PORTLAND, Ore. – September 14, 2008 – (RealEstateRama) — The Housing Authority of Portland (HAP) marked the completion of its Humboldt Gardens redevelopment with residents and its project partners at a celebration earlier this month. Following New Columbia, Humboldt Gardens is HAP’s second redevelopment anchored by a federal HOPE VI grant. The agency was awarded $16.9 million by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2005 for the $40 million project that replaced the aging Iris Court public housing cluster.
“We’re pleased to finish Humboldt Gardens on time, on budget, and on mission,” said Steve Rudman, HAP’s executive director. “The redevelopment adds to the city’s affordable housing supply, aids efforts to end homelessness, and has been and will continue to be a terrific engine for economic opportunity.”
Adding affordable housing: the 130-unit development replaces the 100 previous public housing units for very low-income households and adds 30 units of moderate-income affordable housing. In addition, the 98 rent assistance vouchers the agency received to relocate Iris Court residents are a permanent part of HAP’s Section 8 program and can be reused when they no longer are needed by former residents.
Ending homelessness: 20 units at Humboldt Gardens are dedicated to residents who are in the regional Bridges to Housing program for families that have been homeless. In addition to housing, the Bridges program provides for support services to help participants stabilize and move on to greater success in their lives.
Supporting economic opportunity: 40 percent of the construction business went to disadvantaged, minority-owned, women-owned, and emerging small businesses, double the 20 percent goal that is more standard on public projects. In addition, more than 58 percent of the hours on the project were completed by women or minority workers. Going forward, Humboldt Gardens is a site for HAP’s Opportunity Housing Initiative (OHI). All families receiving public housing or Section 8 assistance who are able to work must participate in the program. The 60 families are supported in a variety of ways during a five-year quest to reach economic independence. As their income grows, the additional money they pay in rent as a result is set aside in a savings account that they can access at graduation.
Rudman said the OHI program would help create a culture of work at Humboldt Gardens and link residents to their resource-rich neighborhood. “With Portland Community College, the state employment office, Jefferson High School, and Humboldt School so close by, I can’t think of a better location for this program,” he said.
About the Housing Authority of Portland
The Housing Authority of Portland is a public corporation serving all Multnomah County. HAP provides housing and housing-related services to those who face barriers due to income, disability or special need. HAP’s housing and rent assistance programs serve 14,000 households throughout the county. A citizen commission with volunteer members recommended by the City of Portland, the City of Gresham, and Multnomah County and appointed by the Mayor of Portland governs HAP.