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421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204
Contact: Martha Calhoon, Portland Housing Bureau
PORTLAND, OR (February 20, 2019) — The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) has announced plans to bring more affordable family housing and Supportive Housing to East Portland. PHB made $7 million in federal funds available last Summer for proposals to develop at least 60 new units of affordable housing with a focus on family-size units that provide two bedrooms or more.
Two East Portland projects have been selected for funding, the Bureau announced today, totaling 126 new affordable units — more than double the number anticipated in the solicitation. Of the new units, 81 will have two or more bedrooms to accommodate families with children, and the projects will provide 18 new units of Supportive Housing.
“These projects respond to the urgent need of families in our community for safe, stable housing they can afford,” said Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. “I’m very happy to be adding these community assets to East Portland – ensuring high-quality, stable homes for the kids who live and go to school there.”
Northwest Housing Alternatives has been selected to develop Powellhurst Place, a new project on SE 122nd Avenue and Harold Street that will consist of 65 one- and two-bedroom apartments, including five units of Supportive Housing.
Innovative Housing Inc. has been awarded funding to add 61 new apartments — from studios to three-bedrooms — to the Garden Park complex on SE 136th Avenue and Powell Blvd. Most of Garden Park’s 63 existing units will also be rehabilitated or completely replaced in the process. Thirteen of the completed units will be designated as Supportive Housing.
“We are thrilled to have the City’s support for our redevelopment of the Garden Park Apartments,” said Innovative Housing’s Executive Director, Sarah Stevenson. “This project will upgrade and nearly double the number of affordable homes that Garden Park can provide for families and individuals struggling to make ends meet.”
Garden Park joins four other affordable housing developments completed or in progress under the City's Powell-Division Transit Project, which commits to developing 300-600 units of affordable housing in tandem with new transit infrastucture along the Powell-Division Corridor. Altogether, there are 387 affordable housing units currently in progress in the Powell-Division Corridor, more than 100 of which are located in East Portland.
The new Supportive Housing achieved through the two projects will also further a shared City and Multnomah County goal of adding 2,000 units of Supportive Housing across the community over the next 10 years. Since the goal was adopted in 2017, more than 500 Supportive Housing units have already opened or are in development.
“Supportive Housing is a compassionate, effective, and proven approach to addressing homelessness because it enables people to get the deeply affordable housing they need, with support services attached,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler. “I applaud our partners to rising to the challenge of adding to this vital infrastructure by integrating this housing option into the vision for how these projects can best serve our neighbors and our community.”
The Portland Housing Advisory Commission (PHAC) is seeking new members. PHAC advises the Portland Housing Bureau's Director, the Housing Commissioner, and Portland City Council on a range of housing policy and program issues to promote improvements within PHB and the larger housing system, advise on issues of equity in access and outcomes for Portlanders in PHB programs, and assist in aligning PHB’s resources and mission during the annual budget process.
PHAC meets monthly. Members are expected to have knowledge or expertise in housing policy and planning, affordable housing financing and development, budget oversight and analysis, resource development to maintain and expand the supply and availability of affordable housing, program development and evaluation, public-private partnership development, and community and intergovernmental relations.
The application is open until February 21, 2019. To talk with someone about this opportunity or to receive assistance completing the application, please contact Jessica Conner at Jessica.Conner@portlandoregon.gov or 503-823-4100.
State and local agencies pair funding for housing and services for the first time in a targeted effort to innovate solutions to chronic homelessness.
(January 10, 2019) – The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB), the Joint Office of Homeless Services, Multnomah County Mental Health & Addiction Services, and Oregon Housing and Community Services, have awarded more than $12 million to two projects that will combine new housing and mental health services in a targeted effort to combat chronic homelessness.
“This innovative pilot is the first of its kind—leveraging state, county and city partnerships in a targeted effort to better use our dollars to address chronic homelessness, with an emphasis on providing crucial mental health services” says Mayor Wheeler. “Homelessness is a national humanitarian crisis. It will take more than cities—but regional, state-wide and federal partnerships to solve it.”
PHB’s Notice of Funding Availability, released this summer, called for innovative, cost-effective proposals to create new Supportive Housing for homeless individuals experiencing mental illness, with a focus on updating the Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) housing model. The funding opportunity marks the first time capital funding to build affordable housing has been bundled with funding for the services vulnerable residents need to thrive in that housing.
