BEND, OR -- A new program aims to lower the cost of building affordable homes in Deschutes County. Commissioners approved spending $1-million to create the Home Ownership for Middle-Income Employees, or HOME Fund.
The grant was developed by housing advocates, community partners, home building businesses, and the Central Oregon Builders Association. COBA Vice President Morgan Greenwood tells KBND News the $500-thousand for this fiscal year will help build workforce housing, “We’re talking about St Charles Employees, Bend - La Pine School district employees, folks up at Brightwood, we’re talking about essentially the very core foundation of our Deschutes County workforce.”
Neighbor-Impact will oversee the distribution of $30-thousand individual grants to builders upon meeting qualifcations.
“Deschutes County Board of Commissioners approved the seed funding for this fund. We’re looking at $500 thousand dollars this fiscal year, which should provide the funding for approximately 15, 16 homes,” Greenwood says, adding builders are ready to start, “There should be some folks who are able to pull permits this fall, and then I expect to see things really roaring out of the gate by Spring of '24.”
The project is aimed at middle-class workers who earn between $76,150 and $114,250 a year. There is a variety of housing options, according to Greenwood, “Some folks are going to need a town home, some folks are going to need a single level cottage. So, that’s what we’re looking for is to provide the greatest flexibility for both our builders and for our workforce home-buyers.”
Public and private donations can also be made to the HOME fund.