://www.fsg.org/OurApproach/CollectiveImpact.aspx

To learn more about United Way’s Community Strengthening strategy and the other organizations involved in the cohort, please visit http://www.unitedway-pdx.org/community-strengthening-investments

December 21, 2013 · by pcriadmin · Featured, PCRI

PCRI believes that low-income families should not be forced to choose between keeping their homes warm and putting healthy food on their table.  To help low-income families stay warm and have money left for other essentials, a partnership of Portland businesses will soon begin a pilot weatherization program at ten of PCRI’s single-family homes in North and Northeast Portland.

HELP installers discuss a home's weatherization measures.

HELP installers discuss a home’s weatherization measures.

The pilot, a collaboration between Portland non-profits PCRI and Verde, will be funded by NW Natural.  It provides energy-saving weatherization improvements like air sealing and insulation to low-income households without challenges like waiting lists and up-front costs that accompany many existing weatherization programs.

“This pilot is a great opportunity to more efficiently provide utility cost savings to families who need it most,” said Travis Phillips, Housing Development Manager at PCRI.  “We’re eager to see and expand on the pilot’s success so these and other families can spend their hard-earned salaries on school books and healthy food instead of keeping their home warm

PCRI and Verde are also using the pilot to provide economic opportunity to low-income families and communities of color.  The two non-profits engaged Home Energy Life Performance Group (H.E.L.P.), a minority- and woman-owned business who has already weatherized and reduced energy consumption for over 800 Oregon homes, to perform the weatherization improvements.  The project is expected to create 340 work hours in its pilot phase, with additional opportunity in future phases.

“Along with helping Oregon families to live in warmer, healthier homes, partnerships like this mean we can grow skilled-labor jobs, while generating additional opportunities for multiple local business providers,” said Berenice Lopez, President of Home Energy Life Performance Group.

Beyond measures like air sealing and insulation, the pilot includes an education program, funded by a grant from a private foundation, helping residents understand the work being performed and how household habits affect their energy bills, comfort and healthy indoor environments.

“NW Natural is excited to fund and partner on this innovative program,” said Bill Edmonds, NW Natural director of environmental management and sustainability. “Even though gas prices are as low as they were in 2004, that doesn’t make drafts any warmer. We think it’s important to reach as many households as possible with education and services about energy efficiency.”

The pilot phase of the project is expected to be complete in early 2014.  Following a successful pilot, PCRI and Verde aim to replicate the program elsewhere in PCRI’s affordable housing portfolio, for seniors in PCRI’s Homeownership Retention program, and with other organizations serving low-income Oregon residents.

Want to learn more? Contact Travis Phillips at PCRI and read about our partners below:

ABOUT VERDE:  Verde serves communities by building environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach and advocacy.  Verde establishes social enterprises to employ and train low-income adult community members, create contracting opportunities for minority-owned and women-owned businesses, and bring environmental assets to low-income neighborhoods. www.verdenw.org

ABOUT H.E.L.P.: Born out of a desire to build an organization that combined green job values with assistance to homeowners, Home Energy Life Performance Group, Inc. (H.E.L.P.) has been a driving force in Oregon’s home performance industry and is committed to helping make warmer and healthier homes accessible to all Oregonians.  The company’s trained and certified staff perform all aspects of weatherization using building science practices. www.helppdx.com

ABOUT NW Natural: NW Natural (NYSE:NWN) is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and provides natural gas service to about 689,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the largest independent natural gas utility in the Pacific Northwest.  Additional information is available at www.nwnatural.com.

December 10, 2013 · by pcriadmin · PCRI

Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) believes investing in disadvantaged communities is one of the best ways to break the cycle of poverty.  This fall, PCRI did exactly that: 22 affordable rental homes in North and Northeast Portland will have new roofs, fresh paint and new sidewalks by the end of 2013 thanks to a workforce training program operated by local non-profit Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) and several minority-owned contractors.

PCRI spent more than $112,000 on improvements for the homes, with over 90% of the work performed by local, minority-owned and non-profit contractors.  The improvements ensure the long-term durability and safety of the homes for the low-income families who live in them and further PCRI’s long-standing goals to provide opportunity for small, local businesses and minority-owned firms.

“These aren’t just investments in a few homes, they are investments in the strength and livability of our community,” said Maxine Fitzpatrick, PCRI Executive Director.  “’Community Reinvestment’ is part of our name as well as an important part of how we do business.”

For the capital improvement projects, PCRI sought businesses with whom the organization had existing relationships such as NAYA Construction Services.  NAYA’s construction workforce training program trains low-income Native Americans with essential skills for living wage construction jobs.

“Our job is to care for our people and invest in our community. These building improvements mean a safer, more secure residence for people who need it, and increased opportunity for the minority-owned-and-operated contractors doing the work,” said Matt Morton, Squaxin Island Tribe, NAYA Family Center Executive Director.

PCRI also used these capital improvement projects to connect with contractors the organization had not previously used.  The Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs (OAME) and Portland’s Metropolitan Contractor Improvement Project (MCIP) were especially instrumental, connecting PCRI with local minority businesses for this and future projects.

PCRI is continually improving its portfolio of 700 affordable housing units, including single-family homes, small plexes, and community apartments.  Contractors who are interested in participating in future improvement projects should contact Jordan Allen, Maintenance Administrator, for more information.

June 18, 2012 · by Staff · PCRI

Economic self-sufficiency means not only stable careers, but also decent, safe, and healthy homes.

