The new Waterleaf apartment will soon move 178 families into permanent, affordable housing apartments in the RiverPlace District. It's thanks to the Metro Affordable Housing Bond Program passed in 2018 by voters.
"This is a combination of years of preparation,” said PNW Executive VP of Bridge Housing, Kurt Creager. “Throughout this housing state of emergency — we worked really hard to bring all the resources necessary."
As of last month, Metro has added nearly 1,500 affordable housing units within the greater Portland metro area — since the bond passed. Now Waterleaf is added to that list. An additional 5,900 units, in the greater metro area, are either under construction, pre-construction or still remaining.
The goal with this bond is to build enough housing for more than 14,000 — with rent locked in at affordable rates for the next 60 to 99 years.
"We are keeping rents affordable to people with a spectrum of incomes from 0 to 60% of median income," said Creager.
For example, a family of four has to make between $32,000 and $64,000 a year to qualify.
"I know I'm never going to own a home, but I am very happy to live here, it's a great feeling," said Mark Funk, the first resident to move into the Waterleaf apartments.
In the past, Funk said he and his wife lived in a small garage. Now, thanks to this bond, he can afford a safe home at the Waterleaf apartment.
"The apartment that we have is more than three times the size for only $100 more than our last apartment from which we moved," said Funk. "I would especially like to thank all the homeowners of Portland. Because much of the taxation that supports these homeless initiatives, these affordable housing projects, a lot of that burden falls on people that do own their homes."
Waterleaf has Studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments available. With new appliances, a community room, residential services and so much more.
Twenty of Waterleaf's 178 apartment homes are set aside for veterans under the Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing program.
Waterleaf is the second and final phase of BRIDGE’s RiverPlace Parcel 3 development. The first phase, The Vera, was completed in late 2019 and offers 203 affordable family apartments which, coupled with Waterleaf, brings a total of 381 affordable apartment homes to the area.
By 2025 — the city of Portland itself will open more than 900 affordable units with these bond funds.