City News

Salem housing complex aiming to serve veterans gets city funding

The city of Salem is awarding funding to projects to provide homes for veterans and  help families make down payments on new homes.

The city also is stepping in to help Marion Polk Foodshare and Center for Hope and Safety with their programs.

The funding, from federal and city resources, is aimed at a broader city goal of addressing homelessness, providing affordable housing and helping organizations working in those arenas.

A second grant was issued to a coalition planning a 48-unit housing project in west Salem called Applegate Terrace Apartments. The city awarded $453,750 to the coalition, which goes to the Salem City Council for final approval in April.

Jim Lutz, a Lebanon construction manager, is leading the Applegate project and expects to start construction in 2024 and finish in the summer of 2025.

He is partnering with Casa of Oregon, a nonprofit based in Sherwood focused on housing and other programs for farmworkers and people of color.

The project, planned for property at Northwest Harriett and Marine Drives, will have four three-story apartment buildings and a community center, providing 48 apartments ranging from one to three bedrooms. Twelve of the apartments will be reserved for veterans and veterans will get preference for the remaining units.

A similar project by the coalition opened in Lebanon in late 2021 and quickly developed a waiting list.

Tenants at the complex have access to  the nonprofit Crossroads Communities. The organization describes its work on its website as providing “wrap-around social services to veterans and those facing houselessness, domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness and other challenges. The primary objective is to remove barriers to those seeking aid.”

Such an arrangement is also expected at the west Salem complex.

Lutz said he is moved to such projects because his family is steeped in veterans. The Edward Allworth Oregon Veterans’ Home in Lebanon is named for his great-grandfather, a World War I veteran.

He said the Lebanon project proved so successful he looked for an opportunity to duplicate it.

“I can do this again and help more veterans,” he said.

The other housing project getting a city boost is work by DevNW, which develops housing and counsels those needing help getting into rentals or buying a home.

The city awarded $300,000 to be used to cover down payment costs for those buying homes in DevNW’s Macleay subdivision project. The subdivision will include nine townhouses, seven two-bedroom houses, and eight three-bedroom houses.

“The down payment assistance will provide each home owners with an additional $12,500 to put towards their home at the time of close,” according to a city memo.

The homes are expected to be available in summer 2024.

Such projects are part of a long-range city plan focused on homelessness and affordable housing.

Tiffany Ottis, a program manager in the city Urban Development Department, said such projects are part of a long-range city plan focused on homelessness and affordable housing.

“We see the homeless persons. We know we need housing,” Ottis said. “When we don’t have open and available apartments and housing, these projects make a difference.”

Other grants awarded as part of the plan:

Marion Polk Food Share – $121,200 for food programs and $105,500 for Meals on Wheels.

Northwest Human Services – $141,750 for its hotline and emergency financial help and $37,050 for HOST youth case management.

Center for Hope and Safety – $100,000 for its hotline.

St. Francis Shelter – $60,000 for case management.

Women at the Well Grace House – $52,000 for case management.

CONTACT Editor Les Zaitz by email: [email protected].

STORY TIP OR IDEA? Send an email to Salem Reporter’s news team: [email protected].

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Les Zaitz is editor and CEO of Salem Reporter. He co-founded the news organization in 2018. He has been a journalist in Oregon for nearly 50 years in both daily and community newspapers and digital news services. He is nationally recognized for his commitment to local journalism. He also is editor and publisher of the Malheur Enterprise in Vale, Oregon.