Portland Receives $1 Million Grant to Make Health, Safety Improvements in 175 Rental Units Housing Low-Income Families 


PORTLAND, OREGON – January 13, 2011 –The Portland Healthy Homes Program, a collaboration between the Portland Housing Bureau and the Multnomah County Health Department, has received a $1 million boost from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


Portland’s grant was one of 51 grants totaling $127 million awarded nationally today under HUD’s Healthy Homes, and Lead Hazard Reduction grant programs.  The awards are expected to address lead and healthy homes hazards in more than 11,000 homes, including 175 rental units in Portland.  In addition, the grants will train workers in hazard abatement and increase public awareness of the risks posed to children by lead and other home hazards.


 “Protecting the health, and indeed the futures, of our children is a top priority for HUD. We cannot allow children to be poisoned in their own homes,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.  “These grants will help communities around the nation to protect families from lead exposure and other significant health and safety hazards.”


The City will use its $1 million Healthy Homes Production Grant in collaboration with the Multnomah County Health Department and REACH Community Development Corporation to complete environmental assessments and healthy home interventions in 175 housing units. Partners also will conduct outreach and education at 144 community events.


“Partners of the program are eager to get to work on conducting a wide range of activities intended to protect children and families from potentially dangerous home health and safety hazards in their homes. With this federal money, we can make a real impact here in East Portland to ensure that people live in homes that are healthy and sustainable,” says Housing Commissioner Nick Fish, who oversees the Portland Housing Bureau.


The population of low-income households and families of color in East Portland has grown substantially in the target area due to gentrification in other areas of the city. One in three residents lives in East Portland, a traditionally underserved area where nearly 30% of households earn 50% of median family income ($35,600 for a family of four). Increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, East Portland is home to half of all children under 18, citywide.


The need for repair funds in East Portland is well-documented.  In 2009, a survey of 356 multi-family properties in the Lents neighborhood, which is located in the target area, found that nearly 50% of surveyed properties had identifiable external repair needs that resulted in a fair or poor rating. The most common problems identified in the survey were related to roofs, windows, gutters and downspouts, exterior paint, and trash. The 2002 American Housing Survey also found that 6% of Portland housing units reported problems with rats, mice, or other rodents. The 2008 American Community Survey indicated an increase in substandard housing in Portland since 2005, with a 35% increase in the number of units without complete plumbing or cooking facilitates.


The program is expected to be rolled out in April. If you own rental property in East Portland, and would like to learn more about eligibility, contact Andrea Matthiessen, PHB Neighborhood Housing Manager, at 503.823.2379.


About the Portland Housing Bureau


The mission of the Portland Housing Bureau is to focus community resources on the unmet housing needs of the people of Portland.


Media Contacts


Maileen Hamto

PIO, Portland Housing Bureau


Daniel Ledezma

Housing Policy Director for Commissioner Nick Fish


Portland Housing Bureau

421 SW 6th Ave. 5th Floor | Portland, OR 97205 US