May 28, 2014
PORTLAND – Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) announces grant awards of $3.85 million to local nonprofit organizations to support low-income households in accessing and maintaining stable, habitable, and sustainable homeownership. $2.4 million was awarded to create opportunities for first time homebuyers, and $1.45 million to help homeowners, primarily elderly, to retain their homes.
“As housing prices increase in Portland these programs become even more important—combatting gentrification, keeping families in their homes, helping seniors age-in-place, and providing opportunities for more low and moderate income families to become homeowners,” stated Commissioner Dan Saltzman.
In March 2014, PHB issued a request for proposals (RFP) for homebuyer education and counseling, direct homebuyer subsidies, home repair, and home retention services. These programs and services will be funded through a combination of city general funds, tax increment financing (TIF), and federal Community Development Block Grant beginning July 1, 2014 for the City of Portland 2014/15 fiscal year.
“In a tough market, especially among communities of color, these homebuyer programs give much needed guidance. We are thrilled that our relationships with community based organizations and partners will keep more families in their homes, and provide opportunities to lift more people from regulated units into homeownership,” says Traci Manning, Director of PHB.
Increasing homeownership opportunities in communities of color is a key initiative of PHB and is a goal adopted by City Council. Funding recommendations, made by a selection committee of community volunteers, were based on a demonstrated history of providing culturally competent services targeted to populations that are traditionally under-served in homeownership or at greater risk of displacement from their current neighborhoods. Other considerations included the leverage of additional resources and maintaining the capacity of organizations that support the existing continuum of services in the community.
With $2.4 million in homeownership dollars, PHB’s community partners expect to provide education and counseling to 1,400 low income households, help 190 households purchase homes, subsidize an additional 25 home purchases, and help 440 homeowners avoid foreclosure. With $1.45 million, PHB partners will provide 1,330 households home repair, weatherization, and accessibility services to help seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families remain in their homes.
Contact: Andrea Matthiessen