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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Housing Bureau

Solving the unmet housing needs of the people of Portland.

Phone: 503-823-2375

fax: 503-823-2387

421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204

More Contact Info

Frequently Asked Questions

 N/NE HOMEOWNERSHIP APPLICATION FOR PREFERENCE:

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

The Portland Housing Bureau will be accepting N/NE Homeownership Applications for Preference from Monday, April 22, 2019 through Friday, May 3, 2019 at 11:59 PM. The date and time an application is received during the application period will not affect an applicant’s position on the waitlist.

Apply online, in person at a designated application site, or request an application in the mail. Check your status online or by calling the helpline number below (you will need your reference number).

For assistance: Email: PHBwaitlist@portlandoregon.gov | Helpline: 503-823-4147

N/NE Preference Waitlist, PO Box 28289, Portland, OR 97228


What is the N/NE Preference Policy?

Recognizing that past City actions have marginalized and displaced many longtime residents of North and Northeast Portland, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) developed the Affordable Housing Preference Policy as a tool to prioritize impacted households for PHB housing opportunities in the area. The Preference Policy aims to address the ongoing impact of this legacy by giving priority to households with generational ties to N/NE Portland—i.e.: current and former residents of specific areas that were subject to high levels of urban renewal, and their descendants. View maps of these areas online at www.portlandoregon.gov/PHB/Preference. Note: The Preference Policy determines the order of applicants on waiting lists for housing, not their eligibility for housing programs.

How does it work?

PHB funds the development of affordable rental housing, ownership housing, and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. When any of these opportunities become available in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area, PHB will advertise an open application round for for those openings. Top priority is given to families who owned property that was taken by Portland City government through eminent domain (during the building of Memorial Coliseum or the expansion of Emanuel Hospital, for example), and their descendants.

All other applicants receive “preference points” based on current or historic residency in N/NE Portland. Up to three points are possible if your current or former address falls within one of the identified areas where City plans had a destabilizing effect on long-term residents. Up to three additional points are possible if the current or former address of your parent/guardian or grandparent falls within one of the identified areas, for a maximum possible total of six points. (View maps of the areas and their corresponding points here).

Note: The Preference Policy determines the order of applicants on waiting lists for housing, not their eligibility for housing programs.

Once the application round has closed, PHB sorts the list of applicants in order of points received, from highest to lowest, with eminent domain households at the top of the list, followed by six-point households, then five-point households, and so on. PHB will notify applicants by mail of their waitlist status. Once preference has been verified, PHB forwards applicants from the top of the list to the community partner or leasing agent of the property to be screened for their housing eligibility. Regardless of preference, applicants must income-qualify to be eligible and standard screening criteria for rental housing, such as rental history, will apply. 

What is priority status?

Priority status is given to families who owned property that was taken by Portland City government through eminent domain (during the building of Memorial Coliseum or the expansion of Emanuel Hospital, for example), and their descendants.

What are preference points?

Preference points are based on current or historic residency in North/Northeast Portland. Up to three points are possible if your current or former address falls within one of the identified areas where City plans had a destabilizing effect on long-term residents. Up to three additional points are possible if the current or former address of your parent/guardian or grandparent falls within one of the identified areas, for a maximum possible total of six points.

How is my position on the waitlist determined?

Your position on the waiting list is affected by three factors:

(1) the preference points you receive;

(2) the available slots;

(3) all the other applicants on the waiting list

Applicants who have eminent domain status are placed at the top of the waitlist. All other applicants receive preference points. Your position is determined by how many preference points you receive – more preference points means a higher position on the waitlist.

The waitlist is based on preference points and not by the date and time the application is submitted. Therefore, your position on the waitlist could change. applicants are ranked by preference points in relation to all the other applicants on the list. As applicants are added to or removed from the list, positions can change. For example, you may move lower on the waitlist, if another participant submits an application that qualifies for more points OR you may be placed higher on the waitlist if that application does not qualify for the preference points they applied for.

What if I have more than one former address that is eligible for preference? Or more than one address for my parent/guardian/grandparent?

You must enter one address for yourself and one for a parent/guardian or grandparent. Each address will qualify for 0-3 points, for a maximum total of 6 points. If you or your parent/guardian/grandparent have had more than one address in N/NE Portland, or if you have more than one parent/guardian/grandparent with an eligible address, you can choose which one to list for yourself on your application and which one to list for a parent/guardian/grandparent. You are encouraged to test different combinations before finalizing your application to determine which two addresses will yield the highest point value. If you currently live in the same house as a parent or guardian, of if you currently occupy a home previously occupied by a parent or guardian, you may list the same address twice.

