OHCS surpasses Statewide Housing Plan Goal of funding 25,000 affordable rental homes
Oregon Housing and Community Services has surpassed its July 2019-’24 Statewide Housing Plan goal to triple the existing pipeline of affordable rental housing up to 25,000 homes after the Oregon Stability Council approved the most recent funding awards on July 7. This accomplishment was realized a year ahead of schedule and marks a significant milestone for the agency and its commitment to addressing the affordable housing crisis in Oregon.
Thank you to all our partners across the state who helped make this happen.
To find out more, you can visit the Statewide Housing Plan dashboard and read the "Reaching 25,000" report.
Statewide Housing Plan
Nixyáawii Neighborhood Ribbon Cutting
Director Bell had the privilege of attending the Nixyáawii Neighborhood ribbon-cutting in the Umatilla Indian Reservation near Pendleton on June 1, 2023. There, she elevated the agency's excitement for these homeownership opportunities and our continued responsibility to build relationships with our Tribal partners. The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation development, called the Nixyaawii Transformative Homeownership Project, will use the $3 million in awarded funds to build 21 new affordable homes with two or three-bedrooms for parcel leaseholders on the Nixyáawii Subdivision, a fully developed tract of 42 parcels that is shovel-ready. This development grant is part of the overall $5 million funding package to help federally recognized Tribes further homeownership opportunities for Tribal members. This is the first time OHCS has had funding specifically set aside for Tribal homeownership development.
The Joyce Grand Opening
The Joyce is an affordable rental housing project that transformed the historic Joyce Hotel in downtown Portland into 66 permanent supportive housing units, serving those who are experiencing or have experienced chronic homelessness. On-site supportive services are provided by Cascadia Health, Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc, and Cascade AIDS Project. This facility is also equipped with ADA-accessible units, trauma-informed design elements like natural lighting and calming color scheme, and is conveniently located next to public transit. As part of the groundbreaking celebration in February 2021, OHCS was honored to come back together with partners to celebrate the grand opening of The Joyce in June 2023. OHCS contributed $12.2 million through administered funding programs. Congratulations to Community Partners for Affordable Housing and the numerous partners who made this development come to life.
Glisan Landing Groundbreaking
OHCS helped kick off the construction of Glisan Landing in the Montavilla neighborhood in NE Portland in June 2023 as a funding partner. Glisan Landing will be comprised of two structures, Aldea and Beacon. Aldea will bring 96 family-focused units to the community designed to support local immigrant and refugee families with on-site services provided by
IRCO Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization. On the adjacent site, Beacon will provide 41 permanent supportive housing units with supportive services for folks experiencing or at risk of homelessness. It was great seeing all our partners. Congratulations to Related Northwest, Catholic Charities of Oregon, IRCO, Metro, and Portland Housing Bureau on the start of construction.
Plambeck Gardens Groundbreaking
It was a bluebird day as we celebrated the groundbreaking of Plambeck Gardens in Tualatin, OR in June 2023 hosted by developer, Community Partners of Affordable Housing. Scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2024, Plambeck Gardens will provide 116 new affordable homes with one to four bedrooms for families living on low incomes. Partnerships with Community Action and Centro Cultural will ensure residents have access to supportive services, career coaching, and business development. Other partners include Cascade AIDS Project, Lifeworks NW, Native American Rehabilitation Association, Neighborhood Health Center, Unite Oregon, Metro, and Washington County. Plambeck Gardens was named after Doug Plambeck, an advocate for affordable housing for much of his life and founder of the Community Partners of Affordable Housing.
OHCS attends groundbreaking celebration for first Navigation Center in the Dalles
Last week OHCS had the honor of joining the Mid-Columbia Community Action Council at their navigation center groundbreaking in The Dalles! Once complete, this facility will provide shelter and supportive services for individuals struggling with homelessness. These vital services will give residents access to case management, health care, food services, job training, and more. Special shout out to our partners at the Oregon Department of Human Services, who will conduct regular site visits for service enrollment.
Congrats on the start of construction - we're looking forward to the Grand Opening!
Finding Community in Rockwood Village
Dena Compton is a current resident at Rockwood Village Apartments, a 224-unit affordable housing development OHCS helped fund. Designed to support people with low incomes, Dena says Rockwood Village is like the first step and then somebody’s got you from there.
Before living at Rockwood, Dena had experienced homelessness after getting a wrongful eviction from her previous home when a main line sewer pipe burst under her apartment. After the sewer pipe burst, Dena said her apartment was unlivable, and property owners/managers didn’t seem to have the resources or urgency to make repairs. For Dena, there seemed to be no other options for housing, and she ended up living in her car. From then, she lived in her car staying at the local supermarket parking lot most nights and then driving to church on Sundays, curling her hair in her car before going in. Soon, one of her friends from church started to notice and offered Dena a place to stay while she looked for more stable housing. Eventually, her friend helped Dena connect with Rockwood Village and after two years without a home of her own, Dena found one in Rockwood.
One of the best things about Rockwood Village, Dena says, is the community. There are people at the office who help you connect to resources and fill out forms, such as applying for rental assistance. There are food pantries that come every week so you can get what you need without having to figure out transportation. However, her favorite part is probably watching children running around and playing outside. She says you don’t see that often these days. However, Rockwood Village has been able to provide a space for kids and families to enjoy life outside and in community with their neighbors.
Throughout her life, Dena has had to undergo various challenges. On top of experiencing homelessness, she has grieved the loss of a child, is a survivor of domestic violence, and lives with a physical disability. Her children, a daughter and a son, give her the motivation to keep going and make progress. One can see the way her face lights up when talking about her children. Although her daughter is an adult now, she serves as a caretaker for her son who has several medical conditions, taking him to and from medical appointments and often encouraging him to play outside with the other kids. Dena and her son relocated to the Portland area due to her son’s medical requirements so they could be closer to the OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital. With a stable home now, Dena feels confident in being able to provide him a safe space to learn, play, and grow.
Dena’s story highlights the struggles faced by many individuals experiencing homelessness and the transformative impact a stable home can have. Affordable housing developments such as Rockwood Village Apartments provides a solution to the housing affordability crisis and creates a community to help residents thrive. One thing Dena’s mother always said to her is that in life, you always need to be progressing. That’s exactly what Dena is doing.
When asked what she wants people to know about people experiencing homelessness, Dena stresses the importance of empathy and understanding. Sometimes the path to finding a home is filled with obstacles such as facing discrimination due to past charges, feeling embarrassed when you need to go to the food pantry, and navigating all the different organizations that provide resources. But with a home to call their own, individuals like Dena can work toward a better future.