Affordable housing complex opens in east Portland

Housing relief for 33 families

The Fern Grove affordable housing complex, June 2, 2106 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new affordable housing complex aimed at helping low-income families opened Thursday morning in east Portland.

Fern Grove, owned by Pacific Habilitation Center Northwest (PHCNW), is located at NE 143rd Avenue and E Burnside. It contains 33 3-bedroom which are designed for three to seven people each.

“We all know that there is an affordable housing crisis in our area,” said PHCNW President and CEO Alysa Rose. “Families are particularly impacted.”

Each Fern Grove apartment is available for $984 per month, making them more affordable than the average one-bedroom apartment in Portland.

Nick Swearinjer, along with his wife and four children, will be moving in to Fern Grove. His family had been previously not qualified for section-8 housing.

“With low income, this was basically the first and only (affordable) place we’ve seen,” said Swearinjer.

PHCNW is a non-profit that trains and employs people with disabilities. Portland’s housing crisis was causing them to lose workers, so they started building affordable housing themselves.

The company now offers more than 700 units, with plans to have more than 1,000. CEO Alysa Rose says she hopes more people follow the company’s lead.

“I can’t speak for the interest of other developers, but I can say that we, in partnership with our developer Home First, are able to create very lovely affordable housing,” said Rose.

At $984 dollars a month, renters will have a hard time finding a cheaper 3-bedroom in Portland- but that also speaks to how much rents have truly climbed. To meet the city’s recommendation of spending no more than 30-percent of your income on housing, a single-income house has to be making almost $20 per hour.

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