June 9, 2010
Story by Caitlin Burke and Sonia Schmanski
The need for safe, decent, and affordable housing in Portland is great - approximately 2,000 people here have no permanent place to call home. To address this, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) regularly partners with local government agencies and community partners to increase the affordable housing supply in Portland. Next week, Nick will join community partners to celebrate the openings of Walnut Park and the Martha Washington, Portland's newest affordable housing projects.
Staff from the PHB, the Housing Authority of Portland, the State of Oregon, Central City Concern, and Multnomah County will be on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the Martha Washington building next Wednesday, June 16. After a long and interesting history during which it was, at times, a residential hotel; lodging for young, single women; headquarters of a religious cult; and a Multnomah County restitution center, the Martha Washington building has been renovated so that it can offer 108 affordable studios and one-bedroom apartments. Central City Concern will manage the property and run social service programs for the residents.
Next Thursday, June 17, the Network for Affordable Housing (NOAH), PHB, and REACH CDC will host a grand opening celebration for Walnut Park. Walnut Park residents, all of whom are elderly or disabled, were in danger of losing the rent subsidies that helped make it affordable for them to live in the building. In response, REACH, in partnership with NOAH and PHB, purchased and renovated the 38 unit apartment building, renewing its federal rent subsidy contract and preserving it as affordable housing for the next 20 years.
These projects are excellent examples of what can happen when community partners and local government agencies work together to increase affordable housing in the Portland area.