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February 18, 2015     
hope. access. potential
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Michael Buonocore
Message from Michael Buonocore:

How Can We Help in a Sizzling Rental Market?

It’s been widely reported that Portland’s prized housing affordability is slipping away and we risk joining other West Coast cities where the cost of living is prohibitive for all but the affluent.

Against this backdrop, we asked ourselves how we can help ensure that those we serve, individuals and families with the greatest barriers to finding a home they can afford, have access to all areas of our community.  We focused on our Housing Choice Voucher program because it is designed to give people a full range of options in deciding where to live. 

Here’s what we’re going to do. 

First, we are raising rent assistance limits, called payment standards, in our voucher program.  This follows closely on the heels of payment standard increases in 2014, when we also divided Multnomah County into nine zones, each with its own rent assistance limits based on the surrounding market.  At the same time, we used our Moving to Work deregulation authority to establish our rent assistance limits within a broader range of HUD's Fair Market Rents.  These steps in combination are designed to do as much as possible to keep pace with rising rents on behalf of our voucher holders.

With market rents increasing at an overall annual rate of 11 percent, these actions are not enough to assure affordability in all areas.  In some neighborhoods market rents are too high for us to catch up with increased payment standards.  Our community must create new housing that guarantees long-term affordability and the real choice to live in any of our great neighborhoods.

To aid these efforts, we will dedicate up to 500 rent assistance vouchers over the next several years to developments that provide homes for families earning less than 30% of the area median income.  Because these vouchers come out of our overall pool, we don’t take this step lightly.  We want them to create footholds of affordability in neighborhoods with good schools and amenities, where rents have become too high for low-income families.  We also will look for developers to leverage the rent assistance to provide more deeply affordable apartments than the vouchers alone will create.  And, as much as possible, we’ll try to use them to support other important community goals, such as reducing homelessness.

While we're only one part of the answer to some complex and tough challenges, we are committed to doing what we can to make a difference.

Michael Buonocore's signature
Michael Buonocore, Executive Director

Learn more about the payment standard increases

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Affordable Housing for Close-in Southeast Portland

St. Francis Park

An area adjacent to workforce jobs that has very limited housing opportunities for those workers will benefit from a collaborative effort by St. Francis of Assisi Church, Catholic Charities, and Home Forward.

The new apartment community, St. Francis Park, will be located in a close-in Southeast Portland neighborhood on open space adjacent to the church.  The $20 million development will result in 102 affordable apartments, 25 of which will be reserved for domestic violence victims and women experiencing homelessness.  Home Forward, which is contributing $1.1 million in equity, is a co-sponsor on the development project and a limited partner in the ownership of the community.  Construction is slated to begin in fall 2015.

Learn more about St. Francis Park>

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Community Development Practitioner Joins Board

School kids

Tiffiny Hager has focused her community development career on collaborations that enable people in need to pursue opportunities from a foundation of quality, affordable housing.  She is putting her experience in family and youth services to work as the newest member of Home Forward’s Board of Commissioners.  “I deeply value the opportunity Home Forward services provide to our most vulnerable community members,” she said. “I am very pleased to be able to contribute to the fulfillment of the agency’s mission.”

Learn more about Tiffiny>
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New and Notable Winter Reading (and Viewing)

A new model brochure

Here are a few items we thought would be good companions while you’re enjoying your favorite winter brew:  a look at a new model for public housing that guides us in our efforts to preserve this critically important community resource… a video on a skin care clinic for the homeless at the Bud Clark Commons, a multi-use center for people experiencing homelessness…an industry report on Moving to Work innovations from housing authorities, including Home Forward, using this deregulation authority… and an interview with writer and Home Forward resident Mary Weitzel featured by Write Around Portland.


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View the Dashboard Report here


STREET ROOTS: Can 31 cents per hour change the world?

THE OREGONIAN: Our homeless crisis

PORTLAND MONTHLY: Merging architecture and recovery at a new women's rehab center


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