Feds investing in affordable housing in Newberg, elsewhere in state

Announced in a joint press release put out by the office of Oregon’s Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, a boon to affordable housing is coming Newberg’s way. Newberg is among four cities in Oregon that will receive a total of $7.2 million from the federal government to preserve affordable housing units.

Newberg, Heppner, McMinnville and Tillamook will have a total of 122 affordable housing units preserved and renovated with the federal dollars, according to the release.

“Oregonians working hard to pay rent as well as their bills for groceries, prescription drugs and more know full well how the pandemic’s economic fallout has worsened the longstanding challenge of affordable housing,” Wyden said in the release. “This much-needed investment will help rural Oregonians to meet that challenge and I will keep fighting for all available affordable housing resources for all Oregonians needing them.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an LLC known as Glenhaven Park will purchase and make renovations to apartment complexes in the aforementioned Oregon cities. The money will be acquired in the form of $7.25 million in loans that the federal government has guaranteed will be reimbursed.

As part of the deal, apartments in the complexes will be required to maintain affordable rent and retain federal rental assistance for its low-income residents who meet the criteria. Renovations will be conducted on the properties by Chrisman Development Inc., and rental assistance will be provided to ensure that tenants are not spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

Communities of color are said to be disproportionately impacted by the affordable housing crisis and related economic hardships, particularly in the cities provided with the influx of federal support. Merkley acknowledged as much in his statement.

“Everyone — regardless of the color of their skin, their zip code or their income — deserves a safe place to call home, especially during a pandemic,” Merkley, who is the leading Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the USDA, said in the release. “But we still have a long way to go, in our rural and urban communities alike, to meet serious affordable housing shortages. I’m grateful that these resources are headed to Oregon where they will help tackle this urgent problem in some of our rural communities, and will continue to do all that I can to secure the support needed in every corner of our state to put roofs over Oregonians’ heads.”