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Article Archives: Oregon

Small Loans, Big Returns
Ways to Work (WtW) is a nonprofit, community development financial institution that helps lower-income people. WtW is designed to help borrowers attain financial independence and advance economically by having money to purchase dependable used cars to get to work or school. Since 1996, WtW has originated nearly 12,000 loans for more than $31 million and the average auto loan amounts to an average $3,400. Results of a 2006 WtW evaluation indicate that borrowers reported an average increase of 41 percent in their take-home pay. In addition, 67 percent of WtW borrowers report that they have used conventional financial services subsequent to receiving their WtW loans.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, WtW makes its loans from 43 offices in 21 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

WtW offices are located in social service agencies affiliated with the Alliance of Children and Families (ACF). ACF agencies screen and provide financial education to borrowers and service the loans. WtW local offices provide financial education to more than three persons for every individual who receives a loan. Investors in WtW include several national foundations, the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury Department, local United Way offices, and financial institutions. Banks can be involved by investing in the national WtW loan fund, by referring to local WtW offices prospective borrowers who do not meet conventional credit criteria, by participating in local WtW loan committees, and by providing grants and in-kind donations to WtW.

For more information, contact President Jeff Faulkner at (414) 359-1448 ext. 2, e-mail him, or visit his Web site.

[Community Developments Investments, Fall 2008]

REACH CDC in Portland, Oregon
REACH CDC Inc. is one of the most successful affordable housing providers in Portland, Oregon. REACH focuses on providing affordable rental housing targeted at low-income residents of Portland, many of whom were previously homeless.

The projects range from single-room-occupancy structures and multifamily properties to single-family housing. REACH develops and manages its projects throughout the city. Since its inception in 1986, REACH has added more than 1,000 units to the city's affordable housing stock. However, the organization is considering expanding its services into the surrounding areas.

In addition to its housing efforts, REACH runs a home-repair program called the Community Builders Program for homeowners who have low income or are disabled. To date, more than 3,500 repairs have been provided for more than 1,000 families. REACH also provides other services for its tenants including job training and an individual development account or IDA program for its teen residents called YouthSave, which provides financial literacy and matched savings accounts.

REACH's program support comes from public and private partnerships including loans, investments, such as equity equivalent investments, and grants from local government, financial institutions, and philanthropic organizations. The organization continues to entertain new partnership opportunities especially in construction and permanent financing for new developments.

For more information, visit the Web site.

RARE Helps Rural Communities
Resource Assistance for Rural Environments (RARE), administered through the University of Oregon, is a program aimed at helping rural communities improve their capacity to impact economic, social, and environmental conditions by providing trained graduate students who will live and work there for a year. RARE is currently supported through grants from several state and federal agencies, with each participating community providing $17,000 of the approximately $37,000 needed to place, train, and support a full-time RARE participant.

For more information, please visit RARE's Web site www.uoregon.edu/~rare/.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring 2003]