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October 2021 Newsletter

Newsletter
Plans for new affordable housing on N. Interstate Avenue. Where to find rent assistance and help if you are at risk of an eviction. This and lots more in the October updates from the N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy.
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Welcome Message from Dr. Steven Holt

portrait photo

Welcome to the work of prioritizing safe, affordable, and attractive housing opportunities for some of the most vulnerable populations in N/NE Portland. Portland is one of the most gentrified cities in the US. The effort of the N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy has been to address this reality for the past six years. Community stakeholders, leaders, and key influencers have committed to being a voice for the voiceless to ensure real results that change the narrative for those who need housing support. Their work has resulted in significant housing developments, both in rental and home ownership, and a new sense of partnership between the City of Portland and the nonprofit housing providers has emerged. Hope for the future is dawning.

It has taken a willingness to risk, trust, and do business differently by all parties to achieve these goals, and the accomplishments are shared mutually. However, there remains much to do. The needs far outweigh the number of rental units and homeowners that have been fortunate enough to secure housing. The work continues and community support is welcomed.

To that extent, I want to officially welcome and acknowledge three new members to the N/NE Oversight Committee: Gabrielle Mercedes Bolivar, Executive Director of Mainspring; Aquiles Montas, Family Resource Coordinator of Metropolitan Family Services; and John Washington, Owner/Editor of Flossin Media and Executive Director of the Soul District Business Association. Thank you for being willing to step up and step into this space and join us on the journey to ensure that the promises made become the promises that are kept.

Lastly, let me invite each of you to participate in this process. Help us to achieve the goals of preventing displacement, building new rental units, and creating new homeowners and land banking opportunities for future generations. By joining us in this endeavor we can make a lasting difference in the City of Portland by changing the narrative of displacement. I believe that together we are smarter, stronger, and more capable than we are apart.

Dedicated to Excellence,

Dr. Steven Holt
Committee Chair

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” —Maya Angelou


Program Updates

Quarterly Reporting Dashboard

August 2021

Units developed or under construction: 501; Loans provided to 110 households; Grants to 895 households; Homes purchased by 83 households

Getting the Word Out

Reminder: Preference Policy Applications
Accepted Year-Round!

The Housing Bureau is accepting pre-applications for the N/NE Preference Policy rental housing waitlist year-round. Prospective applicants can apply at any time and the application will not have a closing date. The N/NE Preference Policy prioritizes applicants who were displaced, at risk of displacement, or descendants of families displaced by urban renewal in N/NE Portland for City-sponsored housing opportunities. The new year-round waitlist will be used to fill vacancies in City-sponsored rental housing in N/NE Portland as units become available. 

The application is open to all interested parties; however, applicants are prioritized according to the amount of urban renewal activity that occurred where they or their ancestors live(d) in N/NE Portland.

For more information, visit N/NE Preference Policy.


Portland Housing Bureau and Kaiser Permanente Partner to Help Combat Displacement

property location marked with a red circle

The Portland Housing Bureau and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of the Northwest have partnered to create new affordable housing on property next to the Kaiser Permanente campus on N. Interstate Avenue. The location in the historically Black Overlook neighborhood—where a legacy of racist housing policies and harmful urban renewal practices has resulted in the ongoing displacement of longtime residents—aligns with the Housing Bureau’s N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy to address displacement in North/Northeast Portland.

Site plans will be determined in partnership with the N/NE Oversight Committee and will likely include 30-60 affordable rental units that prioritize applicants who were displaced, at risk of displacement, or descendants of families displaced from N/NE Portland. 

“Affordable, equitable housing opportunities are central to reducing intergenerational poverty and increasing economic mobility. This is especially true for the N/NE Portland community, who have been priced out of their homes and community connections for decades,” said Dr. Steven Holt, who chairs the N/NE Oversight Committee. “As we celebrate this exceptional donation, we also celebrate this partnership with the City, and this renewed commitment to addressing the injustices of the past.”


Local Eviction and Rent Support is Available!

The federal COVID-19 eviction moratorium may have ended, but local protections and resources are still available to help keep Multnomah County renters from losing their housing. 

Rent Assistance

As of mid-August, Multnomah County, the City of Portland, and their partners have distributed $46 million in emergency COVID-19 rent assistance, with an additional $99 million on the way. 

Click here to find out where you can apply for emergency rent assistance. Oregon tenants can also apply to the State’s emergency rent assistance program for help paying their current rent or any back rent accrued between April 2020 and June 2021. Tenants who provide their landlord with proof they have applied for rent relief will be protected from eviction for 90 days.