PCRI and the Oregon Tradeswomen are working on a shared vision: we build programs to help women and low-income families achieve economic self-sufficiency.  Through the Big 11 Rehab, PCRI preserves affordable rental homes, retains the beauty and stability of Portland’s neighborhoods, and provides needed training opportunities for the Tradeswomen.

Carpenters-in-training with the Oregon Tradeswomen work on a new fence at one of PCRI's single-family homes.

This week, a team of students from Oregon Tradeswomen tackled their first carpentry project of the Trades and Apprenticeship Career Class at a home PCRI is rehabilitating as part of the Big 11 Rehab. The women built a new fence to provide valuable privacy from the DMV offices next door and utilized extra fence material to build raised planter beds so the residents who move into the home have a place to grow fresh produce. The home on N Interstate Avenue, is a 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home that will be available to families earning less than 60% of area median income.

In addition to the carpentry work performed by Oregon Tradeswomen, major capital improvements like a new roof, a renovated bathroom, and measures to address lead-based paint hazards are being tackled by local general contractor, Albina Construction.  New windows, weatherization and other energy-efficiency improvements are another part of the project that will provide valuable benefits for the home’s future residents by helping ensure low utility expenses.

The rehabilitation project is funded by Portland Housing Bureau and by energy-efficiency incentives from the Energy Trust of Oregon.  More information about Oregon Tradeswomen’s partnership with PCRI is available here.  Information about weatherization and incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon is available here.

May 29, 2012 · by Staff · Featured, PCRI

A major goal for PCRI’s Healthy Food Access initiative is to enable any resident who wants to garden, to garden. Since many residents live in multifamily units without the space to garden for themselves, we were able to hook up with the local (and amazing) Albina Cooperative Garden to give some residents a chance to garden right away.

James and Tim are spearheading the Albina Cooperative Garden and both also work at other urban farming projects around Portland. Their goal is not to have you work for the garden, but for the garden to work for you. That said, they have made it as easy as possible to get in, get dirty and get fed.

The Albina Cooperative Garden uses a different model than most community gardens: everyone works towards the same goal and shares the same produce. There are no specific “plots;” rather, when someone volunteers to help, they simply do what needs to be done, be it weeding, watering, or harvesting, and when it IS time to harvest, well, everyone gets a box full of the same fresh goods.

Some of the produce will be sold to local restaurants in order to sustain the garden and keep it free for members (but don’t worry– there will be more than enough for everyone). Experienced gardeners will be available to provide a built in support network for those less experienced. Plus, all the necessary tools will be provided, including an on-site wash station to clean fresh veggies and even a picnic table so the space can be used for community gatherings as well.

Monica and Lauren outside the garden.

Ultimately, the garden aims to educate and empower its gardeners, giving them the tools and knowledge necessary to inform others and maybe begin a home garden. Interested in volunteering two or so hours per week in exchange for free produce? The garden will be ‘staffed’ every Saturday from 11-4 (approximately), and sign up is simple: if you’re interested, just show up.

Albina Cooperative Garden is located about 200 feet west of N. Vancouver on N. Russell St., adjacent to the Emanuel Hospital property. Someone is there most of the time, but definitely every Saturday from 11-4.

May 21, 2012 · by Staff · PCRI

Community members gathered last month to take soil samples at the future Cully Park site.

A Nature in Neighborhoods $577,000 grant to our community partner Verde will help Let Us Build Cully Park! coalition transform a former landfill into a community hub.

Let Us Build Cully Park! coalition is a collaboration between Verde and fifteen community-based organizations, including PCRI, to build Cully Park at a lower cost. The grant will support four projects: a one-and-a-half mile trail network with fitness stations, habitat restoration, a tribal plant gathering area, and a “green streets” transformation on Northeast 72nd Avenue.

Let Us Build Cully Park! is an opportunity to enliven the Northeast Portland’s Cully Neighborhood, a neighborhood characterized by concentrated poverty and a lack of access to nature and community spaces.

Tony DeFalco, coordinator of Let Us Build Cully Park!, tells Laura Oppenheimer with Metro News that the project will achieve three important values for the community:

“You’ve got the environmental aspect, where we’re doing restoration and creating habitat. You’ve got the economic piece, where we’re putting money in people’s pockets in the neighborhood. And you’ve got the equity piece, where we’re bringing a park to a neighborhood that really is park-deficient.”

Rebecca Wells-Albers from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and Kari Christensen from Oregon Health Authority helped community members handle testing equipment and strengthened their understanding of the environmental assessment.

Last week Lauren Orso, one of PCRI’s new AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, was able to visit the site of the future Cully Park community garden. Surveys of local residents revealed a high interest in gardening locally, with many residents eager to be able to walk to and grow their own fresh produce.

To address this need, designers worked with students at Harvey Scott school to create a functional community garden, complete with greenhouse and nursery space and even its own micro-orchard. About 90 users will be able to garden at a time, from differently sized plots geared towards individuals and families. The garden will be complemented by gathering space and picnic areas to bring the community together. The garden itself is not located on the landfill site, and its soil has been tested as safe by local residents trained by the EPA.

The park and garden can not come soon enough for Cully residents, who have largely supported and encouraged its development from the beginning. The Cully Park project is an opportunity to bring not only self-grown healthy foods to this underresourced neighborhood, but to build self-sufficiency among its residents, foster a sense of neighborhood responsibility centered around the park, and to allow residents an opportunity to have their voices heard.

PCRI looks forward to continue working with our Let Us Build Cully Park! community partners. For more information, please see the coalition’s home page.

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