Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare is just months away from breaking ground on a building with 71 affordable apartments and eventually, an adjacent health clinic in the Centennial neighborhood.
The apartment building is planned for 3800 S.E. 164th Ave. at Powell Boulevard, on the site of the former Pinbusterz bowling alley.
"Absolutely, there is a need for this type of housing," said Jim Hlava, vice president for housing, with the nonprofit Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare.
Centennial Place Apartments will have 71 units of affordable housing, including 15 studio homes, 32 one-bedroom units and 24 two-bedroom units.
Cascadia serves people living with mental illness and addictions and 18 of the homes will be set aside for people with mental health issues. Those units will be sprinkled among the other homes so the residents are integrated into the apartment community.
The remaining 53 units will be affordable housing for households with incomes below 60% of the area median income, which is $52,740 for a family of four.
Households with students enrolled in the Centennial School District ,whose families are identified as homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, will receive preference for the homes.
"It's a wonderful thing," said Lori Palmiter, homeless liaison with the Centennial School District. "We're excited about it."
She noted that it will be a while before the apartment homes are finished, but "it's great to have this in the Centennial boundaries. We'll have our families able to be referred there."
"Centennial Place will bring critical affordable housing to East Portland, where these resources are severely lacking and we are honored to be able to provide continued support and improved well-being for this community," said Derald Walker, President and CEO at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare, in a statement.
Hlava said the three-story building will have some community gathering spaces, which can be used for study rooms and possibly tutoring for Centennial school district students.
Opening in 2022
Cascadia will apply for building permits in mid-April and hopes to break ground in August or September. Construction is estimated to take about 14 months, so folks won't be moving in until early 2022.
Another affordable housing project is planned on the other side of town, on Northeast 162nd Avenue between Glisan and Halsey streets. The nonprofit group Albertina Kerr has proposed building a 150-unit apartment complex on its campus there.
The Centennial Place Apartments received funding awards from the Oregon Health Authority and Oregon Housing and Community Services, as well as a rent subsidy commitment from Multnomah County.
Hlava said he would not be surprised to hear some concern from the community about disruptions due to the construction and possible mental health issues of some of the residents and clinic clients. But, he said, Cascadia works to help local residents understand the programs better.
"We're not hiding that we are a mental health organization," he said. "My approach is to help people understand there is a benefit to the community."
Hlava plans meetings with the community and neighborhood association to explain the project and answer questions.
The new Centennial Place apartments and future 25,000 to 30,000 square foot clinic are modeled after Cascadia's first integrated housing and healthcare center, the Garlington Health Center & Garlington Place Apartments in northeast Portland. Garlington is smaller than the proposed Centennial Place, with 52 homes.
"It has worked really well over there," Hlava said of Garlington's relationship with the community.
The planned clinic will provide basic primary care, as well as services for people with behavioral health issues, for low-income people and will be open to the entire community. It is planned to have six examination rooms and a lab.
"Our history and our track record is that we are a good neighbor," Hlava said.
What is Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare?
Cascadia is the largest community-based behavioral health and substance use treatment services organization in the state of Oregon and has been providing care for more than 35 years.
Last year Cascadia served more than 18,000 people. It brings health and housing services at more than 75 sites in Multnomah and Clackamas counties.
Cascadia currently owns, manages and supports over 1,000 units of specialty affordable housing across the Portland Metro area.
Cascadia's housing portfolio provides a variety of options to meet the community's needs, including residential programs, supportive housing sites, fully independent housing sites and integrated housing.
"At Cascadia, we believe access to safe, stable and affordable housing is a crucial component to whole health," Derald Walker, President and CEO at Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare said in a statement.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit: cascadiabhc.org.
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