Current Size: 100%
We have launched the most important preservation project in our agency's history. It's called 85 Stories and it involves 10 high-rise apartment communities that have 85 stories of deeply affordable homes for seniors and people with disabilities.
Located in thriving Portland neighborhoods that have a variety of services and amenities within easy walking distance, these apartments are plagued with deteriorating building systems and mounting capital needs.
The federal public housing funding we receive for these 1,229 apartments is not enough to pay for the $80 million in renovations they require. Our 85 Stories initiative will change the underlying subsidy for the buildings from public housing to project-based rent assistance, which in turn allows us to leverage equity and debt to make the repairs. By improving the physical condition of the buildings, we will reduce operating costs, enhance the value of these important community assets, and ensure affordable housing for future generations.
Home Forward has four goals for 85 Stories:
- Continue to serve the same very low income population currently housed
- Continue to own and manage each property
- Improve the physical condition of the properties
- Improve their financial performance
Residents in the ten 85 Stories apartment communities have an average income of less than $800 a month, and the vast majority are seniors or people with disabilities. They pay 28.5 percent of their income in rent, which makes their home affordable if they are living on a fixed or very limited income. While their life stories may differ, they share an appreciation for the positive impact a stable home can have.
Click here to hear how having a home has made a difference for one of our residents.
First Phase Underway
The first phase of the 85 Stories initiative involves renovations at four communities that provide 654 homes: Gallagher Plaza, Northwest Tower, Hollywood East, and Sellwood Center. The underlying subsidy for the apartments was converted to project-based rent assistance in 2013, and limited partnerships that own the buildings will be created. Home Forward will serve as the general partner and retain ownership of the land through ground leases.
The preservation work for this phase is being funded with low-income tax credit equity, tax exempt bonds, and Home Forward equity investments. The $50 million construction project started in spring 2015 and should be complete by early 2016. Residents will continue to live in their apartment communities during the renovations. If relocation is necessary it will be temporary or within the building.
As this work continues, we are developing strategies for the remaining six properties in the 85 Stories initiative: Dahlke Manor, Holgate House, Medallion Apartments, Ruth Haefner Plaza, Schrunk Riverview Tower, and Williams Plaza.