Who is eligible?

The application for the waitlist is free and open to anyone. PHB housing programs serve low- and moderate- income households. Households must have an annual income between 30-60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) to be eligible for the rental units. Click here for the AMI chart to find out if you are income eligible.

  • Applicant must have an annual income of at least $30,000 to be eligible for the condominiums
  • Applicant needs to qualify for a mortgage with a Proud Ground approved lender for the purchase price amount (ranging from $121,000 – $274,000)
  • Applicant must have a minimum credit score ranging from 620-660; this can be improved over time
  • Applicant must have at least two years of employment in the same line of work
  • To obtain a home loan, lenders will review the level of debt in relation to income
  • Applicant must be a first-time homebuyer, which is defined as not owning a home for the past three years

How do I apply?

PHB will be accepting preference applications for the 5020 N Interstate Condominiums starting Monday, April 22, 2019 at 9:00 am until Friday, May 3, 2019 at 11:59 pm. Beginning Monday, April 22, applications will be available online and at designated applications sites.

Apply online at https://www.portlandmaps.com/bps/phb/preference/ or in person at a designated application site. You can find a list of applications sites on the PHB website beginning Monday, April 1. Printed applications can be dropped off at an application site or mailed to the address below (applications must be mailed and postmarked by 11:59 pm on Friday, May 3, 2019). Note: Designated Application Sites will only accept applications during their standard business hours on the application deadline. Limit one application per household.

Mail completed applications to:

N/NE Preference Waitlist

421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500

Portland, OR 97204 

This is the first step of a two-step process. After the application period closes, PHB will have the applicant will verify the information on their application. Upon receipt of verification documentation to PHB applicants will be transferred to the Portland Housing Center (PHC) to be paired with a housing counselor for evaluation and support in becoming mortgage ready. 

If I want to submit a paper application what should I do?

Paper applications are available upon request for people who have a disability, need translation, or who have another barrier to applying online. To submit a paper application:

Call 503-823-4147 to request that a paper application be mailed to you.

Completed paper applications must be mailed and postmarked no later than Friday, May 3, 2019 to be eligible. Mail them to N/NE Preference Waitlist 421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500 Portland, OR 97204.

What information will I need to have to complete the application?

  1. Full names of all household members
  2. Date of birth for all household members
  3. Your current mailing address – this can be the address where you are currently living or a stable address where you regularly receive mail.
  4. A current email address and/or phone number.
  5. Income information, including the source and amount of income for each household member.
  6. A current or former address of yourself that is eligible for preference points
  7. A current or former address of your parent/guardian or grandparent that is eligible for preference points – you may use the address of a parent/guardian or grandparent who is deceased.
  8. A piece of paper and a pen or pencil. You will need these to write down the reference number that you will get at the end of the application process. This reference number will be proof that you have applied.

How do I request reasonable accommodation to fill out my application? 

If you require a reasonable accommodation in order to meet the deadline, contact the helpline by calling 503-823-4147 or visit www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/preference for a list of Designated Application Sites who can help you.

I have a disability preventing me from completing the application, what can I do?

Reasonable accommodation request forms are available on the PHB website and at partner sites for individuals experiencing a disability. Submit your request electronically to PHBwaitlist@portlandoregon.gov, or by mail to:

N/NE Preference Waitlist/PHB

421 SW 6th Ave, Suite 500

Portland, OR 97204

Staff at PHB or at designated application sites can also accept accommodation requests given verbally, over the phone, and can assist you in completing the form. The request must be submitted prior to the application deadline. We are unable to process requests received after the application deadline. If you are having trouble finding or accessing a request form, call the PHB helpline for assistance.

How do I know that you have received my application?

If you submit an application at a designated application site, you will be given a confirmation receipt with the date, reference number, and the initials of the staff person who received your application. If you are mailing in your application, PHB will mail you a confirmation letter with your reference number.

If you apply online, the online application will generate a reference number for you when you submit it. You will be redirected to a confirmation page. This confirmation page will include your reference number. It is recommended that you print the page with your confirmation number via the Print Confirmation button or that you write the number down. If you provided an email address, your confirmation number and reference number will be emailed to the address you provided.

My application status says “Active” (or “Inactive”). What does that mean?

Each application round will have a set number of openings to fill – either based on the number of housing units available or how many homebuyers we have funding for at a time. Once the application period closes and applicants have been sorted in order of preference points, a predetermined number of applicants from the top of the list will be put on an “Active” waitlist for those openings. Because not all applicants will complete the process to qualify for the housing programs offered, the number on the Active waitlist will be greater than the number of openings available.

