Nonprofit NUHECDC is developing affordable condos for homeownership alongside a training program for recently released offenders

Twenty affordable townhouse-style condominiums are being developed at 28 N.E. 109th Ave. by nonprofit National Urban Housing & Economic Community Development Corporation (NUHECDC), which celebrated the groundbreaking for the project on Jan. 4.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JONATHAN HOUSE - From left, NUHECDC President Carlene Jackson, State Sen. Lew Fredrick, State Sen. Alan DeBoer Chief of Staff W. Scott Jorgensen, and NUHECDC Executive Director David Greenridge mark the beginning of 20 new affordable condos of NE Burnside.

Designed by Andrew Montgomery of TerraForma Architects and built by Vik Construction, the townhomes will be available for homeownership to households earning 80 percent of the area median income or less.

"This project addresses an unmet need in Portland's affordable housing crisis and will allow low- and moderate-income families to experience the joys and benefits of having their own home, most of them for the very first time," said NUHECDC Executive Director David Greenidge.

The condos are directly off East Burnside, within walking distance of the MAX, Mall 205 and Ventura Park. "We've been working with the Portland Housing Center, and we've already got qualified buyers lining up to take advantage of this great opportunity," Greenidge said. "But we still have some available."

Greenidge told the Business Tribune ahead of the event that NUHECDC started up 10 years ago under another nonprofit, but many of the board members reinvented themselves three years ago as NUHECDC.

"A bunch of folks living in Northeast Portland saw the fact that minorities in particular weren't getting the opportunity for equity building," Greenidge said. "It's just a bunch of white and black folks who wanted to see the neighborhood improve because it was high crime — this was several years back. One of the ways to get people into homeownership was rentals: we do need a lot of rentals to help people with the problem, but our model was always homeownership."

That's why NUHECDC chose the condo model: to help low- and moderate-income families build equity. But as a nonprofit developer, NUHECDC works to alleviate both sides of the poverty slide.

"We also have another aspect of our program, our training program," Greenidge said. "We target prior offenders, helping them come out of incarceration to get jobs in the construction industry."

That program has been live for two years, and has seen 60 people come through the organization.

"Out of the 60 we trained, 30 we placed on jobs at area construction jobs, and some have gone into the union apprenticeship program," Greenidge said. "We, ourselves, are an area builder, a minor remodeler. We have a (Construction Contractors Board) CCB license doing fences and deck and porches. We haven't broken ground on this until this week."

Vik Construction agreed to hire some guys from the training program, helping people in the community earn skilled trade jobs and helping others buy their first homes.

By Jules Rogers
Reporter, The Business Tribune
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