NeighborImpact’s Sonia Capece Named Financial Empowerment Community Champion


Central Oregon—NeighborImpact Director of HomeSource Sonia Capece was named today by Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read as the Financial Empowerment Community Champion for Oregon. The award recognizes standout community champions for efforts to help people be prepared to navigate complex financial systems and for making a positive difference when it comes to improving financial wellness and empowerment for Oregonians. With the distinction comes an award of $2,000 to NeighborImpact’s HomeSource program and the opportunity to “Pay it Forward” with a $500 award to another financial empowerment-focused organization. HomeSource has chosen to “pay it forward” to the Latino Community Association.


NeighborImpact’s HomeSource is a homeownership and financial stability program. Capece has been the director of the program for the past seven years. She is highly regarded nationally and statewide for her skills in delivering financial education and her sensitivity to serving communities of color. The work that she and her team of eight do includes home ownership counseling; helping homeowners through the qualification and purchase process; homeowner readiness, including financial stability education; mortgage assistance counseling; foreclosure avoidance counseling and reverse mortgage counseling. The HomeSource team also runs an Individualized Development Account program that matches savings up to 5 times dollar for dollar to help enrolled participants save for home ownership, education, starting a business and many more important financial goals.


HomeSource serves between 800 and 900 households a year, facilitating more than $21 million in real estate purchases and $156,753 in mortgage assistance last year. The program provided 1,367 hours of financial education classes. HomeSource counseling supported other affordable housing developers in the region as well, including First Story, Kôr Community Land Trust, Woodhaven Community Housing and all three Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Central Oregon.


“Sonia has been an invaluable community partner in so many ways,” said DeeDee Johnson, VP of Homeowner Services at Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity. “She has guided her staff in education of shared clients and future Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity homeowners. She has been involved on our selection committee over the years and has provided insight that has helped to shape our process and policy. She has shared continuing education opportunities that help better the work of affordable housing counselors in our region. In addition, I have seen Sonia at work statewide as an advocate for housing and related programs for marginalized communities. She brings thoughtful and unique awareness and insight to all her work and partnerships. I am grateful for her service to our community.”


“Oregon’s housing crisis continues to keep affordable homeownership out of reach for many community members,” said Claire Duncan, executive director at First Story. “The HomeSource program puts families on a path toward asset-building, financial stability and economic mobility. We couldn’t do our work without valuable partners like NeighborImpact and Sonia.”


“Kôr’s partnership with HomeSource is an integral part of supporting first-time homebuyers accomplish their goal of owning a home in Central Oregon,” said Tess Freeman, Kôr Community Land Trust outreach coordinator. “With Sonia’s and HomeSource’s support we are able to provide resources and counseling to serve potential homebuyers no matter where they are on their homeownership journey.”

The importance of Home Source programming was highlighted in a recent Financial Wellness Scorecard released by the State Treasurer’s office, which is viewable here. According to the Score Card, the share of median household income needed to purchase a home in Bend or Redmond was 64 percent. Compare that to Astoria, 70 percent, or Klamath Falls, 35 percent. One third of local renters and homeowners pay more than 30 percent of income to rent or mortgage each month. Households are considered “rent-burdened” when they pay more than 30% of their monthly income to housing expense. Jefferson County residents had the third-highest level of subprime credit ratings of any county in the state with 22.4 percent of households falling into that category. (Crook’s rate was 17.4 percent; Deschutes rate was 14.4 percent.) The data presented also show that among Central Oregon households, 30-35 percent were debt burdened—about the same as the three counties in the Portland Metro Area.

“The report demonstrates the importance of work being done by Sonia and the HomeSource team,” said NeighborImpact Executive Director Scott Cooper. “With the sponsorship of organizations such as NeighborWorks America, we are able to help Central Oregonians make significant financial investments in themselves which in turn puts them on a path to a more secure economic future for themselves and their children. We’re pretty proud of that group and thrilled to see them recognized.”

About NeighborImpact: NeighborImpact is a private non-profit governed by a board of directors drawn from across the community. Since 1985, NeighborImpact has led the region in developing solutions and bringing resources to Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. We help meet the basic needs of Central Oregonians, build economic security and create a community where everyone thrives. NeighborImpact receives federal, state and local grants, foundation grants and donations from individuals and businesses in our community. To learn more about NeighborImpact please visit 


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