Merkley, Wyden, Bonamici Announce Over $319,000 for West Tuality Habitat for Humanity to Build Affordable Homes in Rural Washington County

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, and U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici (OR-01), announced today West Tuality Habitat for Humanity is receiving a $319,200 federal grant award to help build eight homes in rural western Washington County. 

“Everyone should have a safe, affordable place to call home. This federal funding heading to West Tuality Habitat for Humanity will help more rural Oregonians access quality housing,” said Merkley. “As the former leader of a Habitat for Humanity chapter in Oregon myself, this organization holds a special place in my heart because I have seen firsthand the difference accessible homeownership makes for our families. This federal investment further supports the organization’s mission to realize a world where everyone has a decent place to call home.”

“I hear from Oregonians all across the state about the huge need for more affordable housing,” Wyden said. “Organizations like Habitat for Humanity give families a realistic pathway to home ownership. This is just a small step to address the larger issue of access to housing, but it will have an outsized impact for folks in need.” 

“The lack of affordable housing is a challenge in every part of NW Oregon, including rural areas like western Washington County,” said Bonamici. “I previously helped secure federal funding for the Countryman Estates project, and I am thrilled that West Tuality Habitat for Humanity is receiving this investment to help more Oregonians achieve home ownership. Secure housing is fundamental for families and individuals to thrive, and I will continue to advocate for the resources and policies needed to expand access to affordable housing in Oregon and across the country.”

For over 30 years, West Tuality Habitat for Humanity in Forest Grove has worked with local families, volunteers, and partners in western Washington County to build homes with affordable mortgages and make critical repairs. Their work has proven critical to combatting the state’s affordable housing crisis by enabling more Oregonians to live in affordable and safe homes. 

Today’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance grant for West Taulity Habitat for Humanity will assist several low-income and underserved local families as they construct their homes through the Countryman Estates project in Forest Grove. Currently in land-use planning, work is expected to be underway as early as late spring 2024. Once finished, Countryman Estates will consist of eight homes supported by West Tuality Habitat: two single-story fully-accessible units and six townhomes, each with three or four bedrooms and two full baths, as well as all appliances and fully-accessible ground floor living spaces and bedrooms. Participating families will help build their own and their neighbors’ homes, utilizing their sweat equity to help reduce the costs of their homes.  

“West Tuality Habitat for Humanity is pleased and excited to be the recipient of a 523 Technical Assistance grant through the USDA Rural Development Mutual Self-Help Program,” said Virginia Ohler, Executive Director of West Tuality Habitat for Humanity. “As so many of us are all too aware of, home ownership is out of reach for so, so many here in Oregon and all over the United States. This federal investment will support our capacity growth, allowing us to build homes at more than double our current rate of production. This will be on full display for our most ambitious building project to date, Countryman Estates, which broke ground last year. With this funding championed by Senators Merkley and Wyden and Representative Bonamici, we are able to do even more to help put home ownership within reach for families in our community.”