Umatilla Tribe Program of the Year:
Reprinted with permission from the CONFEDERATED UMATILLA JOURNAL (CUJ), January 2004 Issue
Roloff's Homeownership Efforts Honored as Top Program
MISSION, OREGON: Barbara Roloff's Homeownership Program, which has taught more than 80 individuals about financial responsibility - the first step toward owning a home, was honored Dec. 19 as the Program of the Year on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
The two-year-old program, part of the Umatilla Reservation Housing Authority managed by Paul Rabb, offers counseling as well as classes for tribal members and employees to learn, among other things, savings goals, spending plans, banks, credit reports, interest rates, insurance and mortgage loans and consumer rights.
Roloff has also ushered tribal members along the path to homeownership, from acquiring land and obtaining loans to seeing construction of houses.
At the banquet, a surprised Roloff was speechless. She later provided comments for he CUJ:
"I couldn't formulate the words on Friday (Dec. 19) to say thank you to everyone. I want to accept this award on behalf of This community and all the people who participated in the financial and homebuyer classes, including the many community stakeholders and department staff who help make this program successful.
"Those who have participated understand that this is not an easy path to follow so really they deserve all the accolades for their hard work.
"It has been a wonderful journey for me to help at a grassroots lever. I congratulate the people who took the difficult path to home ownership, but now they can be role models for others. These classes not only help build wealth and equity, but the also allow people to protect themselves from predatory lenders as well as learning personal finance to save and invest. Our program is about pride and doing it on your own. I love my job, but we have a lot more to achieve."
URHA receives federal grant to expand homeownership program
MISSION, OREGON: A $211,500 federal grant will be used for additional homeownership support services at the Umatilla Reservation Housing Authority (URHA).
The grant will provide money for three years to hire a second employee in the program, which is coordinated by Barbara Roloff, URHA Homeownership Counselor.
The new person will package mortgage loans, help with trust-land conflicts and contribute to homeownership classes.
"We'll be working as a team," said Roloff, who will start in the next series of financial literacy classes this month.
Paul Rabb, UHRA director, said the grant will be used for salary, equipment and supplies.
"This is another step to help tribal members attain home ownership," Rabb said. "Overall, this position will help people process a home loan, from beginning with land to closing a home loan."
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded more than $44 million in grants in December to help public and tribal housing residents become economically self-sufficient and give elderly and people with disabilities supportive services to allow them to live independently. [Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency Program--ROSS Program]
In addition to the federal grants, Washington Mutual recently awarded $20,000 to URHA to continue financial literacy classes. This brings the total contribution by Washington Mutual to $38,000 over the last three years.
"Washington Mutual also has come on board to do lending on the reservation," said Roloff, noting that Wells Fargo was the first mortgage company to offer loans on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.
Meanwhile, a waiting list exists for financial literacy classes...More than 85 people have participated in the classes, which teach money management, savings, goals, credit report, insurance, predatory lending and how to develop a spending plan.
Roloff Thanks Counseling Program Partners
Barbara Roloff, in receiving the award, had many people and agencies to thank, Including:
- Umatilla Reservation Housing Authority (URHA) Commission
- Paul Rabb, URHA Director
- URHA staff and particularly Robin Heehn
- Wells Fargo Mortgage
- Washington Mutual
- Banner Bank
- USDA Rural Development
- US Housing and Urban Development
- US Veterans Administration
- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
- Schools Plus Community Credit Union
- Auto Solutions
- Bank of America
- Bank of Easter Oregon
- Trustime Retirement Plan Specialists Inc.
- Consumer Credit Counseling
- Legal Aide
- Umatilla County Board of Realtors
- Credit Professionals International Association
- Oregon Housing & Community Services
- First Nations Development Institute
- National American Indian Housing Council
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Indian Health Service
- Wildhorse Resort & Casino
Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) departments and programs: Economic and Community Development, Small Business, CUJ, Personal and Workforce Department, Planning, Cultural Resources and Education.