Everyone else will be placed on an “Inactive” waitlist, meaning: they may still be considered for that application round, but only if there are openings remaining after the Active waitlist has been exhausted. Applicants on the Inactive waitlist will be notified by mail of their status in the current round every three months until all the advertised openings have been filled. Anyone who does not receive housing during an application round can still be considered for future opportunities, but they must reapply. Sign up here to receive email notifications about future preference application rounds for rental and homeownership opportunities in N/NE Portland.

How do I update information/correct mistakes on my application if I’ve already submitted it?
You can update or change your information at any time by filling out the Application Update Form available online.

How do I show that I/my family was displaced from N/NE Portland?

Once you are notified that you are on the Active waitlist for housing, you will be given a predetermined amount of time to submit documents verifying the address information you provided on your application, but you don’t need them when you apply. Documents like utility bills, pay stubs, vehicle registrations, military ID cards, and lease agreements can be submitted as verification. Click here to see a complete list of valid documents and where to obtain them. Again, you will only need these if you are selected for the waiting list. More detailed instructions will be provided in the notification letters. 

How do I determine my household size? Who is considered a member of my household?

Household size is a factor in determining income-eligibility for housing programs. In this case, household size refers to the number of individuals permanently residing together in the housing unit. To determine your household size, count everyone permanently residing in your home, including yourself.

How do I show that I/my family was displaced from N/NE Portland?

You will be given a predetermined amount of time to submit documents verifying the address information you provided on your application, but you don’t need them when you apply. Documents like utility bills, pay stubs, vehicle registrations, military ID cards, and lease agreements can be submitted as verification. Click here to see a complete list of valid documents and where to obtain them. More detailed instructions will be provided in the notification letters.

How do I determine my household size? Who is considered a member of my household?

Household size is a factor in determining income-eligibility for housing programs. In this case, household size refers to the number of individuals permanently residing together in the housing unit. To determine your household size, count everyone permanently residing in your home, including yourself.

If I am selected from the waiting list, am I now eligible for the housing opportunity?

No. Preference does not guarantee housing. Applicants must still meet the eligibility criteria for the housing opportunity being offered. Factors such as household income, credit score, and debt may be considered in determining whether you qualify.

Do I need to be a U.S. citizen to apply?
Both U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens can apply. Generally, you are an eligible noncitizen if you are one of the following:

  • U.S. permanent resident, with a Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as an Alien Registration Receipt Card or “Green Card”)
  • Conditional permanent resident (I-551C)
  • Other eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: “Refugee,” “Asylum Granted,” “Indefinite Parole,” “Humanitarian Parole,” or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”
  • A citizen of the Republic of Palau (PW), the Republic of the Marshall Islands (MH), or the Federated States of Micronesia (FM).

Why can’t you tell me my position on the waitlist?

We do not disclose your position on the waitlist because your position can change – it can change as participants are added and removed. Positions change on the waitlist because it is ordered by a preference system that grants priority status to those who were displaced as a result of eminent domain and awards preference points based on current or historic residency in North/Northeast Portland.

What happens after applying?

Step 1: Wait for the Portland Housing Bureau to process applications.

Once your application has been submitted, it generally takes up to four (4) weeks to process applications.

Step 2: Confirm your waiting list status.

PHB will notify applicants of their waitlist placement by mailing letters to applicants or allowing applicants to log in to an online portal.

Applicants will be placed on the waitlist in order of points received, from highest to lowest, with eminent domain households at the top of the list, followed by six-point households, then five-point households, and so on.

Step 3: Stay in contact with PHB

Contact the Preference Policy hotline to confirm if you are still on the waiting list.

If any of your application information changes (such as contact information), contact the housing provider immediately. If PHB sends a notice about the waiting list that does not receive a response, or if application information is out of date, your application may be removed from the waiting list.

Also make sure to reply immediately to notices sent to you that require a response. PHB will occasionally send notices to all persons on the waiting list, asking if they would like to remain on the waiting list. Applicants who do not respond within the given period will be terminated from the waiting list.

Step 4: Verify your information

Once you reach the top of the waiting list, PHB will give you a predetermined amount of time to submit documents verifying the information you provided on your application. Applicants who do not respond to this notice may be removed from the waitlist.

Step 5: Attend an in-person information session

Once you reach the top of the waiting list, you will need to attend a mandatory information session. All household members are welcome, but the applicant must be present. Once you complete the information session, you will be referred to the community partner to start the process of owning your own family-sized condominium.