COMMUNITY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE RECAP: Grant Warehouse and the Preference Policy

The Community Oversight Committee held their last meeting of the year last week for a final review of the Preference Policy and to hear updates on the Grant Warehouse affordable housing development.
Portland Housing Bureau staff announced that Commissioner Dan Saltzman has approved an additional $2.5 million to develop Grant Warehouse, which brings the City’s investment to $7 million and the potential number of apartments it will provide to the N/NE Portland community from 52 to 81. Home Forward has also contributed 20 Housing Choice Vouchers, which will allow Grant Warehouse to successfully serve families from a variety of incomes, including very low-income households in need of a stable place to call home in the community.
The Grant Warehouse development team—which includes PCRI, Gerding Edlen, and Carleton Hart Architecture—expects to have a first design of what the building might look like to present to the community in early 2016, and will host a public forum to share it and gather feedback. We will send out event information when the forum is scheduled. You can also sign up for updates from PCRI by clicking here.
When it’s completed, Grant Warehouse (along with all rental and homeownership programs funded through the N/NE Housing Strategy) will prioritize displaced N/NE households and their descendants through a Preference Policy. Over the past eight months, we’ve worked closely with community members to develop the policy based on the geographic areas in North and Northeast Portland where past City actions have marginalized and displaced longtime residents of the area. On Tuesday, we presented the final structure of the policy to the Oversight Committee and will now move into implementation with their support. Click here to learn more about how the policy will work.  
The next Community Oversight Committee meeting will be held on January 14, 2016 – the time and location will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. Together with the Portland Development Commission (PDC), the Committee will discuss priorities for economic development in N/NE and we’ll also give an update on homeownership programs.
You’ll have more opportunities to hear updates and ask questions in 2016, when the Oversight Committee begins meeting every other month. If you’re not already signed up for email updates, click here and sign up to be notified of meeting times.
As part of the N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy, the Portland Housing Bureau dedicated $4 million over the next three years to fund home repair programs for income-qualifying homeowners living in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area (map).
Since July, we have been able to serve 19 longtime N/NE Portland households with loans of up to $40,000 each to cover the costs of substantial home repairs—and there’s funding left to serve 16 more between now and the end of June. If you live in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area and would like to find out if you qualify for up to $40,000 in home repair support from the Housing Bureau, contact Cupid Alexander at 503-823-5129. More funding will become available on July 1, 2016.
We also provide $10,000 grants through our community partners for income-qualifying homeowners to make access and mobility improvements, as well as other health and safety upgrades. These are especially important for ensuring that elderly and disabled homeowners can age safely in place in their own homes.
Last week, longtime NE Portland resident Charles Adams (pictured above) was able to have a wheelchair ramp installed by REACH thanks to a home repair grant. Bremik Construction donated the ramp, which allowed REACH to also replace a failing water heater and add a walk-in shower, among other repairs. Albina Construction was on-site to lend a hand with installation.
If you’d like to learn more about $10,000 home repair grants, contact the organizations listed below:
HOMELESS SERVICES: Partnership with the Urban League of Portland

Through a pilot program with the City launched in October, the Urban League of Portland has been successfully serving a diverse group of community members with culturally specific homeless services. In less than 60 days, 55 people (in 35 households) have already received homeless prevention and rapid re-housing services through this program—and the Urban League is more than halfway through their goal of serving 50 households by the end of June.

Since it became City policy in 2006, the Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”) Set-Aside policy has dedicated a 30% minimum of urban renewal funding to affordable housing in each of the urban renewal areas. In October, Portland City Council agreed  to increase that minimum to 45%, which will mean an estimated $32 million more for affordable housing programming in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal Area over the next several years. This spring, the Portland Housing Bureau will have a series of community meetings to talk with community members about how this funding can be invested in new and existing programs, and to get your feedback on our current programs within the Interstate Corridor. The N/NE Oversight Committee will be expanded  to include community leaders from the St. Johns and Kenton areas within the Interstate URA to ensure the additional funds are invested in a manner that reinforces local priorities and objectives. 
Look for notifications after the New Year about the upcoming meetings and your chance to weigh in.
On January 28, 2015–after a seven-month community process—we presented a plan to City Council for how we would increase housing opportunity in N/NE Portland and work to address the ongoing problem of displacement. On February 3, 2016 at 2pm, the N/NE Oversight Committee will give its first report to City Council on our progress in the first year toward the goals we set out in our plan. It will be an opportunity for us to look back on what we’ve been able to accomplish—and to see where we have more work to do. This Council meeting will be open to the public, and you are invited to observe and share testimony.
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