Co-op Housing In Springfield First Of Its Kind In Oregon
An affordable housing project was unveiled in Springfield, Wednesday. The “C-Street Co-op” is the first of its kind in Oregon that allows low-income households a form of homeownership.
The co-op features two houses with a total of six single bedroom units on a single lot. Each unit is outfitted with a kitchenette and a bathroom. The project was completed through a partnership with Cultivate, Inc. and SquareOne Villages. SquareOne Villages serves as the land trust which owns the property and oversees the project, and funding for construction came from private social investors.
The project utilized Community Development Block Grant funds from the City of Springfield, and other subsidies from the McKay Family Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank, the Collins Foundation and Meyer Memorial Trust.
Both the use of a community land trust and the stretching of subsidies is what makes the project unique.
Dylan Lamar, an architect and developer with Cultivate, Inc came up with the idea that he said requires less subsidies than a typical affordable housing development would. He said he was inspired by the lack of housing opportunities for middle income families.
“We’re witnessing extreme appreciation in real estate markets nationwide,” he said. “Wealthy cash-buyers and investment firms are pricing the middle class out of homeownership, renters are being priced out of homes at an unprecedented level. Why? Because a renter's home is someone else's commodity.”
He added that affordable housing is underfunded and usually comes with 20-year sunset clauses, making them unstable.
“The C-Street co-op alone is not going to solve our housing crisis, yet it offers a compelling demonstration of how missing middle housing cooperatives can leverage a modest one-time subsidy to permanently enrich a neighborhood,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio was among several politicians onsite during Wednesday's event. DeFazio said he was pleased with the project and added “People will actually own an interest in the unit they live in, but the land trust will continue to control the land, they’ll make a profit when they move out when they’re ready...but not to the point where someone else won’t be able to afford it and move in,” he said. “This could be perpetual beautiful affordable housing right here in Downtown Springfield.”
DeFazio said he’d like to see more projects like this happen nationwide. He said he plans to talk to his colleague U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, the Chair of the House Financial Services Committee.
“She’s going to put $300 billion in affordable housing and I want this to be one of the options across the country,” he said.
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