Portland Housing Bureau, Multnomah County, the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Transition Projects and Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare have joined forces to secure a five-year lease and additional five-year option on converted office space at 3800 N.E. Sandy Blvd. to house as many as 50 low-income veterans. The facility will occupy a 1955 motel that at one time served as an Econo-Lodge.
Cascadia Housing Vice-President Jim Hlava said tenants of the new Sandy Studios with rent subsidies and services from the VA would begin moving into the studio apartments this summer.
“In terms of occupancy, we will begin on the second building of 20 units in September, taking a ‘slow and steady’ approach to moving people in a few at a time on Tuesdays and Thursdays,” said Hlava, a Green Bay native who moved his family to Portland in the 1980s.
Hlava said 20 of 32 units in the first building were filled by mid-August, and it was expected to be fully occupied by the end of August. Just under 300 square feet, each apartment includes one bedroom and a full bath. The entire complex has a wi-fi internet service, and cable television is planned to be installed this fall.
Social services available to residents through the VA include employment and health care and are flexible – tailored to the individual as needed. Cascadia is managing the property and has a resident on-site apartment manager, Philadelphia native Shane Dwyer – who came to Portland recently via Alaska.
Both Hlava and Dwyer said they credit the property owner with making the apartment conversion happen and that they were running Sandy Studios with a “can-do” attitude.
“We’re working on as few ways to fail and many more ways to succeed,” Hlava said. For example, Hlava pointed out, “…tenants of Sandy Studios may smoke in their apartments as opposed to other residential housing where smoking is prohibited.”
Hlava characterized neighborhood response so far as “…wonderful – very welcoming, inviting and supportive.”
Hlava said he attended the Hollywood Neighborhood Association’s July meeting, and “…told neighbors we couldn’t guarantee Sandy Studios would have no effect on the community, but we could guarantee, if there were issues, we would respond to address them.”
Hlava said he also attended Hollywood East’s National Night Out event where, he said he met “…a wide variety of interested neighbors.”
Hollywood East, 4400 N.E. Broadway, is a 14-story, section-eight apartment community of 286 studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom apartments for seniors and tenants with disabilities.