On January 28, 2015, Portland City Council unanimously voted to accept our recommendations for how to invest $20 million in the North and Northeast neighborhoods and address the ongoing threat of displacement.
We were honored to be joined by Bishop Steven Holt of the International Fellowship Family, Rev. Dr. T. Allen Bethel of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, Cat Goughnour of PAALF, Andrew Colas of Colas Construction, Dr. Mark Strong of Life Change Church, and other community representatives as we presented our plan to increase affordable housing in North and Northeast Portland, and to help current residents stay in their homes.
"This strategy is about helping to keep people where they are or, in some cases, helping them come back to the neighborhoods where they grew up, where they worship, where they have community ties. It factors in the needs of an entire community, from the elders who want to age in place and one day pass down their family homes, to young renters wanting to find housing they can afford near family and community, to those wanting the security of buying their own home." — Commissioner Dan Saltzman, January 28, 2015
We combed through hundreds of stories and testimonials shared by community members to develop recommendations that we could be sure would respond to the real-life needs of those impacted by or at risk of displacement.
The $20 million will be divided among the main priorities we heard from the community: increasing affordable rentals, creating opportunities for home ownership, preventing displacement (particularly among the elderly and disabled) through home repair programs, and acquiring land for future affordable housing development. Highlights include:
- $4.5 million will be used to redevelop land on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (between Cook and Ivy) for affordable rental housing with family-sized units. We anticipate 40-80 new units from this investment, plus ground-floor commercial space to support neighborhood businesses.
- $2.4 million will go towards Down Payment Assistance Loans (DPAL) to help an additional 40 households into home ownership over the next three years. Click here to learn about DPAL. Another $2.6 million will build 32 new affordable homes for purchase in the area.
- $3.2 million will allow us to provide home repair funding assistance up to $40,000 for 80 households. Another $800,000 will fund 160 smaller grants for installing wheelchair ramps, grab bars, and other critical repairs so that seniors and those with disabilities can remain safely in their homes.
- $3 million will be dedicated to this longer-term strategy, which protects properties from market rate development and reserves them for affordable housing.
More details on the recommended investments can be found here.
Many of the challenges we heard from community members dealt with issues of access and economic opportunity as much as they did with housing, so we are also developing new policies and practices to address those issues.
To begin with, those displaced from "the study area" (see map) or who are at risk will be given priority access to housing developed through this initiative.
We will also work to ensure that projects funded through this initiative support economic opportunity within the community, starting with new standards around minority subcontracting and workforce training.
Click here for the full list of new practices and policies in the housing plan.
Next, we will begin work to recruit an Oversight Committee of community members to monitor our progress and to ensure that we are meeting our goals. We will continue to provide updates as this work develops and we encourage you to bring your questions to our February 9 community forum — or submit them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org