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Portland Housing Bureau

Solving the unmet housing needs of the people of Portland.

Phone: 503-823-2375

fax: 503-823-2387

421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204

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VIDEO: Frank Sinatra tribute artist and formerly homeless veteran shares story of finding a home

John English is a singer, performer, single father, veteran -- and one of the many success stories to come out of our community's work to end veteran homelessness. Learn more about John's journey and how Portlanders are stepping forward to be part of the solution.

Dressed in classic Hollywood black and white, John English is the picture of perfection. The  tribute artist, who performs with the same style, grace and ease as ol’ blue eyes himself, has earned performances throughout the Northwest.  At lounges, music venues, weddings, special events, even Portland International Airport. The 60-year-old performer, father and veteran makes it look easy but behind his success is a hard-fought battle. After a series of unfortunate events last year, English and his son were homeless.  

Today, the family has a spacious two bedroom apartment in Southwest Portland. They were able to find temporary housing and eventually a permanent home with access to vouchers, funding and help from the many community partners dedicated to a Home for Everyone. For English, the final piece of the puzzle was a benevolent landlord and property manager willing to give him a shot at a vacant rental, despite challenges on his rental application.

“We’ve got an unprecedented amount of resources and agencies working to support this effort, including a commitment that no expenses will be left unpaid and a 24-hour response team available to landlords who are willing to work with our homeless veterans,”  explained Home for Everyone Initiative Director Marc Jolin.  “Our biggest challenge is finding units for veterans.” 

A low-vacancy, high-demand rental market is one of the challenges in an effort to house local homeless veterans by 2016. The effort coincides with a federal initiative to end veterans’ homelessness by the end of the year.  In Multnomah County, an estimated 690 homeless veterans need housing which translates to two veterans per day. So far, an estimated 300 veterans have been housed but continued support from the rental market community is necessary to fulfill the promise.     

“We’re asking landlords to not look at the past but look at where that veteran is headed and what that veteran is bringing and importantly what are the support services that veteran has," says Jolin. "Although a veteran might not look good on paper, they can actually be very successful tenant because if given the opportunity to move in they have the support and resources of the community behind them.”

Please share John English’s story and help house other homeless veterans in our community by giving them a first shot at a vacant rental.     

“Permanent housing is not just a dream it’s a reality, you can make that reality by tapping into the resources.” -- John English, Sinatra tribute artist and formerly homeless veteran.

Click here to see more photos from John's story and learn how you can help a homeless veteran in our community.


Team Selected for South Waterfront Development

Bridge Housing Corporation has been selected to develop at least 200 units of affordable housing on SW River Parkway

The Portland Development Commission (PDC) and the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) have selected the team of Bridge Housing Corporation/Williams & Dame for the development of RiverPlace Parcel 3 in the North Macadam Urban Renewal area, a 2.01-acre site at 2095 SW River Parkway.

PDC and PHB issued a Request for Proposals in April 2015 for the redevelopment of the parcel. The RFP required a minimum of 200 units of affordable housing at 0-60 percent median family income. The RFP generated three responses, which were then reviewed by an evaluation committee composed of staff from PDC, PHB, and the City of Portland, as well as local stakeholders and affordable housing community representatives.

The Bridge Housing proposal included 203 units of affordable housing as well as 162 market rate housing units, 238 parking stalls, and 30,000 square feet of ground-floor retail. As many as 90 housing units will be affordable to households earning less than 30 percent of the Median Family Income ($24,250 or below for a family of four), thanks to a commitment from Home Forward to dedicate 80 rent assistance vouchers to the project, including 10 for homeless veterans.

“We are very happy to be moving forward with Bridge to bring such a significant amount of deeply affordable housing to one of our most amenity-rich areas,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PHB. “We are especially excited about the mix of two- and three-bedroom units proposed by the Bridge team, which will allow more children and families to benefit from the great livability and opportunities of the South Waterfront.”

PDC Executive Director Patrick Quinton said, “To have Bridge Housing Corporation pursue this opportunity, with its long history of affordable housing projects on the West Coast, speaks to the overall strength of the Portland market and South Waterfront in particular. I am confident this project will add to the vibrancy and energy of this area.”

PDC, PHB and the Bridge Housing team will now enter into a due diligence and negotiation phase, with the goal of reaching a purchase and sale agreement on the property. The total project cost is estimated at $93 million, with at least $19 million of that coming from urban renewal funds.

Construction Begins on Drug and Alcohol-Free Housing Project

Miracles Central breaks ground in Northeast Portland.

