Safe housing is more than a ‘drop in the bucket’

September 21, 2022

Catholic Charities of Oregon made great progress in the first half of 2022 to meet its goals for the Healthy Housing Initiative.  

At the beginning of the year, 137 units of affordable housing were under construction, inclusive of 35 permanent supportive housing units (PSH). On July 19, the organization celebrated the completion of Chiles House, formerly referred to as The Annex, an innovative, privately funded 27-unit supportive housing property adjacent to Catholic Charities’ headquarters.  

“Chiles House will not only provide a stable and safe space for our clients in the short term but will support and uplift our clients to be secure, stable and able to move into permanent housing – and that is a truly precious gift to all of us,” said Natalie Wood, executive director of Catholic Charities of Oregon.  

Much thought went into the design features of Chiles House, to make it a warm, welcoming, safe space for residents. 

“Folks who are skirting homelessness, who are experiencing housing insecurity, are often in a heightened state of distress, and we wanted to create a space where they can rest and where they could heal,” said Anna Mackay, principal of Sister City, a real estate design, development and consulting firm in Portland that partnered on the project. “It’s not only who we serve, where we can be uplifting, but also how we deliver the housing.” 

In August, Catholic Charities and partner Related NW will begin moving residents into 110 affordable units at Cathedral Village Apartments. The building will include eight PSH units with local project-based subsidies for families experiencing chronic homelessness who are referred through the county’s coordinated access system. A ribbon-cutting event for Cathedral Village is planned for September 20. 

Another 143 units, including 35 PSH units, are under construction at Catholic Charities’ Good Shepherd Village property in Happy Valley, Oregon, southeast of Portland. The first affordable housing property in Happy Valley, Good Shepherd Village is expected to open in late 2023. Two additional developments have committed development and service funding to create 102 PSH units and are expected to begin construction in mid-2023. 

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