The “18th Street Development”, an affordable housing project of 16, 400-square-foot units, is hosting its ribbon-cutting ceremony in St. Helens today.
The project initially struggled to get off the ground, with funding issues keeping construction at bay. Funded by a $675,000 loan from Wauna Credit Union (WCU) and grants from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), the initiative broke ground in October of 2018.
Senator Betsy Johnson, Director of OHCS Margaret Salazar, and WCU AVP Regional Manager Pam Weller, helped facilitate the funding package. Concept, design, funding, and construction were all completed through local entities.
“We were doing an analysis of the housing crisis in Columbia County and WCU is designed to partner with and help our communities,” said WCU AVP Regional Manager Pam Weller. “We had to find a way to make this happen,” said Weller.
The project is addressing two of Oregon’s 5-year plan regarding affordable housing priorities, first by increasing Oregon’s supply of affordable rental housing and second by addressing homelessness.
“What a great opportunity for St. Helens and Columbia County,” said Senator Betsy Johnson. “The goal is a home for every Oregonian. Human housing is a right and every person here today makes this a reality,” said Johnson.
Twenty-five percent of the unit capacity is reserved for homeless people suffering from mental health issues. Occupancy for 16 individuals and/or families will be available in August.