Two projects have been awarded the funding. Combined, the projects will create a total of 98 units – nearly double the 50 originally envisioned in the solicitation. Seventy-eight of the new units will provide Supportive Housing.
The Division Street Apartments (pictured above), proposed by Central City Concern and Related Northwest, will provide 40 SRO units of Permanent Supportive Housing and 20 studios, with 40 of the units reserved for extremely low-income individuals experiencing mental illness, including severe mental illness. Central City Concern will be the service provider.
Findley Commons (pictured Right), proposed by Do Good Multnomah and HomeFirst Development, will redevelop an underutilized parking lot at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church on SE Powell Blvd to create 38 units of housing focusing on underserved Veterans, including Veterans of color, women, and extremely-low income Veterans. In this model, SRO units would serve to stabilize Veterans, who could eventually transition into the larger units.
“Some people need more than an apartment key to rebuild their lives. They also need treatment and services,” says Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “For those neighbors, the only answer to homelessness is a home of their own with the right support. This is exactly what these projects represent because everybody needs privacy and a place to call home when working through a crisis.”
Expanding Permanent Supportive Housing over the coming decade by roughly 200 units a year is a critical element of the local strategy to address chronic homelessness. Permanent Supportive Housing combines accessible, affordable housing and the supportive services, including mental health and addiction services.
In addition, Findley Commons will serve as a demonstration project for a new subsidy model combining unsubsidized units and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers. It also models how the city’s faith communities can assist in the local homeless effort by making their excess land available for affordable housing development.
“The benefits of permanent supportive housing are well documented, and this is a proven strategy we will implement statewide,” said Margaret Salazar, Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services. “Oregon Housing and Community Services is thrilled to contribute $2 million to the City of Portland and Multnomah County’s efforts to increase supportive housing and address homelessness and housing instability for Oregon’s most vulnerable community members.”
A new report cites barriers to enforcement of Fair Housing law.
Findings from the latest Fair Housing audit, released today, revealed that in nearly one in four cases, leasing agents had provided adverse differential treatment to prospective renters based on their race or national origin.
The City of Portland contracts annually with the Fair Housing Council of Oregon (FHCO) to conduct random anonymous testing of housing providers to identify potential illegal discrimination as well as other patterns or issues in the city’s rental market. Results are analyzed to identify market trends of concern, areas to target education efforts and, where there is sufficient evidence, to conduct enforcement of Fair Housing violations.
However, this year’s report also cites challenges to successful enforcement of Fair Housing law, including the difficulty of obtaining the services of a private attorney and a lack of funding for enforcement at the state and city level.
To support increased enforcement efforts, the Portland Housing Bureau is releasing a solicitation making up to $200,000 available for one or more community-based organizations to provide a range of renter services for historically underserved communities living in Multnomah County, with an emphasis on direct legal services to enforce Fair Housing and landlord tenant law.
"We want to make sure Portland continues to address these issues as we focus our resources on some of our most vulnerable citizens, realizing there is a lot more work to be done,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler.
Between March 2016 and February 2018, FHCO conducted 45 initial tests of rental properties within the City of Portland. Of these tests, 16 were either positive or inconclusive for adverse differential treatment of a protected class tester and warranted further testing. The 13 total positive tests (including retests) showed evidence that differing information about rental terms and conditions, rent prices, move-in specials, deposits, application fees, and screening criteria had been provided that favored the comparative tester over the protected class tester. Testing also showed that agents continued to make statements that could either discourage protected class testers from renting or applying or encourage comparative testers to rent or apply.
"Despite the fact that the Fair Housing Act was passed 50 years ago, many members of our community continue to experience discrimination and differential treatment in the housing market,” said Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan. “As we address the challenges in our community of displacement and housing affordability, it’s critical to ensure that Portlanders are treated equally when they are applying for housing and have the same access to opportunity, regardless of their race, national origin, color, religion, sex, family status, or disability.”
Click here to download the full FHCO report.
Click here to download the Tenant Protections Legal Services Request for Letters of Interest.
The Portland Housing Bureau has created interim administrative rules for the Inclusionary Housing (IH) Program section on the reasonable equivalency unit distribution requirement for rental developments.
The interim rules can be accessed at www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/IHrules.
Hard copies are available at the Portland Housing Bureau offices, located at 421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500, in Downtown Portland.