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On Friday, December 12, PCRI welcomed partners and community members to its newest affordable rental home. The new home in Northeast Portland’s Concordia neighborhood is part of a PCRI initiative to enable involuntarily displaced residents of the community to return to neighborhoods they would otherwise be priced out of.
The new home features four bedrooms and two baths. A main floor bedroom and bathroom, as well as all living spaces, are accessible to a resident with mobility impairments. Upstairs, three additional bedrooms and a full bathroom provide space for a larger or extended family.
When PCRI determined that it wasn’t practical to rehabilitate the affordable rental home which was previously at this location, we looked to replace it with a new home that was not only affordable and practical, but also healthy and efficient. The new rental home is part of a larger strategy by PCRI to ensure and expand the availability of affordable rental housing in neighborhoods where community resources are robust, schools are easily accessible, and transit services are frequent and readily available. This home and future developments coming soon aim to mitigate–and when possible, prevent–the forced displacement of long-term residents due to rising rents and gentrification.
As with other homes rehabilitated or newly constructed by PCRI and our contractor partners, this home will benefit from finishes, cabinetry and flooring chosen because for good looks and durability as well as their absence of unhealthy chemicals used in production and finishing. The durable and highly efficient design will not only help the home earn Earth Advantage Platinum certification, but will also help ensure low maintenance and utility costs for PCRI and the home’s residents.
This new construction project, built by Albina Construction, also provides good paying construction jobs for historically underutilized firms. Construction work performed by certified minority-owned, women-owned and emerging small businesses (MWESBs) exceeded 87% of all contracts, based on percentage of overall construction costs. In addition, approximately two-thirds off all work was performed by Section 3 certified workers and businesses, ensuring the economic opportunities of construction benefits low-income residents.
Funding for this project has been provided by Portland Housing Bureau, the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), equity invested by PCRI, and the use of energy-efficiency incentives and planning grants from the Energy Trust of Oregon. Volunteer crews also helped install low-maintenance, drought-tolerant landscaping to minimize water use and maximize the home’s beauty.
The new homes are being made available for purchase by families earning 80% or less of area median income. To ensure they are affordable in the long haul, the PEEHP grant helped offset the cost of energy-saving techniques and systems (like the water heaters provided by Portland General Electric).
KGW’s Erica Heartquist has a video preview of the homes, including their energy-efficient features and sustainable materials.
Families currently living in PCRI’s rental housing are expected to purchase the new homes.
“We house over 700 families and so when we decided to move into home ownership development, we just decided to work with the households that were already living in PCRI properties, so it was really quite easy,” said Fitzpatrick.
This start-to-finish approach toward self-sufficiency is part of PCRI’s larger goal of increasing home ownership rates for minority Portland families. The home ownership rate for most minorities in Portland is 33% compared to 69% for white residents.
The homes were built by Terrafirma Building Inc., with the construction loan funded by the Portland Housing Bureau. The construction funding and PEEHP Grant also includes two other row homes nearby that are scheduled for completion in October.
Did you see us in last Sunday’s Oregonian? Our new homes are part of the City of Portland’s Build it Green! homes tour and were featured in the September 19 “Homes and Rentals” section of the paper.
The article highlights PCRI’s new homes and some of the features we’ve built in to ensure energy efficiency and low utility costs, durability and low maintenance costs as well as sustainability–sustaining the neighborhood and viable housing options as well as being mindful of our precious natural resources.
“The great thing about the show is it gives you a chance to see how green building technology works. It’s so much more valuable than seeing houses on the Internet or reading a book,” Valerie Garrett said in the article. She is the Green Building Specialist and the coordinator for the tour at City of Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability.
Other affordable new homes by Orange Splot/Proud Ground and Habitat for Humanity are also featured in the article and on the tour. The Oregonian feature pointed out the homes’ affordability and the increased benefit of green building strategies for affordable homes.
“The builders are making [the homes] available at below-market prices, and are including the same kinds of green features as other homes on the tour. Those green features make the homes even more affordable because they keep energy costs to a minimum,” the article said.
Tickets to the Saturday, September 25 tour can be picked up for $15 from Ecohaus at 819 SE Taylor Street. Tour hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ecohaus will also host a free information fair from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. that is open to everyone.
