A proposal from the city would ask each participating church to build a home on its property for a member in need

The city of Newberg may look to local churches and faith organizations to fill a need for affordable housing in the city.

City Manager Joe Hannan said he was planning to meet with Christin ministry Love INC later this week to discuss a plan that would involve participating churches to build at least one home on their property for someone in need in that congregation, whether that's someone who works in the church or just comes for services.

He added that the plan would excel since it wouldn't require a long zoning process, as the churches would be building the homes on their own land.

"If it flies we'll have 30-plus additional affordable housing units in the community," Hannan said.

The hope is that Love INC, a local organization that connects churches and people in need, would serve as a coordinator for the churches, Hannan said, adding that the city will plan to go forward with the initiative even if Love INC doesn't want to act as a coordinator.

"It doesn't have a lot of downside," he said.

Many of the churches Hannan has spoken to about the idea have been receptive, he said, adding that the houses don't have to be massive and that for now the hope would be just a single home on each church property. Going forward, churches could look on their own to add more houses to their properties, if they wish.

"We're not asking for anything other than them building it," he said.

The city's housing committee still needs to discuss what the city can do to assist the churches, such as providing fees.

Hannan said more than 30 churches in the city have space on their property to accommodate these houses.

"They're an important part of that, the faith community taking on some role in addressing affordable housing," he said.

Hannan said he would know more after his meeting with Love INC on Nov. 7 about a potential timeline for the plan. Attempts to contact him after the meeting were unsuccessful.

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