Housing For Workforce and Veterans Comes To Toledo
On February 7, 2020, the Housing Stability Council approved funding award to
Northwest Coastal Housing (NWCH) for Veteran and Workforce housing development in
Toledo, Oregon. NWCH is a Community Development Corporation (CDC) in Lincoln County, a
nonprofit affordable housing developer since 1991. Sheila Stiley, Executive Director for
Northwest Coastal Housing, anticipates ground breaking on the 11 unit complex between late
Spring and early Summer 2021 with an anticipated 8-9 month process.
The need for housing in Lincoln County is not news to anyone, but the approved award
is news indeed. Affordable housing development funding has not been an easy task to obtain
for a small CDC. Rural areas have a history of increased difficulty accessing funding compared
to more metro areas. As a matter of fact, the last ground up development for NWCH was in
2006, and nearly a decade between builds for the local Housing Authority. It is averaged to be upwards of 13 years between affordable housing developments due to rural constraints
balancing the proforma based on funding sources. Developing on the coast is challenging and more expensive due to material costs such as stainless steel.
The state has been proactive in funding rural areas as one of their 6 point priorities in
Oregon’s Statewide Housing Plan, “Breaking New Ground”. Based on this plan, a new source of funding was created for the 2019 Notice Of Funds Available for Small and Large Projects with Additional Veteran Subsidy. The main funding source includes GAP, General Account Program dollars originating almost entirely from income taxes paid by individual Oregonians and Oregon businesses.
NWCH was awarded $1,627,500 in GAP funds, outsourced $325,000 from the
Oregon Affordable Housing Tax Credit (OAHTC) loan program, and was pledged $25,000 in
committed funds from the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners, spearheaded by
Commissioner Claire E. Hall who stated "Public support for housing of all types is high, but I particularly hear from people who feel its a shame that so many veterans lack decent,
affordable housing. I'm proud the county is able to join NW Coastal Housing and other partners to make this project a reality”.
Other funding sources include $1000 from the John Reed Veteran Foundation. NWCH will apply for the Central Lincoln PUD rebate program thus providing cost savings of approximately $2500 and is responsible for $300,000 owner contribution plus $33,007 in
deferred developer fees. NWCH will be working with the City of Toledo to offset some of the
infrastructure costs, seek funding from foundations, and fundraise to assist with the $300,000
in owner committed funds.
“Affordable housing development takes work and money is not readily accessible”, says Executive Director, Sheila Stiley. “We have to work very hard to obtain the levels of funding required in addition to all of the rules and mandates we must follow. This is not standard development. It is development with a twist or two which can be very challenging for others to understand. But we need the housing and we have great partnerships or this project and others moving forward” stated Stiley. “The City of Toledo has been very supportive and appreciative of new development. They advocated strongly for the project with
hopes of future development opportunities.”
Blackberry Hill Apartments will have 8 veteran preference units consisting of a mix of
income levels to qualify ranging from 30% Area Median Income (AMI) to 60% AMI. NWCH will
partner with both the Community Services Consortium (CSC) and the Lincoln County Veterans
Services Office (VSO) who will be the referring agencies for the project. The remaining three
units will be workforce units for individuals making <80% AMI; no referral necessary.
Additionally, this complex, as most all of NWCH’s builds, will include Resident Services
Coordination working both with CSC, Lincoln County VSO and NWCH with overlapping programs to enhance living and reduce barriers that would otherwise lead to homelessness
“We are excited to see the construction of this beautifully designed and well-planned
development become a reality. CSC is looking forward to our partnership with NWCH” stated
Pegge McGuire, Acting Director of Community Services Consortium. CSC operates the
Supportive Services for Veteran Families and maintains the Veteran Bi-Name List Registry in
2018-2019 which helps minimize the gap and identify and assist men and women who served in the armed forces. The CSC also partners with the Lincoln County VSO to provide overlapping services to veterans.
One of those services includes locating housing for our community veterans however, with the lack of supply of adequate housing stock, many veterans are left displaced or
unhoused. “It is no secret that housing on the Oregon Coast is in low supply. Those individuals and families with steady income can find it difficult to acquire stable housing in our community so it is not difficult to imagine that veterans, particularly those with disabilities and limited income, face an increased number of barriers when attempting to find permanent residences in this area,” states Devin Whitaker, Veteran Services Officer of the Lincoln County VSO.
“Additionally, those veterans who do qualify for housing assistance more-often-than-not find
better housing opportunities in other communities due to the lack of affordable housing stock
in the area.” “The awarded Blackberry Hill Apartment Complex offers veterans in our area an
opportunity to access stable and affordable housing without relocating to another area. Our
office has partnered with Northwest Coastal Housing in support of this effort and created
strategies to ensure that future residents of this facility not only get housed but also have
better access to Service Officers who can assist them in exploring other potential benefits
through the VA,” explained Whitaker. “Veterans in Lincoln County need housing. It is exciting
to know that this project will serve those who have served us with better access to housing