The Rental Rehabilitation Program, first submitted to City Council by the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) as a budget request in FY 16-17, was developed in response to a community-identified need for investments in safe, quality affordable housing in East Portland, where the deteriorating rental housing poses a health and safety risk for many low-income Portlanders, reduces the quality of life in their neighborhoods, and exacerbates the threat of involuntary displacement among vulnerable households. The proposal brought forward on behalf of the community advocated specifically for investments in shell repairs, water damage, organic growth in units, and energy efficiency improvements in existing affordable housing to address conditions they described as “dire.”
Through rigorous market and demographic analysis conducted by PHB in the annual State of Housing in Portland Report, we know that East Portland is home to the bulk of our city’s minority, low-income, and foreign-born residents. Beyond that, the 2016 report showed that East Portland neighborhoods are seeing some of the city’s steepest increases in rents and housing prices.
PHB is committed to policy and program development that is responsive to the community and grounded in data. As we move forward with investments in programs to stabilize vulnerable residents in East Portland, and improve the safety and livability of the affordable housing stock in those neighborhoods, PHB recognizes the importance of assessing housing quality issues with the same rigorous data sourcing and careful analysis as our housing market and demographic data. PHB will therefore supply an analysis that builds on and updates the housing stock data provided by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability 2009 Portland Plan Background report on Housing Supply. This analysis will assess the existing supply of housing units and inventory both the absolute number of units as well as their physical characteristics including type, age, size, and condition. The inventory will be based on American Community Survey (ACS) data, the American Housing Survey, and other City data on permits and weatherization. Peer review will be employed to ensure quality and continuity with other City Data sources. The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Bureau of Development Services and Portland State University faculty will be asked to serve in this capacity to ensure robust accountability.