Making an Impact Across Central Oregon - Winter 2017
Shelter, Food, Education, Homeownership
As one of Central Oregon's largest nonprofit organizations, NeighborImpact serves 55,000 people annually in Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. The services offered by our organization are designed to assist people in building a future for themselves and their families while strengthening the communities around us.
The NeighborImpact Food Bank would like to give a huge THANK YOU to all of the businesses, churches, and service groups who coordinated FOOD DRIVES over the holiday season. Thanks to you, our shelves were stocked and we were able to provide nourishment to those in Central Oregon!
A Total of 45,000 POUNDS of food was collected, enough to provide over 32,000 MEALS!
Community Presbyterian Church
Friends of the Redmond Library
Redmond Clog House
Redmond Fire Department
Redmond Elementary Schools
Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council
Custom Labor and Staffing Solutions
Elk Meadow Elementary
First Lutheran Church
Juniper Golf Course
Juniper Swim and Fitness
Living Dental Health
Pacific Crest Middle School
Rebound Physical Therapy
Oregon Department of Forestry
The new book, NeighborWorks Works: Practical Solutions from America’s Community Development Network, is now available to the public. This book highlights innovative solutions to affordable housing and community development challenges from the NeighborWorks America network of local nonprofits.
“Community-based nonprofits are creating economic opportunity for more Americans through cross-sector collaborations, complementary investments and collective problem-solving,” says Paul Weech, CEO of NeighborWorks America. “This book will allow us to share what works, as well as what doesn’t work – an important part of innovation.”
NeighborImpact is one of the organizations featured in the book, highlighting our successful partnership with KTVZ – Newschannel 21 and the 21 Cares for Kids program.
“Our story highlights our longstanding relationship with KTVZ through the 21 Cares for Kids program,” says Sandy Visnack, Director of Communication for NeighborImpact. “This partnership helps get the word out to our community about critical services by providing more than 6,000 30-second commercial spots per year. That’s more than 50 hours of airtime annually, well beyond what a typical non-profit could afford without a generous community partner.”
NeighborImpact is a member of the NeighborWorks network, a network of more than 240 nonprofit organizations based in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The network is supported by NeighborWorks America, which creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes, improve their lives and strengthen their communities. As a member of the NeighborWorks network, NeighborImpact has been rigorously assessed for high standards of performance and operation.
NeighborWorks Works: Practical Solutions from America’s Community Development Network features success stories that illustrate how to facilitate affordable housing, whether owned or rented; supportive housing for senior citizens or the disabled; engage residents of varying ages, cultures and races; revitalize declining neighborhoods; measure outcomes; and much more. The essays also demonstrate how housing can be a platform for advancing health, education, workforce development and youth leadership.
The book may be purchased on Amazon here and general information about NeighborWorks is available online here.
The 2017 Point in Time Count occurred on January 25th across Central Oregon. This event is part of a national effort to count every homeless person across the country and provide a snapshot of homelessness in the United States. Members of the Central Oregon Homeless Leadership Coalition in every community in Central Oregon, from Madras to Prineville to La Pine, coordinated Point in Time Count events to determine the number of individuals experiencing homelessness and gather information about participants for the count. The effort also helped to connect people with necessary services and provide resources and referrals.
“The Point in Time Count it is one way to collectively understand the scope and breadth of homelessness in our nation and our individual communities,” says Molly Heiss, Associate Director of Housing Stabilization at NeighborImpact. “The count is an important effort that ensures the voices of people experiencing homelessness in our community are heard and efforts are made to provide appropriate services. It also helps organizations like NeighborImpact develop more effective plans and measure progress toward ending homelessness.”
Point in Time Counts are conducted each year, with “sheltered” counts conducted on even years and full counts (those who are sheltered and unsheltered) counted in odd years. People considered homeless and “sheltered” include those living in motels, shelters, transitional housing, etc. “Unsheltered” include living outside, camping, sleeping in cars or other places not designed for human habitation.
In 2017, a full count was conducted and the information is currently being processed by NeighborImpact. Data analysis should be completed by the beginning of May and the HLC will release the data to the media and the public at that time. The Homeless Leadership Coalition and the individual organizations that make up the coalition will use the data to identify needs, gaps in services and funding, and to better target supportive programs and services to those in need. They will also continue develop and modify comprehensive plans to address poverty and homelessness in Central Oregon.
Between 2013 and 2015, Central Oregon saw a 5% increase in the number of homeless individuals across the tri-county region. The chronically homeless rate also increased by 53%, with the majority of those individuals located in Deschutes County. The following table shows results from 2013 and 2015 full counts.
