Affordable Housing Rises from the Rubble

The site of a former mortuary will soon have an afterlife: affordable housing.

In the midst of a housing crunch, Lane County’s housing authority Homes For Good is using multiple forms of funding to construct a four-story permanent supportive housing project called the Nel at 11th and Charnelton, where the Trauma Healing Project and before that the Poole-Larsen Funeral Home once stood.

According to Homes For Good spokesperson Ela Kubok, the Nel will be similar to Commons on MLK in that its residents will be for those who are experiencing homelessness. The housing project will have three stories consisting of 45 affordable housing units and a ground floor commons, according to the building permit.

“First floor will have common areas and service spaces for residents,” she says, adding that includes property management, supportive services for residents, meeting rooms and kitchen.

The project was approved unanimously by Homes For Good’s Board of Directors, who consist mostly of Lane County commissioners, at an April 21 meeting.

According to a factsheet from Homes For Good, all of the studio apartments will be furnished and about 360 square feet in size. The project’s target population is for individuals who are experiencing chronic homelessness and are referred from Lane County’s Coordinated Entry Central Wait List, according to Homes For Good’s April 21 board meeting minutes.

Because of project-based vouchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Kubok says tenants will pay no more than 30 percent of their income on rent, and if they have no income, all of their rent will be covered.

On Feb. 23, 2020, Homes For Good purchased the property for $1,090,000 from Our West 11th Avenues, LLC, and the total cost for the project is $14,475,662, according to Homes For Good’s “2020 Home Request for Proposal” document sent to the city of Eugene.

The agency was able to find loans, tax credits and other funds to help pay for the building and services, according to the April 21 resolution from the agency’s Board of Directors. The agency was approved for a loan from the U.S. Bank National Association for nearly $11 million to build the project, and the amount to be repaid should be around $1.2 million to $2 million. It received about $11 million in tax credit from the U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation and $1.3 million annually over 10 years from Oregon Housing and Community Services.

Other funds include low-income housing tax credits, the city of Eugene’s HOME funds, which will be capped at $1 million. The city also waived system development charge waivers, a total of about $198,000 in SDC waivers to support the project, according to Homes For Good’s April 21 meeting minutes.

Pacific Health and other private and public funds are providing capital support, and Laurel Hill Center will be the service provider.

Homes For Good created a limited partnership when purchasing the property at 11th and Charnelton under the name HFG Nel Limited Partnership and in 15 years, the agency has priority to purchase it.

Construction of the Nel will take about 12 to 14 months, Kubok says.