Our mission is to help our community’s families establish financial self-sufficiency through quality education and counseling in order to establish a foundation that translates to long-term security including the need for safe housing, good employment, and building assets for housing security housing stability, homeownership, and financial security. Through one-on-one counseling, classroom education, and fostering accountability, we succeed.
Families who are financially self-sufficient help create a more vital and thriving community and that is a benefit to all of us.
CHRC–now doing business as The Lighthouse Resource Center–has been serving our community for nearly twenty-five years through its comprehensive financial counseling and education services as building financial stability matters! Families who are financially self-sufficient—or fit—help create a more vital and thriving community. We’ve addressed the tough issues of mortgage default, foreclosure and mortgage modifications. Today, we work with families in financial crisis–when there are too many barriers that prevent them from obtaining housing or may jeopardize their current lifestyle.
Being financially fit doesn’t mean rich! It means understanding what resources you have available to provide for you and your family and then knowing how to manage them for your benefit. Families and individuals who struggle with very little resources meet with our counselors to plan their road map to financial recovery. Each step they take from knowing their credit report and what that score says about them to settling a debt or making a payment is a milestone that we celebrate. Whether our clients seek homeownership or housing stability or access to better employment or lower interest or insurance rates, they know that as a non-profit, HUD certified housing/financial counseling agency, we are here to help them reach their goals.
Our certified financial counselors meet with our clients in classroom settings and one-on-one counseling. We address the issues that no one wants to talk about—mortgage default and foreclosure, poor credit management, too much debt, not being able to get credit—barriers to financial stability and a better life for them and their families.
Agency Background – Meeting the Need
The Center was the outcome of eighteen months of intensive research that was conducted by the Community Reinvestment Alliance (CRA) Working Group appointed by the city of Vancouver in 1993. Research revealed there was a wide array of home ownership assistance programs available for low/moderate income first time homebuyers but the knowledge of the availability was not widespread. The principal recommendation of this group was the formation of the Housing Center in 1995 to remove barriers to homeownership by facilitating the process through education and counseling. Soon after, the agency incorporated as a private non-profit 501(c)(3). For many years it has served as the only housing/financial counseling agency within our community that has its HUD certification, demonstrating that it not only meets but exceeds national housing counseling standards.
The Climate Today
The economic downturn had a devastating effect on our community as it has eroded the security and stability of our families and individuals throughout Clark County, Washington. Unemployment figures for Clark County (reported in April 2012) reached over 15%–the highest the county had experienced to date and among the highest in the state. And a half a dozen years later, the effects of that time continue to reverberate with a housing crisis and very little affordable housing available. A greater number of families with children, veterans returning from war, and households who had lost jobs and their homes have become the new faces of the homeless. These are the very families who once enjoyed a lifestyle that allowed them to contribute to the vitality and stability of the community through homeownership. We see more of our community members who continue to struggle with debt and with little knowledge of how to take charge of the process towards the rebuilding of financial stability. This lack of understanding and the accumulation of debt along with poor credit scores serves as the growing barrier when looking for housing, obtaining insurance, or getting a job. It is the Center they turn to for assistance with debt management and the tools necessary to rebuilding credit and establishing a solid financial footing.
The Agency Today: Expanding programs to address growing needs
The Lighthouse Resource Center continues to offer its comprehensive homebuyer/ownership classes and counseling but has expanded its programs, services and one-on-one counseling to meet the increased demands of its community in southwest Washington. It has developed public/private partnerships with the local city and county government administrations and social service agencies to bring their clients as well as the greater community, the high standards and best practices the agency has incorporated into administering its financial literacy and counseling program.
Whom do we serve?
The enter primarily serves—but is not limited to—individuals and families from Clark County and Southwest Washington and from Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington Counties in Oregon. Most clients of LRC are of low to moderate income and seek our services to assist them in building towards a stronger financial future and housing stability. We have guidelines and procedures that protect the confidentiality of our clients and promote consumer information, the impartial nature of our services, and the mission and values of our organization. Only trained and certified staff provide the one-on-one counseling.
Orientations and classes are free.
We believe every individual who attends our classes or orientations to receive quality financial education and/or counseling to make informed decisions about financial choices including homebuying, credit repair or budgeting, has the right to receive it free, regardless of their ability to pay. Our one-on-one counseling is based on income with most of the clients receiving it free or a very little charge.
LRC works with our community and beyond
In addition to our direct services, the Center’s staff is actively engaged in community partnering to promote financial stability and literacy through the statewide Asset Building Coalition. It actively partners with Vancouver Housing Authority, Salvation Army, PIC, SHARE and other agencies to provide their clients with a skill-set that can lead them to an independence from private or government support and on to financial stability.