Unanimity from City Commissioners in January moved development grants forward for North and Northeast Portland as the council approved allocation of $20 million in grants as proposed by Housing Commissioner Dan Saltzman. An oversight committee of community members is being formed to monitor progress and to ensure that goals are met.
The Plan approved was developed over the past year from hundreds of community members’ tales and testimonials. The object of the review was to ensure response to real-life needs of those impacted by or at risk of displacement. The Council directed the $20 million be divided among main community-voiced priorities: increasing affordable rentals, creating home ownership opportunities, using home repair to prevent displacement (especially among elderly and disabled) and acquiring land for future affordable housing development.
According to the directive, $4.5 million will be used to redevelop land on Northeast Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard (between Northeast Cook and Northeast Ivy streets) for affordable rental housing with family-sized units with an anticipation of 40-80 new units and ground-floor commercial space to support neighborhood businesses. Another $2.4 million will go towards Down Payment Assistance Loans (DPAL) to help an additional 40 households into home ownership over the next three years. An additional $2.6 million will build 32 new affordable homes for purchase in the area.
About $3.2 million will provide home repair loans of up to $40,000 for 80 households, and $800,000 will fund 160 smaller grants to install wheelchair ramps, grab bars, and other critical repairs enabling seniors and disabled residents to remain safely in their homes. Finally, $3 million will be dedicated to a longer term strategy to protect properties from market rate development and reserve them for affordable housing.