Dozens More Affordable Homes Will Be Built by Two Oregon Enterprises

Affordable Homes: Dozens of homes priced for low-income families are being constructed in Eugene and Lincoln City as part of two separate projects designed to alleviate Oregon’s housing issue.

While the Eugene development will offer reasonably priced homes for sale, the Lincoln City project is meant to house those who lose theirs in a wildfire in 2020.

With these initiatives, 80 much-needed new low-cost dwellings will be built. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there is a shortage of over 100,000 affordable rental homes in the state for persons whose income is less than a third of the area’s median income.

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Dozens More Affordable Homes Will Be Built

According to Oregon Housing and Community Services, the state would need to quadruple its supply of subsidized affordable housing units in order to satisfy this need.

New affordable housing in Oregon has received millions of dollars in federal and state funds in recent years, including some of the money from the American Rescue Plan, which was passed by Congress in 2021. The state legislature has also made a contribution, allocating $215 million toward the creation and maintenance of affordable housing during the first part of this year’s legislative session.

Dozens More Affordable Homes Will Be Built
Dozens More Affordable Homes Will Be Built

Aid for those who have lost their homes in a fire
In 2020, the Echo Mountain Fire devastated Lincoln County, destroying over 300 residences. Welcome Place, a new housing development in Lincoln City, is working to assist people who have lost their houses. There will be 44 apartments in the complex.

Amanda Perkins, a partner and chief operating officer at Stewardship Development, the organization behind the project, remarked, “That’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s a start.”

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that a single person’s annual income of $15,000 is low enough that they would qualify for one of the eight one-bedroom apartments in Wecoma Place. The remaining apartments, including the one- and two-bedroom ones, will be priced for someone earning around twice as much.

The management company, Pinehurst Management, will collect rent from tenants.

A news statement states that the rentals will be conveniently located near public transportation, educational facilities, and a number of retail establishments. Support services, including a monthly food program, garden programs, and health and wellness activities, will be made available to residents through the statewide organization Cornerstone Community Services.

Funding of $4.7 million has been provided by Oregon Housing and Community Services. It also receives $530,000 from the Housing Authority of Lincoln County and benefits from the federal government’s $10.9 million in catastrophe tax credits.

The project will not have to pay any property taxes or system development fees for 30 years because of an agreement with Lincoln City. To keep the project within budget, the city will likely continue postponing these payments, according to Perkins.

According to Perkins, having this backing made the project feasible. Perkins noted that the project would be more expensive than average due to the sloped terrain, which can lead to more construction-related issues than flat land.

The need for road improvements is necessitated by the Oregon Department of Transportation due to the project’s proximity to a major thoroughfare (U.S. Highway) because of the lower rents being offered. According to Perkins, the cost of doing the necessary road repairs will be between $400,000 and $450,000; fortunately, the state is providing this money.

A groundbreaking ceremony was staged there by Stewardship Developments late last year. Moving into Wecoma Place is expected to begin around the beginning of the year 2024.

Development Work in West Eugene

While affordable housing is available for rent in Eugene, a local group called DevNW is working to construct 40 new affordable homes in west Eugene so that locals can own them.

According to Erin Dey, director of real estate development at DevNW, “homeownership in the United States is the number one way of asset creation for most people. If they don’t have that, they’ll never be able to “move up and onward out of that affordable housing continuum.”

In 2020, DevNW will receive about $3 million from Oregon Housing and Community Services for the Eugene affordable housing project and another affordable housing project in Corvallis for 11 dwellings also for those making less than 80% of the area’s median income.

At its west Eugene site, 31 homes will be marketed to persons with incomes under 80% of the area’s median income, which is around $44,640 a year for one person in Lane County according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Those homes will have a shared equity model or a community land trust model: The homeowner will own the building but DevNW will own the land and the infrastructure of the house, making the mortgage more reasonable for the homeowner. The homeowners will acquire a mortgage simply for the cost of the property itself and will pay a ground leasing fee, which is normally approximately $100 a month, Dey added.

If a homeowner decides to sell their home, they must sell it to someone whose income is at or below 80% of the median income in the area.

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The remaining nine dwellings are market-rate townhouses.

Despite having incomes higher than 80% of the local median, “there are still plenty of folks out there who cannot compete in the market,” Dey added. This is our first effort at a hybrid strategy to see whether we can in fact begin constructing the aforementioned ladder.

Dey said one of the reasons DevNW chose Eugene for the project is because the city regularly offers financial incentives to affordable home developers. The project’s system development charges have been canceled by the municipality.

By 2023, according to DevNW’s projections, the houses should be for sale.

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