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Our partners at Oregon Opportunity Network invited leaders from the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) and Commissioner Dan Saltzman's office to speak as panelists yesterday at their public forum series.
Brendan Finn, Chief of Staff to the Commissioner, addressed many topics of interest to the audience, including how our City's bureaus work together to create complete neighborhoods, how equity and location play a role in choosing the projects in which we invest and opportunities to build and preserve homes for residents at various income levels.
Housing Bureau Director Traci Manning spoke about the Bureau's update to our Strategic Plan, which will have a narrower focus on outcomes and bust silos around our work to better serve our residents who fall on a continuum of housing needs. Traci also updated the audience on the joint governance with Multnomah County, City of Portland and Home Forward, as was first introduced in the Reset to our community's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness. This will help prioritize how we direct our limited resources. It will also leverage affordable housing and services investments to bring more services into housing for our partners.
Assistant Housing Director Javier Mena gave more detail on the Bureau's Equity Agenda and upcoming Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), which will be released on March 17 in the amount of $17.5 million. This NOFA will focus on households earning up to 60% MFI, with an additional preference for households 0%-30% MFI, our city’s most vulnerable population. This NOFA is another opportunity for PHB to emphasize our Equity Agenda, in terms of contracting with minority, women and emerging small business (MWESB) subcontractors and providers of professional services. Javier also discussed a Request for Funding Proposal (RFP) for $4.2 million in February, which will help transition residents living in affordable housing units into sustainable homeownership. Homeownership helps stabilize families and communities, so kids can grow up in one school system and create long-term connections and support networks that will make them successful in school and life. This is a priority of both Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman and our Bureau.