Causes of the issue
Although pinpointing the exact causes of homelessness can be tricky, most HLC members agree that the housing market, higher home prices, and the lack of availability of affordable homes and rental units have contributed to the problem in Central Oregon. Additionally, the lack of resources for organizations and programs that help low-income and no-income individuals and families secure adequate housing are major contributing factors.
How to help
Community members can help through financial donations and donations of supplies (tents, tarps, sleeping bags, food, propane, etc.) to local charities that serve the homeless population throughout the tri-county area. Organizations include regional churches, NeighborImpact, Central Oregon Veterans Outreach and St. Vincent De Paul, to name a few.
NeighborImpact’s HomeSource program has announced the Personal Finance Workshop Schedule for 2017. Each workshop is designed to develop healthy financial habits that will help build wealth and stability. Workshop descriptions and upcoming dates are below. For the full 2017 schedule, click here.
Financial Planning & Money Management
374 SW 5th Street in Madras
• Learn about the most effective money management strategies
• Learn techniques for trimming your spending
• Learn what net worth is, how to calculate it, and how to build it
Saving & Investing
20310 Empire Avenue in Bend
• Learn how to save for future expenses and goals
• Learn where and how to invest your money depending on your own financial situation
Understanding & Managing Credit
2303 SW First Street in Redmond
• Learn what affects your credit score
• Learn how your credit score affects you
• Learn how to improve your credit score
Financial Institutions, Taxes & Insurance
20310 Empire Avenue in Bend
• Learn what banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions have to offer so you can make the most of your money
• Learn how to protect yourself from identity theft
For more information about HomeSource and the Personal Finance Workshops, click here.
Our Director of Communication, Sandy Visnack, recently caught up with NeighborImpact Head Start’s Transportation and Facilities Manager, Diane Clinkscales, to talk about the ins and outs of transporting preschoolers to Head Start, especially in challenging weather.
Sandy: What do you do at NeighborImpact?
Diane: I am the Transportation and Facilities Manager at NeighborImpact Head Start. My job is to ensure the safety of children during their ride to and from school and also while at school and on the playground. I teach, lead, evaluate and supervise school bus drivers and ensure the fleet of buses are in good condition and safe. I also inspect playgrounds to ensure they are safe and appropriate for the children. I kind of see myself as the nuts and bolts of our Head Start program.
Sandy: How does providing buses and transportation to the students help people we serve?
Diane: First, by providing transportation to and from school, and to and from daycare centers, Head Start parents are able to work. They do not have to take off work to pick up or drop off their kids at Head start. Bussing also helps families keep money for important necessities, not fuel. Many families would not be able to provide the preschool experience to their child if we were not able to provide transportation services.
Sandy: What impact does the transportation program have in the community?
Diane: Bussing cuts down on pollution and the number of cars on the streets. We also reduce the amount of fuel used each day overall. But, above all, providing transportation increases safety for our children. Busses are the safest form of transportation.
Sandy: With all the recent snowfall, how are decisions made to delay or cancel Head Start classes?
Diane: During inclement weather I begin driving the roads in Bend at 4:30 AM and monitor the news and weather stations for predicted weather. I am also in contact with surrounding school districts to keep abreast of road conditions in their communities. We follow our School Districts for closures – if they have no school, we have no school. If they have a 2-hour delay, we have no morning classes.
But there have been times that I have felt that it is safest to keep our children off the roads and we have closed even when the district proceeds. After all of the investigative parts of my morning happen, I make contact with our Head Start Director with my recommendation and the final decision is made. I take this decision-making on recommendations very seriously, because if we do not get the children to school, the magic is not happening. Our job in transportation is to get the children to school if at all possible.
Sandy: Why do you love coming to work every day?
Diane: I love working with the staff at NeighborImpact and I work with the most amazing and caring bus drivers you could find. But most of all, I love to know that I am doing my part in the community by supporting families. I love the parent contacts and mostly love being around the children.
Sandy: What motivates you?
Diane: I know that I am making a difference in someone’s life, and that is such a fulfilling feeling.
Diane Clinkscales has been involved with school bus transportation for 29 years. She has worked for NeighborImpact for 16 years and has spoken at national conferences across the United States sharing her knowledge and passion for Head Start transportation.
NeighborImpact is a regional employer, employing nearly 200 people each year. Our employees live in eleven different cities and seventeen different zip codes and, in 2016, NeighborImpact was voted one of the 100 Best Nonprofits to work for in Oregon!
We live our mission of “Supporting People, Strengthening Communities” and we are always looking for candidates who share that mission and who want to make a difference in the lives of others. Because we believe in a work-life balance, NeighborImpact offers a comprehensive benefits package which includes generous time off for most positions.
