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City buys SE Portland apartment building for affordable housing

New affordable housing in Southeast Portland could soon be a reality.

PORTLAND, Ore. – New affordable housing in Southeast Portland could soon be a reality.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler announced the purchase of an apartment building on 105th and Burnside. Wheeler said the Portland Housing Bureau had a rare opportunity to purchase the building before construction was even finished at a price of $14.3 million.

“Funding this kind of transitional housing for our most vulnerable neighbors is extremely important to me,” he said. “Acquiring a new building with these amenities and transit options is a rare opportunity. We have been able to act swiftly before it was sold on the private market thanks to this resource given to us by Portland voters.”

The building is the third project announced as part of Portland’s Housing Bond and the promise to create 1,300 units to help solve the city’s affordable housing problem.

“The housing issue is a regional issue,” Mayor Wheeler explained. “It is not just a Portland issue.”

The issue of affordable housing is something Shannon Singleton deals with daily as the executive director of an organization called Join, which helps families find permanent homes. Singleton said she often sees people cycle in and out of homelessness because they can no longer afford where they are living.

"Without some of the protections around rent increase or things that can help them stay stable, the affordability, for particularly our lowest income neighbors, is really a gap and something like this serves to support them but also support the community,” Singleton said.

Mayor Wheeler said options like this new apartment building are in short supply for families experiencing homelessness.

The new apartment has 51 units and was built to house more than 167 people. The building will offer seven studios, 20 one-bedroom, and 24 two-bedroom apartments, as well as on-site supportive services. The two-bedroom units are designed to accommodate families with children.

"There is a huge need for this,” Singleton said. “I think we're excited because again it ends the need for ongoing rent support for breaking that cycle of homelessness that happens for people."

The acquisition will go before the Portland City Council for approval on June 13. Leasing is expected to begin in July. The city said priority will go to extremely low-income families.

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