With deconstruction of an existing, vacant home in progress in the background, we celebrated the beginning of development for four new affordable and sustainable homes in North Portland’s Portsmouth neighborhood. City of Portland officials, neighbors and other community members joined in the celebration Wednesday, April 14.
The four new homes, developed by PCRI in conjunction with Portland Development Commission and Portland Housing Bureau, fulfill a part of PCRI’s mission to provide affordable housing—when they are completed in the fall, the homes will be available for sale to buyers earning 80% or less of area median income. The homes also represent a commitment to expand minority homeownership opportunities as part of the Operation Home Ownership and Minority Equity program, established in 2005 to raise awareness and reduce barriers for minority homeowners.
Ranging from 1550 to 1620 square feet, the homes “will be the largest homes being targeted for affordable home ownership that Portland Development Commission and Portland Housing Bureau has funded to date,” said John Marshall of Portland Development Commission, who was present for the celebration. “They will be incredible improvements to the neighborhood.”
As evidenced by the deconstruction work happening in the background, sustainability is another key aspect of the new homes. As part the Portland Energy Efficient Home Pilot program, the four new homes will be 15% – 30% more energy efficient than a home built to Oregon’s 2008 energy code and will provide practical information about energy efficiency methods and costs for the City of Portland and other homebuilders. The homes have been designed to achieve LEED, Earth Advantage and Energy Star certifications for sustainable materials, design and construction and have been submitted for the city’s annual Build It Green home tour.
The kick-off celebration comes just weeks after closing on construction funding with Portland Development Commission and Portland Housing Bureau. Maxine Fitzpatrick, PCRI Executive Director, addressed the crowd at the celebration, enthusiastically thanking the project’s partners and supporters and speaking of the hurdles overcome to realize the project.
It’s official! PCRI is realizing our dream of building affordable, sustainable homes for new homeowners.
This morning, Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick (pictured above with Lori Medak of Fidelity National Title) signed closing documents–a final hurdle prior to deconstructing the existing structures and building the first four homes PCRI is developing for affordable ownership opportunities.
“This development represents our commitment to the community; it is a beginning,” said Fitzpatrick, who was jubilant to move forward with the project.
John Marshall of Portland Development Commission, whose funding will make these homes possible, touted the new homes as “incredible improvements to the neighborhood.”
While it’s been a long process leading up to this morning’s milestone, PCRI is especially excited to get started on construction. To stay informed about construction progress, become our fan on Facebook or follow us at twitter.com/pcri_home.
PCRI has long envisioned in-house development of sustainable, energy-efficient AND affordable new homes. This week, we were delivered a gift of good news: approval of funding for these new homes.
“This is great news for PCRI staff and more importantly, great news for PCRI residents who have been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to purchase these homes,” boasted Executive Director Maxine Fitzpatrick.
“This pilot project connects PCRI’s in-house housing development to its in-house program services, permitting a holistic approach to housing stabilization, asset building and wealth creation that combats generational poverty,” she added.
The four pilot homes (sketched below) will be built on two locations in North Portland. The completed homes will be available for purchase by families earning 70-80% of area median income.
PCRI’s assistance to first-time homebuyers–programs like down-payment assistance, matched-savings Individual Development Accounts and homebuyer education–will be supplemented by a Portland Development Commission affordable housing subsidy.
Portland’s Energy Efficient Home Pilot program has also provided grants to offset the cost of additional insulation, high-efficiency heating systems and other design elements which ensure these new homes are at least 15-30% more energy efficient than other homes built to current energy codes. These measures will benefit the new homeowners in the form of lower energy costs.
Other sustainability measures–like natural and recycled-content flooring, secure bicycle parking, stormwater diversion systems and water-efficient fixtures–compliment the energy-efficiency measures to provide a healthy and efficient home with low maintenance costs and as little impact as possible on our environment.
With the merger of affordability, sustainability and efficiency, PCRI is excited to get started on these new homes and to meet our goals–as well as the City of Portland’s–of increasing minority homeownership in our city. We’re looking forward to an especially successful project with our project partners: eM|Zed Design, Kismet Design and Terrafirma Building.
“We are confident in [the project’s] impending success, which will lead to the full implementation of a long envisioned minority homeownership plan and additional development,” Fitzpatrick concluded