When COVID-19 Changed Everything, Oregon State Credit Union Was There


In his winter 2019 newsletter to donors and partners, Home Life Executive Director Dave Zaback shared that the booming economy and record low unemployment presented challenges for his organization in hiring and staffing, but he was optimistic about what 2020 would bring in terms of fundraising and financial assistance. Little did he know a global pandemic was coming that would change everything.

Home Life is a private, non-profit (501(c)(3) organization founded in November 1972 in Corvallis, Oregon, to provide safe, integrated, community living services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Family members of people with developmental disabilities wanted alternative opportunities that would provide for challenge and growth and ultimately lead to more independent living. The idea was to create a ’home-like’ environment, avoiding placement in the state institution.

On March 23, Oregon Governor Kate Brown issued an executive “stay-at-home” order stay. For Home Life, the order interrupted services its clients relied upon, including employment training, transportation to a job, education, and valuable leisure activities. Even some routine medical care and counseling were canceled or had to be delivered remotely. Zaback said, “Our staff has been under this additional stress while they try and fill the void 16 hours per day, 7 days a week.”   

Zaback went on to say that the impact of COVID-19 and the stay at home order resulted in lost revenue from services to many clients whose families have chosen to keep their adult child at their family home for safety reasons.

“We also have lost revenue from employment services and incurred huge overtime expenses due to staff shortages related to people’s fears of working in a congregate setting. We’ve also lost a few employees.”

The Department of Human Services required Home Life staff working in homes to wear personal protective equipment, and only essential workers were allowed in the homes, which meant not even family members could visit. This isolation added to the uncertainty for families, staff, managers, and clients.

Home Life has been a business member of Oregon State Credit Union for years. In October 2019, Oregon State Credit Union became the title sponsor of the Great Pumpkin Run, a fundraising event for Home Life that’s been a part of the community for 30 years. The partnership between the two organizations made sense. Oregon State Credit Union’s core values of member focus, integrity, education, cooperative spirit, passion and social responsibility matched up well with Home Life and its mission.

The credit union reached out to Home Life to offer help applying for an SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. Home Life desperately needed PPP funding to continue to operate and provide services to those who depend on it. Oregon State Credit Union team members Corrie Ottomeier and Josh Whisenhunt played an important role in helping Home Life with the application process.

“Corrie was very responsive and was clearly motivated to help us get what we needed,” Zaback said. “We spoke after hours and even on the weekends to make sure we submitted the application accurately and quickly.”

Zaback explained that getting the PPP loan allowed Home Life to stay in business and provide services to their vulnerable population.

“It allowed us to meet payroll obligations without having to dip into our meager reserves. It allowed us to meet overtime expenses and cover lost revenue from clients and from vocational programs that we could not provide.” Zaback said. “We were very pleased and thankful for the help we got from our credit union.” 

Oregon State Credit Union President and CEO, Rick Hein said, “Home Life is a local non-profit that serves people in our community in a very special way. It is part of the credit union movement and our history, serving the underserved, or unserved. For us, providing this financial solution for Home Life was a source of great joy for our team because we know the care and compassion and value they bring to people in our community.”

Oregon State Credit Union moved quickly to offer the Paycheck Protection Program to serve small-business members. As of June 1, the credit union has funded 306 loans totaling $19,137,207. That’s an average of $62,539 per loan. For Home Life, this loan made all the difference.

Posted in Member News.