The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) addresses the unmet housing needs of the people of Portland, Oregon. One way we do this is by preserving existing affordable homes, particularly those serving seniors and people with disabilities.
In 2008, PHB identified 11 privately owned buildings at risk of losing their affordability by 2013. Because of their highly desirable locations, more than 700 affordable homes were susceptible to being converted to market-rate rentals or sold as condominiums, displacing vulnerable residents. Under the leadership of Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish and then-Bureau Director Will White—now serving in the office of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley—PHB launched 11X13, a campaign to preserve the affordability of those buildings subsidized by federal rent assistance contracts with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that were set to expire.
The City partnered with the HUD, the State of Oregon, the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH), local nonprofits and private funders. The coalition worked in close coordination for five years, and this spring, the City announced that it had successfully preserved each of the 11 buildings, requiring 60 years of affordability for 700 homes located in Portland’s vibrant and desirable neighborhoods.
11X13 was funded by local, private and federal sources. For every dollar the City invested, we leveraged $4 in private and $5 in federal funds. The City invested $22 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Section 108 loans, and local urban renewal dollars. This leveraged $110 million in private investments and more than $120 million in federal assistance over the next 20 years.
The flexibility of CDBG funds was critical in filling financing gaps throughout this campaign. Without CDBG, the $120 million in federal rent assistance contracts would have been at risk. More importantly, over 700 affordable homes in our community would have been lost.
Click on the names below to hear from residents—many of whom are seniors, disabled and earning very low incomes—telling their stories about what their homes mean to them as they are able to age in place and maintain access to the parks, cultural events and services that our community has to offer.