Grand reopening planned by Northwest Housing Alternatives
Northwest Housing Alternatives plans to host a grand reopening of its Milwaukie campus and headquarters, Tuesday, Aug. 20 when local leaders and members of surrounding communities are invited to come tour the recently completed renovation and expansion.
"We're really excited, and we hope this (expansion) is going to make a huge impact in achieving our mission," said Kristin Barber, NHA's director of resource development.
NHA is the leading nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the state of Oregon. It develops, builds and manages rental housing designed for Oregonians on an extremely limited income, often $16,000 a year or less. These developments total 1,885 units across 100 properties located all over the state, including two right here in Lake Oswego.
NHA is also the newly crowned title sponsor of the Lake Oswego Lake Run, the annual 10K and 5K walk/run that takes place each Mother's Day weekend. This past May, NHA took over management of the event and raised approximately $60,000 toward its mission of providing affordable housing in Clackamas County and beyond.
According to Barber, who is also a Lake Oswego resident, NHA was at maximum capacity within its old offices which had some employees working out of converted bathrooms and kitchens. The new offices will allow the nonprofit to expand from 36 to 50 employees over the coming years as it bolsters its presence in the low-income housing market with the development of new properties.
The expansion also saw a complete transformation of the Annie Ross House, which will reopen in September. The Annie Ross House is Clackamas County's only full-family shelter, and it serves to help local families experiencing homelessness transition into stable, affordable housing. The new shelter features eight expertly designed rooms that waste zero space including kitchenettes and private bathrooms. The shelter also has a common area with places for children to play, a full shared kitchen and space for meetings and programming to help families.
The $20 million campus renovation completed by O'Neill Walsh Construction Group also includes 28 brand new units of affordable housing. The on-site development offers one, two and three-bedroom units, all centered around the NHA headquarters, Annie Ross House and a courtyard featuring a small playground and green space. With the new units located right next to
the organization's offices, NHA is looking into how they can promote mentorship opportunities for residents to get involved and help other families dealing with housing instability.
"This launches us to a point where will be able to get another 800-900 units of affordable housing to extend our reach in Oregon," Barber said. "The big takeaway is how amazing the community support was. This wouldn't have happened without it."
According to Barber, that community support comes from many places within Clackamas County, including Lake Oswego. Taking over as sponsor of the Lake Run more than doubled the typical fundraising efforts that NHA usually completes each spring.
"Organizing the Lake Run opened doors to a community that we have properties in, but they didn't necessarily know who were, so it was a great way for people to learn about us," Barber said. "In terms of exposure, it was a game changer for us."
NHA Grants and Communications Specialist Katie Ash said that the move back into their new offices from their temporary location on McLoughlin Boulevard has gone smoothly.
High ceilings and an open floor plan create a welcoming atmosphere and productive workspace for NHA employees.
"It's such a huge difference from where we were," Ash said.
Executive Director Trell Anderson has a plan to increase staff by about 14 over the next five years in order to hit the goal of bringing 800-900 new units of affordable housing to Oregon during that same time period. According to Barber and Ash, NHA currently has about 125 units of housing coming down its pipeline for new development.
Contact Lake Oswego Review reporter Sam Stites at 503-479-2375
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