Special Development Initiatives

Public Housing Preservation

Home Forward owns almost 2,000 units of public housing throughout Multnomah County. Federal funding has not kept pace with the growing needs of day-to-day operations, maintenance, and capital improvements for these properties. In order to protect and enhance our community’s public housing resource, Home Forward launched a Public Housing Preservation Initiative in 2007.

This involved replacing units that were inefficient to operate, making $30 million of capital improvements to family housing properites, and increasing the number of available units. The result is a safer, more sustainable public housing supply.

The agency now is turning its attention to preserving its ten public housing high rises.  These apartment communities are a valuable community resource.  Located in the central city near services and amenities, they provide more than 1,200 homes for seniors and people with disabilities, most of whom live on fixed incomes of less than $1,000 a month.

The buildings are between 30 and 50 years old and in need of serious repair. The improvements, estimated at $80 million, include exterior siding work, roof replacements, seismic bracing, replacement of water supply piping, better interior ventilation, and replacement of obsolete boilers.

Residents will remain in place as this work is done in phases over the next five to seven years.  Financing these renovations will involve changing the underlying federal subsidy for these buildings from public housing to project-based rent assistance.

For more information on these efforts, please read the following documents:

Sweet 16 Capital Improvements

Capital improvement of existing properties is one of the goals of our Public Housing Preservation Initiative.  The “Sweet 16” project was intended to ensure that priority construction projects on 16 of our public housing properties would be ready-to-build within the timeframe necessary for use of funding from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

Home Forward renovated 295 apartments throughout Portland and Gresham. Upgrades included energy-efficiency measures, updated appliances and flooring, landscape and playground improvements, and interior and exterior repairs.

This $12 million project was completed in 17 months, utilizing:

  • $6.4 million in federal 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus funds
  • $4.2 million in public housing capital grant funds
  • $1.0 million in Home Forward’s PHPI funds
  • $0.4 million contribution from Multnomah County’s weatherization program

The regional economic stimulus impact included over 32% ($3 million) of contracts awarded to qualified minority-owned, women-owned, and emerging small businesses with over 11,344 hours worked by women and minorities.

For more information on Sweet 16 Capital Improvements, read or download our final project report.