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April 2024 N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy Newsletter

Newsletter
mural with faces
Updates from the N/NE Neighborhood Housing Strategy.
Published

Welcome Message from Virgie Ruiz, North/Northeast Oversight Committee Member

Virgie gently smiles while seated on a light gray sofa in a friendly space with house plants

Happy Spring Everyone!

My name is Virgie Ruiz, and I am a current North/Northeast Oversight Committee Member who has served on the committee since its inception back in 2015. I live in the Boise-Eliot neighborhood and love this community. I am happy to greet everyone and share good news about the work we are doing.

For starters, we have been able to work with Portland Housing Bureau staff on various housing policies, including the N/NE Preference Policy program which aims to help people come back to the community, and to be a part of a diverse community, including all groups, particularly Black and Brown people.

I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who works on affordable housing—creating rental and homeownership opportunities. I also want to thank those who work on home repair programs, and I would like to encourage everyone, especially seniors, to find out if they are eligible for these programs and services if they need support. 

Equally important, especially for economic prosperity, is small business ownership. Opportunities exist within affordable housing developments for small business tenancy, for childcare services, and for nonprofits to meet with their clients and families in affordable housing.

Most importantly, our young People of Color that are moving out of their parents’ homes require housing that is affordable and within their reach. Preference Policy regulated 1-bedroom and studio apartments can be a safe and affordable option and should be considered. I encourage young folks to contact the Housing Bureau to get on the waiting list. Staff at the Housing Bureau are waiting to assist!

As members of the North/Northeast Neighborhood Oversight Committee, we want to see families and individuals seek and secure housing that is not just affordable, but also safe and appealing in all aspects. We will continue to strive for excellence for a community that is more than deserving.

Ms. Virgie Ruiz

"Housing is absolutely essential to human flourishing. Without stable shelter, it all falls apart."
—Matthew Desmond


News: 

Dr. Darrell Millner Building

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The Portland Housing Bureau is excited to announce the upcoming leasing of the Dr. Darrell Millner Building, the newest addition to the Alberta Alive vision! This vibrant community offers 63 apartment homes, ranging from one- to three-bedroom floor plans, designed for households earning 60% AMI or less. With 75% of apartments featuring two or more bedrooms, the Dr. Darrell Millner Building is ideal for families seeking comfortable living spaces.

Situated just over a mile away from the Ronnie Herndon and Paul & Geneva Knauls Buildings, the Dr. Darrell Millner Building will utilize the N/NE Preference Policy Waitlist for Rental Housing to lease up. This waitlist is open year-round with no deadline, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to apply.  

If you're interested in learning more about the Dr. Darrell Millner Building, please visit our partner's website for additional details. To apply to the waitlist and be considered for this exceptional community, visit the N/NE Preference Policy page.

Approved applicants can take advantage of security deposit and move-in assistance, ensuring a smooth transition to your new home. This assistance also applies to existing Preference Policy rental buildings.

Learn about the life and legacy of Dr. Darrell Millner.


Join the North/Northeast Oversight Committee!

NNE Oversight members presenting to city council

Do you have experience living, working or playing in North/Northeast Portland? Are you passionate about restorative justice and housing equity? Are you interested in influencing housing policies, strategies, and resources?

The Portland Housing Bureau is now accepting applications for the North/Northeast Oversight Committee. The committee oversees implementation of the North/Northeast Neighborhood Housing Strategy and reports annually to City Council. Members commit to meeting every other month for renewable terms of two years. No experience is needed; we will provide training.

Apply now

Applications are due by June 18, 2024.

For more information, please contact:
Leslie Goodlow
Leslie.Goodlow@portlandoregon.gov
503-823-4160


Updates:

Homeownership Waitlist: What's Next?

A realtor warmly welcomes an African American couple to view a new home

Portland Housing Bureau’s Neighborhood Housing Preservation (NHP) team is thrilled that a third round of the Homeownership Preference Policy opened on March 19 and closed on April 19. We received over 1000 applications this round! Our Preference Policy team will now begin the process of verifying preference points for all applicants. To help applicants understand the next steps, we will be hosting open sessions both in-person and virtually. 

Sign up for our email list to receive notifications about these sessions.

Once the preference points are verified, the NHP team will collaborate with the applicants and the Portland Housing Center (PHC) to invite applicants to attend a homebuying information session, hosted by PHC. Applicants can then sign up for an assessment appointment where they can get an idea of how close they are to being mortgage ready (able to get a mortgage and start the home search and buying process), initiate a plan to become mortgage ready, and come up with next steps on their path to homeownership. First-time homebuyers will benefit from homebuyer counseling to develop a personalized budget and action plan - and once participants are mortgage ready, PHC will provide referrals to mortgage lenders and real estate agents to aid in their home search. 

The NHP team estimates that we will be able to provide 70-80 new homeownership opportunities within the next 5 years through this program. We look forward to working closely with our applicants to achieve their homeownership goals.


