Building $tability, Retaining Visibility

The project makes systemic changes that foster financial stability among populations that, once homeless, become invisible to communities.

Photo of Suzette Chapman
7 22

Written by


  • I am not an employee of BNY Mellon, or an immediate family member of a BNY Mellon employee
  • I am over 18 years of age
  • My organization is incorporated as a non-profit, for-profit, or hybrid organization, or I have a partner that is incorporated and could accept funds on my behalf
  • I have already piloted my initiative and have some initial evidence of impact
  • My organization is headquartered and creating impact in the United States


  • Woman

Where are you making a difference?

Oregon: Bend (97701, 97702, 97703, 97707, 97708, 97709); La Pine (97739); Redmond (97756), Sisters (97759); Prineville (07754); Madras (97741)

Focus Areas (required)

  • Business & Social Enterprise
  • Children & Youth
  • Development & Prosperity

Date Started

NeighborImpact: 01/01/1985 HomeSource: 6/12/2002

Organization Type

  • nonprofit/NGO/citizen sector

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)


  • $500k - $1m

Website or social media URL(s) (optional)

Facebook URL

1.Founding Story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed.

I noticed a woman about my age outside a store in Bend, holding a sign that read, “Anything helps. I have 3 kids and no place to live.” When left the store, I noticed one of her children - a girl not much older than my own son - digging through a trashcan. I could tell this was a new situation for the mother: her skin was not dry from the elements, and she looked directly at me. I often see people pretending NOT to see those experiencing homelessness, as if they are "invisible.” I do not have millions of dollars to solve the problem, nor do I believe that money alone will solve it. But I refuse to pretend that the mother I saw and others like her are invisible. I work to give them skills to avoid eviction, homelessness and hunger.

2. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

A large population of Central Oregonians lives paycheck to paycheck, does not track expenses, and irregularly uses traditional banking products. Most of the persons we serve need assistance beyond emergency intervention to improve their housing and financial prospects. This project responds to an overdue focus on inclusion and equity. We sense a critical timeframe for targeting and expanding opportunities for minority and underserved residents.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The project will present financially-stabilizing resources to traditionally-excluded households that can most benefit from them. Financial education will help minority, marginalized and underserved households make sound financial decisions, withstand financial emergencies and grow assets over time. The goal: foster long-term housing stability by equipping these households with the tools that sustain stable residents. The project will focus on renters at risk of eviction and homeless households that obtain rent subsidies. We will target persons earning at or below 80% AMI, women and people of color. We will introduce budgeting, traditional banking and financial systems, adding a tenant education curriculum. HomeSource Specialists will deliver financial education, coaching and counseling. Participants will learn to plan for rent and utilities, create a budget, reduce debt, build assets and save. Our Housing Stablization program will provide incentives: households that complete HomeSource workshops will receive $750 to remove housing barriers (back rent; utility debt). For households without barriers, Housing Stabilization will apply $750 toward rent, deposits or utility assistance.

4. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of how your solution is working to solve the problem.

Valerie graduated in February from our Ready to Rent program. “I was a domestic violence victim so I ended up at the shelter. Before that had happened I had a housing voucher, and my landlord after seven years didn't want us to be there and he was charging me $200 a month for late fees on a garbage bill, even though he was supposed to be paying the garbage. So this class has showed me that he can't do that, and I will be meeting up with an attorney. But since I'm doing this single-person thing for the first time since I was 14 years old, this class has given me one more tool in my box. It's shown me how I can rent things. Even though it was only four days it was a completion of something. This name in itself means something to me. They have Migrant Head Start and I was on Policy Council for La Pine. I went to Salem; I advocated for the kids. And now I'm learning to advocate for Valerie."

5a. Too many people in the U.S. have unmet needs for financial products and services. How is your work reaching a population(s) that is currently underserved? If it is not reaching an underserved population yet, how might it in the near future?

