We all need a safe, stable place to call home. Unfortunately, all across Oregon, too many hardworking families, seniors and people with disabilities are at risk of losing their homes because the contracts that guarantee their affordable rents are ending. We cannot afford to lose this precious resource and allow our neighbors to become homeless.
All across Oregon, properties were built with assistance from Oregon Housing and Community Services Department (HCS), the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program (RD). A combination of subsidies makes the units affordable to people on fixed incomes or even no income. As contracts for these rental subsidies expire, this housing is put at-risk, and action is needed to keep this housing affordable. We know that over 3,500 units across the state are at-risk of being lost if we don’t act now.
The Oregon Housing Preservation Project, which is run by the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, or NOAH is working to preserve this valuable resource. Through funding from the State of Oregon, the MacArthur Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Community Foundation, the Collins Foundation and several banks, the Oregon Housing Preservation Project has created a loan fund that helps non-profit organizations acquire the properties quickly when they are put on the market, and then seek permanent financing to rehabilitate and keep the properties and their federal rent subsidies in Oregon.
Preserving this housing makes sense. The Oregon Housing Preservation Project knows that we can’t make new units fast enough or locate them as close to transit, jobs and amenities such as schools or medical care as the existing homes are. One of every three people that lives in this housing is a senior or a person with a disability.
Oregon was a pioneer in using a combination of federal, state and local resources plus on-going federal rent assistance in the 1980’s and 1990’s to build housing in all corners of Oregon to meet community needs. Now, the Oregon Housing Preservation Project has built outstanding partnerships through Housing and Community Services (HCS) to preserve this housing. Other partners include Enterprise Community Partners, the Community Alliance of Tenants, and the City of Portland’s Housing Bureau. Outcomes to date are impressive and speak to the commitment of partners involved in this effort. Neighborhood Partnerships also is a partner in this effort – helping to create and maintain a database of properties affected by this problem.
In partnership with the Housing Alliance, the Oregon Housing Preservation Project is supporting a request in the Governor’s budget to provide $10 million in Lottery Backed Bonds to help fund the preservation of these properties. We have the tools to preserve this valuable resource, but need additional resources.
We all need a safe place to call home. Our communities are better and stronger when everyone has access to the opportunity that a safe, stable home provides. Neighborhood Partnerships is pleased to partner with NOAH and the Oregon Housing Preservation Project to maintain this important effort and help make sure these families and neighbors continue to have a safe place to call home.