Rental Housing Waitlist

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The Preference Policy Waitlist for Rental Housing continues to be open year-round, allowing individuals and families to apply to be prioritized for rental housing opportunities in North and Northeast Portland. The application is available online

To apply, all we need is the applicant’s current contact information, a current or former address, and the current or former address for their ancestor/guardian may be added. After applying, applicants can expect to receive an acknowledgement letter by mail or email (if provided) within four weeks of submission. Applicants on the waitlist will be referred to housing providers when there is a vacancy and their name reaches the top of the list. 

Open Rental Buildings

Garlington Place
Beatrice Morrow 
Charlotte B. Rutherford Place 
Magnolia II
King + Parks
Songbird
Renaissance Commons

New Buildings in Development for Rental

Dr. Darrell Millner BuildingOpening Winter 2024 - Community Development Partners and Self Enhancement Inc. (Now Leasing)
Albina OneOpening Spring 2025 - Albina Vision Trust
Strong Family SiteOpening Winter 2026 - Community Development Partners and Self Enhancement Inc.
M. Carter CommonsOpening Spring 2026 - Northwest Housing Alternatives and Urban League of Portland
Williams & Russell ProjectOpening Fall 2027 - Adre and PCRI

A Friendly Reminder to Applicants on the Waitlist

In our continued efforts to keep applicants informed, the Portland Housing Bureau wants to emphasize the importance of responding to notices. We encourage all applicants to respond promptly to any notices sent by PHB and housing providers to avoid being removed from the waitlist.

Visit our website and read through our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for answers to the most commonly asked questions. 

Need assistance? Contact our helpline:
Phone 503-823-4147
Email PHBWaitlist@portlandoregon.gov

If you need technical assistance with the application, we are accepting in-person appointments at our offices at 1900 SW 4th Ave, Suite 7007. Book an in-person appointment


Asset Preservation Pilot Program Continues

We’ve seen it far too often: a longtime neighbor passes away, leaving their loved ones little choice but to sell the family home and move out of the neighborhood. Yet, with the right planning, families can remain in their beloved community, while preserving their cherished family home for the next generation.

In November 2019, the Portland Housing Bureau launched the Homeowner Asset Preservation Pilot to respond to community needs and advocacy by the N/NE Oversight Committee for legal estate planning services to stem the displacement of longtime homeowners and the loss of generational wealth in the N/NE Community.

The pilot program is continuing to provide free legal estate planning services to N/NE Portland homeowners as a tool to protect homeownership and transfer wealth between generations. The program prioritizes services to homeowners of color, longtime homeowners, and seniors and people with disabilities.

Through the program, the African American Alliance for Homeownership (AAAH) in partnership with the Commons Law Center, are able to provide funding to help community members develop estate plans and/or provide other legal services to help families preserve and protect their assets.  

For information, and to find out if you qualify for free legal estate planning services, contact AAAH at 503-595-3517 or visit aaah.org

Stories of Resilience

Gaelan and Kashta's Story

Brothers Gaelan and Kashta holding keys to their new home.

Brothers Gaelan and Kashta Andrade Booker knew they wanted to become homeowners from a young age, in fact, it was immediately after their parents' home was foreclosed back in 2008.

As shared by Kashta, "That was during the recession, I was really young, so I didn't really understand too much of what was going on, but I remember us moving into an apartment. It was rough, living in a home and then going to a two-bedroom apartment with six of us sharing one bathroom."

Finances were also difficult back then. "We were pinching to get by, just surviving," said Gaelan. "The moving process and switching schools - it was hard on us, but it also helped motivate us."

The brothers both expressed that those early years of challenges and change helped them on a personal level. They developed a "can do" mindset, and although the idea of homeownership still seemed like a very distant notion, "like a fog," they knew it could happen one day. 

Years went by and one day "our grandma, Grandma Katie, shout-out to Grandma Katie, sent me an email or a flyer or a newsletter, I'm not even sure, but she just passed along this opportunity about the Preference Policy. And that was back in 2018, it was like two years before we even got the process started. We had forgotten about it completely and then got an email and then things started picking up," said Kashta. 

Working with thePortland Housing Center the brothers received financial counseling and down payment assistance and after a few years they were finally mortgage ready! The next step, with the help of their team, was to find a home in the Interstate Corridor. When the right house presented itself, they knew right away. Today, the brothers are not only happy with the home they chose, they also share it with their family, including their parents!

What's the best thing about homeownership? "The freedom for us personally. The freedom to work on our house and do what we want with it to improve it, to customize it, whatever. We can put a hole in the wall ... and be happy," said Gaelan, who works in construction.

What advice would they have for others? Never forget your dreams. It may be rough but stay the course. The brothers, intensely focused on generational wealth building, are now in the process of purchasing an investment property! They are awaiting loan approval, and excited to put to good use the skills they learned in both purchasing and repairing their home. They also want to be an inspiration to others. "We have family members, cousins who we grew up with and did everything with - like our cousin Dylan. He was very inspired, and now he has a property out in Texas. That is motivating. That is wealth.”


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