by Joanne Zuhl | 22 Jun 2016
After six months of uncertainly, the Portland Housing Bureau has completed an agreement to buy the Joyce Hotel, Downtown Portland’s last low-barrier housing for the city’s most vulnerable residents. Street Roots has been covering this story since the eviction notice in December.
The announcement of the $4.2 million deal came today from Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman’s office.
There are currently about 20 people still living in the building, and the city says it will work with social services to help them find new housing, and then rehabilitate the building as a future low-income housing option.
The complete press release follows:
The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) will purchase the Joyce Hotel—the last remaining weekly stay building providing immediate, safe, temporary housing for Portland’s homeless—for $4.22 million.
The purchase agreement, executed Tuesday, is the City’s second offer on the property since a 90-day eviction notice was issued to the building’s residents on December 31. An initial offer was proffered in March when the building was fully occupied in an effort to keep the existing tenants in place.
“The Joyce has long provided transitional housing and a last resort for very vulnerable people with few other options. The loss of such units during a housing and homelessness emergency would create a real humanitarian crisis,” said Kurt Creager, Director of the Portland Housing Bureau.
Located at SW 11th and Stark, the Joyce has 69 rooms, both individual and hostel-style, available for $19-$50 a night. For some residents, it had been their primary dwelling for several years. While only approximately 20 residents currently remain in the building, preserving one of the few remaining low-barrier, low-cost housing options in the Central City was critical to the social service providers operating in the city’s core. The Central City No Net Loss Policy, under which the City of Portland committed to maintaining 8,286 affordable rental units in the Central City, was also a compelling factor in the bureau’s decision, Creager says.
“I am very pleased that the Joyce Hotel will remain open so that some of the most vulnerable people in our community will have a safe place to go, rather than being out on the street,” said Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau. “As a compassionate city, we must continue to prioritize our resources to invest in the social safety net for Portlanders who are most vulnerable and at risk.”
In the immediate term, Central City Concern (CCC) will operate the hotel, assessing individual tenants and offering additional services as necessary. Following the purchase, PHB will relocate any remaining residents when it rehabilitates the hotel and addresses exigent health and safety issues.
“We are proud to help the City keep the Joyce hotel available to very low-income people in our community,” said Central City Concern Executive Director Ed Blackburn. “CCC will spend the next few months making needed capital improvements, strengthening operations, and defining guidelines for future tenants.”