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The Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) has released $28.8 million to fill funding gaps in permit-ready multifamily projects that can help the City meet its goals for Portland’s share of the Metro Affordable Housing Bond, in particular goals for extremely-low income units restricted at 30% of Area Median Income and Permanent Supportive Housing units.
These funds are expected to bring at least 400 affordable homes, new or acquired, to the market — and, as much as possible, on a faster timeline than traditional investments in affordable housing.
Planned projects may be eligible if they are permit-ready but in need of additional capital. But thanks to Multnomah County’s $9.75 million capital investment, some projects already under construction or near completion may also be eligible.
Acquiring existing buildings and converting them into affordable developments can dramatically shorten the time between investing dollars and welcoming in people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness. Those projects just have to be “near turnkey” – needing funds to open and operate — so long as no affordable units are already included in the project.
“This funding opportunity represents a significant, innovative partnership between the City of Portland and Multnomah County to address our region’s housing affordability crisis,” said Portland City Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “I’m grateful to Multnomah County for their funding support, as well as the Portland Housing Bureau, the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and Home Forward for working together on this funding package. This type of creative collaboration across agencies and jurisdictions is exactly what our city and our region need to urgently and equitably address the housing crisis. I look forward to seeing the proposals for these funds come to fruition.”
“This is the type of City-County partnership we need more of to respond to our housing crisis,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal. “By asking for innovative ideas and cutting red tape, we can get these projects over the finish line and make an immediate impact."
Jayapal has advocated for one-time County funds to be used to incentivize the acquisition or development of innovative housing models and public-private partnerships to serve people exiting homelessness. During the County’s FY 2024 budget process, she earmarked $9.75 million that had gone unspent the previous fiscal year for this purpose. The Housing Bureau’s solicitation provided a unique opportunity to collaborate with the City in making this investment.
“These investments will help us get vital projects to completion and help create desperately needed housing units in the very near future,” said Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson. “This partnership is important because we have to go beyond business as usual in our work. Having more affordable housing for people who need it will free up capacity in our shelters and help people move off our streets."
In 2018, the City of Portland was granted $211 million from Metro’s voter-backed regional affordable housing bond with the goal of creating 1,475 units of affordable housing, including 605 deeply affordable units at 30% of Area Median Income (AMI) and 737 family-sized units. Additionally, the City established a goal of creating 300 units of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) through Metro Housing Bond funds.
With Portland’s Housing Bond now fully allocated and exceeding all goals, the City is focused on deploying its remaining allocation of Metro Affordable Housing Bond funds. PHB has already made substantial progress toward its Metro Bond goals.
Since 2018, PHB has made commitments to 20 projects with Metro Housing Bond funds. Based on awarded projects, PHB has exceeded the unit count goal with 1,541 units, and the family-sized unit goal with 751 units. This solicitation is to ensure that the remaining targets for deeply affordable 30% AMI units and Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units are met.
“The market impacts of the pandemic—including rising inflation and interest rates—have left a lot of projects with funding gaps,” said Portland Housing Bureau Interim Director Molly Rogers. “By strategically targeting these funds to help otherwise shovel-ready projects cross the finish line and immediately ready for occupancy, we are able to maximize flexibility, and bring new affordable housing online with greater expediency.”
Source: City of Portland, Multnomah County