We reach underserved populations by expanding our financial capability services in rural, underserved communities, to include geographically-diverse areas and culturally-diverse communities (farmworkers, Native Americans and Latinos. Referrals will originate from the Latino Community Association of Central Oregon, THRIVE and NeighborImpact’s other programs. We expect that 30% of participants will be women, and 30% will will be people of color. A majority of clients will have housing barriers.

5b. Please specify if the population you are reaching is underserved due to any of the following characteristics:

  • ability
  • geography
  • immigration status
  • work status
  • language
  • race/ethnicity
  • gender
  • socio-economic class

6. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

No agency in our region has adopted our service delivery approach toward homelessness. This project’s uniqueness lies in combining financial education and skill building with funds to remove barriers. HomeSource’s financial education and asset-building programs are established; we have expertise; the programs have proven benefits (including to minorities); and our knowledge of the community allows us to offer a variety and depth of financial counseling services that no other organization in Central Oregon provides. We have recognition for our proven success with financial integration efforts.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Our mission to support people and strengthen communities drives us to expand our financial inclusion and asset-building services to affect real change in clients’ lives. HomeSource's goal for FY 2017-18 is to serve 650 clients; as of May 31, 2018, HomeSource had served 657 persons; 410 were new clients. We report the following, which compares all of FY16-17 to just the first quarter of 2018: IDA clients who opened new savings accounts: 43 vs. 52 Participants who increased their savings: 173 vs: 159 Participants who purchased homes: 65 vs. 41 Participants who avoided foreclosure: 67 vs. 98 Participants who decreased their debt after individual coaching: 4 vs. 97 Participants who improved their credit scores: 38 vs. 45 Participants who received financial capability appointments: 182 vs. 192 Participants who completed the entire Financial Workshop series: 25 vs. 21

8a. Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling your impact?

Strategies for scaling the project’s impact center on geographic spread to rural areas. Our work in financial education has yielded strategies that we will apply to this project: We promote asset building as a way of life, not as a “program;" reaching residents means stretching our boundaries to meet their needs instead of their meeting ours; we will be present in the areas where residents need us; we will leverage the strengths of partner organizations and trusted community leaders; we will maintain office space where people are. We leverage our strengths and count on partners to use theirs.

8b. If applicable, which of the following scaling strategies have you launched?

  • Organizational Growth
  • Large Scale Partnerships
  • Trainings, Consultation
  • Federations, Associations

9. Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

NeighborImpact solicits some grant funds for HomeSource. We have two grant proposals submitted at this time, to Meyer Memorial Trust and Central Oregon Association of Realtors. We also request grant support from financial institutions, foundations and local businesses. We will solicit continued support from NeighborWorks America, NeighborWorks Umpqua IDA and the Home Ownership Association. We will engage major donors, foundations and corporations to fill gaps, and we will maximize resources.

10. Team: What is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Nine staff, three of them bilingual, have decades of experience with non-profits and hold degrees in social work, government, business and banking. A HUD-designated Housing Counseling Agency, we have the expertise to deliver the highest-quality counseling and financial education. NeighborImpact is part of NeighborWorks America, which that provides training and resources that bolster capacity. We have access to best practices and technical assistance from the nation’s best asset building models.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 - Which of the following categories do you identify with? (optional)

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French)
  • Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin (for example: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuba, Salvadoran, Dominican, Colombian)
  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani)
  • Native American or Alaska Native (for example: Navajo Nation, Blackfeet Tribe, Mayan, Aztec, Native Village of Barrow Inupial Traditional Government, Nome Eskimo Community)
  • Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (for example: Native Hawaiian, Samoan, Chamorro, Tongan, Fijian, Marshallese)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 - Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities? (optional)

  • Communities of color
  • Disability community
  • Low-income community
  • LGBTQ community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall, would you champion this entry as a excellent example to move forward to the next phase of the challenge and become a semifinalist?

