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January 19, 2016  
 
hope. access. potential
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Michael Buonocore

Message from Michael

State of Hope

Our last e-letter had a message titled “State of Emergency,” in which we described the ways we are responding to our community’s crises of housing and homelessness, in collaboration with our partners.  As we look ahead to the coming months, we know there is still a long, hard road ahead before we can call the crisis over.

There are reasons we begin the new year with a sense of hope, though.  Community activists have catalyzed tremendous energy and advocacy to push for needed resources and policy changes.  Our local and state political leaders have expressed a deep commitment to taking more action this year.  We got good news that our federal budget appropriation will be a bit better than expected, and our critical Moving to Work status will be renewed until 2028.

Sometimes it’s the smaller victories that renew our sense of hope and promise.  We are thrilled to introduce you to the four winners of our inaugural Steve Rudman scholarship award. These young adults are ready to take on the world, and we’re happy to play a small part in supporting their educational goals.  Their futures are bright and the best is yet to come.

Happy, hopeful 2016 from all of us at Home Forward. 

Michael Buonocore
Executive Director

 

 
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Meet Our First Steve Rudman Scholarship Winners

We've granted the first scholarships created to honor Steve Rudman who retired in 2014 after 13 years as Home Forward’s executive director.  The scholarships reward students for academic achievement, leadership, and participation in activities that help others.

In the program’s inaugural year, applying for the $2,500 award was open to youth 17-24 whose families participate in Home Forward’s GOALS family self-sufficiency program, with one scholarship for a high school student entering college and another for a college student continuing their education.  The scholarships are renewable for a second year.  The selection committee was so impressed with the applicants that they also granted two one-time $1,000 scholarships.

Ben Kitoko and Adrianna Davis received the $2,500 scholarships, and the $1,000 awards went to Ruben Sanchez and Inna Voronova.
 
 

Ben Kitoko

Ben Kitoko

This budding entrepreneur has set his sights on Stanford, Brown, or Morehouse to help him achieve his dream of owning a business.  He was a straight A student in his first two years of high school, receiving Portland Public Schools’ Young Gifted and Black award in 2014. He was awarded a Quest Prep scholarship and transferred to a leading private school, where he continues to excel academically.  At his new school, he founded the Black Student Union and quickly became a leader and mentor for his fellow students.
 
 

Adrianna Davis

Faced with a myriad of life challenges at a young age, Adrianna has never detoured from the goals she sets.  She received her GED in 2011 and has worked steadily since then to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  Despite having to support herself since she was a teenager, she has maintained a 3.0 GPA in her community college courses and made the presidents’ and honors lists.  She participates in our GOALS family self-sufficiency program, served on our Resident Advisory Committee, and is a member of a faith-based women’s group whose members strive to empower each other in their life quests.
 

Ruben Sanchez

Ruben Sanchez

Ruben brings a level of commitment, integrity, and depth to all he does.  He excels in science and plans to major in biochemistry, in the hopes his college education will prepare him for a career that combines his passion for science with standing up for justice in his local community.  His extracurricular activities range from soccer, to business internships and playing a vital role in a community-based project to analyze unconscious racial bias in North Portland.

 
 

Inna Voronova

Inna Voronova

A law firm that hired Inna as a summer intern was so impressed with her performance that they asked her to return to cover for an employee on parental leave, praising her as smart, focused, and purposeful.  She plans to study Criminology and Criminal Justice at Portland State University when she completes her community college work and then will pursue a law degree.  She participated in work and college readiness programs at the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization and volunteers as a translator at her church.

 
 
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Jim Smith Takes the Reins on the Board

School kids

The new year brings a change in leadership on our board of commissioners as Jim Smith steps into the role of chair.  A commissioner since 2008, the CEO of management consulting firm Ychange brings a passion for helping residents reach their full potential.  His experience building businesses and spurring entrepreneurship gives him a unique perspective on success in the work world.  “I want the board to actively engage the local business community in our efforts to help our clients reach the next level – economic self-sufficiency,” he said.  Smith also will focus on fostering the success of the agency’s leadership team as they execute the strategic plan under development. 

Smith’s fellow 2016 officers are Miki Herman, vice chair and treasurer, and David Widmark, chair emeritus.
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Rent Payments Provide a New Path to Good Credit

Building credit or repairing bad credit can be a rocky road for renters with low incomes who often face exorbitant interest rates if they can get credit at all.  Thanks to the Credit Builders Alliance, there’s now an easier path.
 
Home Forward has joined the Alliance’s national pilot program that uses rent reporting to build credit. Residents at our Stephens Creek Crossing apartments start with classes on building and monitoring credit, as well as disputing discrepancies on credit reports.  With their permission, Home Forward then submits rent payment reports to Experian, the only one of the three national credit agencies currently accepting and loading rental data onto consumer reports.

Project manager Chrissy McCausland says the program has been popular with residents and easy to set up.  Hoped for outcomes are improved credit scores and an increase in on-time rent payments.  If the pilot produces those results, Home Forward plans to expand the program.

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DASHBOARD REPORT

View the Dashboard Report here

NEWS

THE OREGONIAN: Portland, Multnomah County hit goal to house homeless vets

OPB: How Portland housed homeless vets in a city with no vacancy

OREGONIAN: Portland's housing authority received 'unprecedented' number of rent increases

 

© 2011 Home Forward. All rights reserved.
135 SW Ash Street, Portland, OR 97204
tel: 503-802-8300 | email: info@homeforward.org | web: www.homeforward.org
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