Eviction Defense

Renters who receive an eviction notice should call 2-1-1 for help immediately. A 211 staff member will refer callers to Bienestar de la Familia for help applying for rapid rent assistance (even if they’ve already applied elsewhere). Bienestar case managers can work with tenants and their landlords to obtain rent assistance within a matter of days.

The Portland Housing Bureau has also contracted with the Oregon Law Center to provide legal aid to low-income renters who have received a termination notice. Call the Eviction Defense Project at 888-585-9638 or email evictiondefense@oregonlawcenter.org.

For more information on any of these resources, visit: www.multco.us/rentrelief


Join PSU Researchers Turning Policy into Community Action 

Photos of diverse researchers from PSU

Researchers from Portland State University want to learn more about how the N/NE Preference Policy is working, and what else can be done to advance racial equity and build thriving neighborhoods. Since 2019, a research team led by Dr. Amie Thurber and Dr. Lisa Bates has been surveying N/NE Preference Policy residents to learn more about who has sought housing through the Preference Policy and why, as well as their experiences and sense of community well-being. The next phase of the study will also include a community-based Research 2 Action Team (R2A) to help improve outreach and support residents in voicing their own ideas for how to make their neighborhoods and community better.

People with ties to N/NE Portland, especially those housed through the Preference Policy, are encouraged to join the R2A Team. No prior research experience needed; all members receive a stipend for participating. To learn more about this study and how to get involved in the Research 2 Action Team, visit https://sites.google.com/pdx.edu/nnestudy


Portland's Preference Policy Serves as a Model for other Cities

1974, three young children smile for a photo in a N/NE Portland neighborhood

Portland’s N/NE Preference Policy is among the first in the nation to create housing access in a historical community of color to those whose families experienced displacement due to urban renewal and gentrification. This is something all Portlander’s can be proud of.

In fact, other cities are now looking to Portland’s Preference Policy as a model for how to address decades-long policies that have caused gentrification and displacement of Black and brown communities. Modelled after Portland’s N/NE Preference Policy, the City of Austin will implement its own preference policy this fall to address the displacement of long-term residents who have been priced out of their communities and provide those with historical ties to these communities the opportunity to return to where they (or relatives) previously lived.

To learn more about how Portland’s Preference Policy is being used in Austin to bring back displaced families to the place they once called home, click here for the full story, including insights from Leslie Goodlow, the Portland Housing Bureau's Business Operations Manager and longtime N/NE Portland resident (pictured with siblings,1974).


Black-Led Development Team Selected for Williams & Russell Site

Aerial view rendering of new development site

The Williams & Russell Project Working Group (PWG) has selected a Black-led development team to advance the community vision for the vacant block at N. Russell Street and N. Williams Avenue. 

The five-member team includes Adre, a Portland-based equity-centered development company; Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, a NE Portland affordable rental housing leader; Community Development Partners, an affordable housing developer/asset manager based in NE Portland; Portland-based Colas Construction, the largest Black-owned construction firm in the Pacific Northwest; LEVER Architecture, a designer of affordable housing, community spaces and office developments in NE Portland; and Hood Design Studio, a Black-owned landscape design and public art firm based in Oakland, CA.

The process of transferring ownership of the property, donated by Legacy Health, to the newly established non-profit, Williams & Russell CDC, is now underway. “We are very excited to have reached this part in the process,” shared Leslie Goodlow. “As a long-time Portland resident, I can say with certainty that developing the property, and having it come back to the community is outstanding.”


Protect Your Home from Predatory Scams

The City of Portland’s Residential Infill Project, adopted in 2020, allows for more types of homes in more areas of Portland, but the Bureau of Development Services warns that current homeowners should be aware of unsolicited offers to buy their homes. As a homeowner, you may receive phone calls, texts, or offers in the mail from those who wish to buy your property and redevelop it. Some of these offers may include cash for your home. These offers may be for less than your home is worth.

To help homeowners protect themselves, BDS has created a new resource page with tips for identifying potential scams and what to do if you think you are being targeted with predatory cash offers. Visit this page for more information.


Calendar

OCTOBER 2021

  • Estate Planning 101 Webinar
    Tuesday, October 16, 2021 from 10am – 11am
    To register, or for more information, visit aaah.org or call 503-595-3517.

NOVEMBER 2021

  • N/NE Oversight Committee Meeting
    Thursday, November 4, 2021 from 5:15pm – 6:15pm
    An agenda and meeting materials will be posted online here

  • 22nd Annual AAAH Homeownership Fair 
    Friday, November 13, 2021 from 10am – 2pm
    Registration link: Homeownership Fair: Pre-Registration Form

  • Estate Planning 101 Webinar Asset  
    Tuesday, November 16, 2021 from 6pm – 7pm
    To register, or for more information, visit aaah.org or call 503-595-3517.