Board Spotlight: Linda Walker
Linda Walker has served on the NeighborImpact board of directors for 20 years, but her career in serving her community began long before coming to Central Oregon. As a native Oregonian, Linda graduated from North Bend High School in 1957 and from the Oregon State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education in 1962. She went on to hold various administrative and managerial roles with Benton County Chapter of the American Red Cross, Oregon State University Cooperative Extension, and the State of Oregon Department of Human Resources, to name a few.
We recently asked Linda (under false pretenses!) to provide us with her volunteer history. What she sent back speaks for itself. Since 1962, Linda been involved with these organizations:
• National Ski Patrol
• FISH of Benton County
• American Red Cross - Benton County Chapter
• Community Services Consortium, Benton County Advisory Board member
• Benton County Mental Health Advisory Board
• Benton County Local Drug and Alcohol Advisory Board
• Benton County Social Services Advisory Board
• Benton County Mental Health Association
• Oregon Coalition on Housing and Homelessness, founding member
• Kiwanis Club of Western Hills
• City of Corvallis Housing Advisory Board
• Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, founding advisory board
• Community Action Foundation of Central Oregon Board of Directors
• Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration
• Central Oregon Homeless Leadership Coalition, founding member
• Central Oregon Hunger Prevention Coalition, founding member
• Kiwanis Club of Sisters, Food Bank Manager
• Together for Children
• Pacific Northwest District Kiwanis: Board of Trustee's, Lt. Governor
• Pacific Northwest District Kiwanis Foundation
As you can see, Linda has dedicated herself to improving the lives of others for more than five decades across the region and across the state. But Linda does not serve to have her name on a board list or for a special plaque in a hallway, she serves because she cares about impacting the lives of others.
“For the past 50 years, I have been working with low income people,” says Linda. “I volunteer to help develop and support programs that are needed for individuals to be self-sufficient as defined by their capabilities.”
As fellow NeighborImpact board members and staff can attest, Linda’s dedication to a better Oregon comes from a deeply personal place. Her investments in the lives of others often come at the expense of her own health and her financial contributions to the causes that she supports directly impact her own pocketbook. Yet she soldiers own because she believes that giving back is the right thing to do.
Each year, over 55,000 people are touched by the programs and services offered by NeighborImpact. Our organization injects more than $15,000,000 into the Central Oregon economy in order to help meet the needs of individuals and families across our region.
NeighborImpact also employs an average of 180 people from 11 cities and 17 different zip codes in Jefferson, Deschutes and Crook Counties.
Making a Difference:
8 Head Start Sites
24 Head Start Sites
533 Children Served
12 Homeless families acquired housing
76 Homes saved through foreclosure support, loan modification, health and safety upgrades
2.7 Million pounds of food distributed
Equivalent to 1.9 million meals provided
47 Home purchases facilitated
$8,524,196 in local real estate sales
40 Individuals graduated from Matched Savings Program
$231,585 Matched Savings Awarded
Individuals Served by Program
Child Care Resources – 1279
Energy Assistance – 12,969
Food Bank – 44,449
Head Start – 1270
HomeSource - 641
Housing Stabilization – 731
Lending - 27
Weatherization - 253
Amber first found out about NeighborImpact through the Energy Assistance program. She, her husband, Emilio, and their five children needed some extra help paying their utility bills and received a one-time payment.
After some time, Amber decided to start her own housekeeping business and applied for a business loan through NeighborImpact’s Lending Department. She soon closed on her business loan and “Spring Clean Home and Office” was created.
Although Amber and Emilio were able to secure a few customers, the business was not booming as they had hoped.
She fell behind on her loan payments as well as her mortgage payments for the family home in La Pine.
“I met once again with Michael from the NeighborImpact Lending Department,” says Amber. “Not only did he help me work through my business loan payments, he also connected me with the NeighborImpact Mortgage Payment Assistance Program. He said, “Try it!” and I did!”
Becky from the Mortgage Payment Assistance program helped facilitate the paperwork between US Bank and the couple. Amber continues, “Before NeighborImpact the bank lost their paperwork two times. They dragged it out and we were getting nowhere. We were three months behind in our mortgage and we didn’t know what to do. Would the bank kick us out?” It was getting real scary for the family. Soon Becky called with some good news. “Becky called and told us that we got it!
Our mortgage was paid up and we received assistance for the next 12 months. NeighborImpact also paid the property tax for a year, which meant so much to me because my sister-in-law was foreclosed upon because of back taxes.”
Amber and Emilio sleep better at night and are currently working hard and moving forward with their future. “I don’t know how we would have done it without NeighborImpact. The process took just 2 months and we had to be diligent getting our paperwork and getting everything out on time. NeighborImpact doesn’t hold your hand but they are very kind and to the point and guide you through the process.” Amber smiles, “I have the relief of knowing my kids have a home. No more feelings of despair.”