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More than 30 families facing homelessness will soon have a place to call home in the Pearl District. The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) announced today it has selected a proposal by nonprofit developer Innovative Housing Inc. to develop new deeply affordable housing on City-owned property at NW 14th Avenue and Raleigh Street.
“Our city’s housing crisis has left too many Portland families on the brink,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “We are excited to partner with Innovative Housing on this project to give dozens of these families the opportunity to put down roots in one of our great neighborhoods, and bring their children up near the things that make life better for families—a pre-school, a grocery store, a city park, and good access to jobs.”
PHB issued a Request for Proposals in May for the vacant property, which the City of Portland acquired earlier in the spring. The selected proposal seeks to provide at least 30 family-size units dedicated to serving the lowest income households—those at or below 30% of the Median Family Income (currently $24,250 for a family of four), plus additional one-bedroom units below 60% of the median (up to $35,280 for a two-person household). The opportunities for added density on the site may yield even more housing as development moves forward.
Ground-floor common areas will also offer residents a community room, indoor and outdoor play areas, a laundry facility, and on-site resident support services.
“When families are displaced by a rent increase or a medical crisis, it’s children who suffer,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “This project will give kids safe, stable homes where they can thrive.”
As part of the A Home for Everyone collaborative, the City of Portland and Multnomah County have identified families with children as a priority population in the local effort to end homelessness. A recent count of homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County published in June showed a 24% increase in unsheltered families with children since 2013. Families with children also make up a disproportionate percentage of the estimated 12,000 people who are “doubled up” in housing or living in motel rooms on any given night.
“This project will help protect our most vulnerable Portlanders — low-income families — as we grapple with affordability problems, rising rents, and the heart-wrenching effects of homelessness,” Mayor Charlie Hales said. “We need long-term solutions like this affordable housing development to continue to move the needle on affordability, livability, and equity.”
The site was acquired at a discount from Hoyt Street Properties (HSP) this spring as part of a longstanding affordable housing agreement between HSP and the City of Portland. The project will further affordable housing goals set forth for the River District Urban Renewal Area. Construction is projected to begin in 2017.