Yes, absolutely! - 33.3%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 33.3%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 0%

Maybe - 33.3%

Maybe/no - 66.7%

No - 0%

3. Is this entry IMPACTFUL on financial wellbeing?

Yes, absolutely! - 66.7%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry SUSTAINABLE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 33.3%

Maybe - 66.7%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

5. What are some of the HIGHLIGHTS of strengths of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 100%

Clarity of Model - 100%

Clarity of Writing - 33.3%

Idea Originality - 0%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 33.3%

Impact measurement - 33.3%

Impact Potential - 33.3%

Financial Sustainability - 0%

Team - 0%

Partnerships - 0%

Potential to scale - 0%

6. What are some of the areas for IMPROVEMENT of this entry?

Connection to underserved community - 0%

Clarity of Model - 0%

Clarity of Writing - 0%

Idea Originality - 100%

Understanding of the marketplace or sector - 0%

Impact measurement - 33.3%

Impact Potential - 0%

Financial Sustainability - 66.7%

Team - 0%

Partnerships - 33.3%

Potential to scale - 33.3%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Amie Ferreras

I have worked with Head Start for 11 years and I just moved to Central Oregon in 2017. I am very impressed with how NeighborImpact is not only serving low-income families through quality childcare but also educating our community in a variety of areas that are desperately lacking in other organizations in which I have worked.

Photo of Victoria Vale

The work done by NeighborImpact changes lives.  It is an amazing organization!  Standing Ovation!

Photo of Taylor Leeland

Working for NeighborImpact as a Teacher advocate has been an amazing experience! The organization supports families in so many ways and is always ready to help when it's needed. ❤

Photo of Elaine Salmonson

NeighborImpact has a wonderful mission that it successfully fulfills around the community. One over-looked aspect of NeighborImpact's contribution to the local community is the workforce that it employs. Nearly 200 local workers are on the payroll at NeighborImpact in jobs as diverse as the food truck driver who drives around three counties daily picking up/delivering food and the live-in shelter support who provides residents with coverage 24/7 and the cook who with her staff makes over 100,000+ child meals a year and the Financial Adviser who assists many, many local first time home buyers and the Head Start teacher advocate who daily leads a classroom of 20 wiggling, playful 3-4 years olds and the weatherization auditor who crawls under houses where spiders live to check out insulation and on and on and on. The NeighborImpact workforce is comprised of workers who live and breath the mission daily. They consistently rank us in the annual Top 100 Oregon Non-profits to Work For anonymous survey conducted by Oregon Business Magazine.

Photo of Scott Cooper

I can't emphasize enough the challenges that face our rural community around housing, homelessness and financial capability. The portion of the community that is "rent burdened" (more than 50% of household income going toward rent) exceeds 50% at some income levels. Foreclosure rates remain high despite economic recovery and demand for mortgage assistance continues. Seniors find themselves in need of reverse mortgage counseling as they struggle to make ends meet, and there is an overall need for financial counseling. NeighborImpact's HomeSource fills those gaps and many more in a community where real choices have to be made every day between rent, utilities, food, childcare, transportation and other essentials. Our community is fortunate to have a high-performing counseling agency in its midst. Sustaining it and expanding those services is critical to maintaining quality of life and sustaining a vibrant economy that works for everyone.

Photo of kimberly bowden

NeighborImpact Head Start has nurtured and educated  3-5 children and families for Kindergarten Readiness for many years. Our goals of empowering change, meeting critical needs and offering diverse services meet many  families where they are in most need. Funding is crucial for the continued development and growth of these families and the future ones to come.

Photo of Judy Starr

NeighborImpact houses the homeless, feeds the hungry, keeps people warm in winter and provides weatherization for homes to reduce costs. The organization believes strongly in not only helping families in need of emergency assistance but also providing support services that help them become self-sufficient. Funding for our programs is crucial in meeting the long-term needs for individuals and families who need a hand up.