Close to 80 people gathered in Northeast Portland Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Miracles Central Apartment building. The collaboration between the Portland Housing Bureau, Central City Concern, and the Miracles Club will provide affordable housing combined with services for adults who wish to live in an alcohol and drug-free building. The model is based on the Miracles Club Apartments, a similar building on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, specializing in culturally competent recovery support for the African American community.

“The stability that comes with an affordable home is key for people who are committed to recovery and who are working toward a new start,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “This project helps us bring affordable housing and critical services back into this community. The City is proud to offer its partnership and support.” 

Michael Booker, Interim Executive Director of The Miracles Club said, “With this building, somebody will get a chance to get their first apartment, get a chance to stand on their own two feet, do their recovery and be accountable.”

With an expected completion date of July 2016, the Miracles Central Apartments will consist of 47 units of affordable housing, including 28 apartments affordable to lower-income households earning up to 50% of the area median income ($25,750 for an individual). Central City Concern and Miracles Club will use the building’s ground floor for program-related services, including meetings and counseling. On-site staff will help tenants with life-skills, employment readiness, and eviction prevention, and work closely with tenants to develop action plans that may include steps like workforce development or education. 

The Portland Housing Bureau dedicated $7.1 million in capital funding toward plus the land. Other major funders include Oregon Housing & Community Services, National Equity Fund and JP Morgan Chase. Also contributing to the project are Banner Bank, The Collins Foundation, Downtown Development Group, Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, Legacy Health Systems, Mitzvah Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation, Providence Health & Services, UnitedHealthcare, and USI Northwest.

Multicultural Development Group is the project developer with Guardian Real Estate Services LLC leading the project, Carleton Hart Architecture is the lead architect and LMC Construction is the general contractor.

The Portland Housing Advisory Commission Announces New Members

Commissioner Dan Saltzman and the Portland Housing Bureau have announced the appointment of six new members to the Portland Housing Advisory Commission (PHAC). The volunteer public body is charged with advising the bureau, the Housing Commissioner, and Portland City Council on housing and homelessness policy, strategy and resource issues, as well as promoting improvements within the bureau and the larger housing system, highlighting opportunities for influence, and providing a forum for public input on housing issues.

The new additions to the commission include: Maxine Fitzpatrick, Executive Director/CEO of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative, Inc.; Stephen Green, Assistant Vice-President & Market Manager at Albina Community Bank; Nate McCoy, Executive Director of the National Association of Minority Contractors—Oregon; Betty Dominguez, Director of Policy & Equity for Home Forward; Daniel Steffey, Affordable Housing Development Professional; And Cobi Jackson, Vice President and Community Development Officer for Oregon and Southwest Washington for Wells Fargo Bank.

“On behalf of the Housing Bureau and City Council, I’d like to welcome our new commissioners to PHAC. We deeply appreciate the willingness of these volunteers to serve,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “PHAC’s members bring expertise from all parts of the housing system to the discussions that move housing policy in our city. This diversity of experience and perspectives is a tremendous asset to us as we develop programs and policies to serve the people of Portland.”

For more information on the Portland Housing Advisory Commission, click here.

PHAC welcomes the public to attend meetings, give testimony, or submit feedback. Meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, and other materials are available online here.

Commissioner Saltzman Appoints New Housing Bureau Director

Kurt Creager will take over as Housing Bureau director in August.

Image of Kurt CreagerCommissioner Dan Saltzman announced today his appointment of Kurt Creager as the new Director of the Portland Housing Bureau.

“Kurt Creager is a proven leader in both the private and public sector in the field of affordable housing,” stated Saltzman. “He brings substantial policy and resource development experience, as well as a proven track record of the development of thousands of units of affordable housing.”

Creager’s appointment follows a national recruitment to fill the position. Commissioner Saltzman and his team, bureau employees, representatives from partner organizations and community members were part of the selection process.

Commissioner Saltzman sought a Director with strong leadership skills, experience in affordable housing policy and resource development, public and private sector experience, management and a commitment to equity. “Kurt brings a creative approach and skill-set Portland needs to increase our supply of affordable housing.”

Kurt has served as the Director of Housing and Community Development in Fairfax County, Virginia; the Director of Housing and Community Development for Otak, a Portland-based design firm; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Vancouver Housing Authority in Vancouver, WA. He held similar positions previously with Arizona State University and Metro King County.

Creager earned a B.S. in Environmental Planning & Architectural Graphics from Western Washington University and completed the Kennedy School of Government State & Local Public Executive Program at Harvard University.

“I am honored to be leading the Portland Housing Bureau,” said Kurt Creager. “I look forward to aiding community stakeholders, affordable housing developers and policy makers in the creation and preservation of affordable housing throughout the City.”

 He will assume his duties on August 10, 2015.