A Dent on Homelessness

Non-profit opens complex for 153 households

People are coming together to solve Portland’s housing crisis. Central City Concern, Portland’s non-profit serving people impacted by homelessness, poverty and addictions since 1979, has opened Hazel Heights, the first of three buildings in the Housing is Health initiative—a pioneering commitment from local hospitals and health systems in supportive, affordable housing.

Dr. Rachel Solotaroff, Central City Concern president and chief executive officer, welcomed more than 100 attendees to the Nov. 27 grand opening celebration in Hazel Heights’ courtyard.

Before he cut the ceremonial ribbon, formerly homeless resident Jerrod Murray, a single dad with three kids, said, “I am truly grateful that my kids don’t have to go through what I went through.” He expressed his gratitude that several Native-American families will live in the community by singing an honor song in his native language, Ojibwa.

Hazel Heights, located at Southeast Stark Street at 126th Avenue, will welcome people exiting transitional housing programs who have gained employment and seek a permanent home, but still may have barriers to housing.

The two four-story buildings contain 153 homes total: 92 one-bedroom and 61 two-bedroom apartments. Rents will range from $412–$995 per month, depending on median family Income.

“These homes are important for supporting employed people with affordable housing. When people are housed, they have a better chance for a healthy future,” said Solotaroff.

Hazel Heights’ major contributors include the Housing is Health coalition of six health organizations: Adventist Health Portland, CareOregon, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Legacy Health, OHSU and Providence Health & Services Oregon. Other major funders are Umpqua Bank, Portland Housing Bureau, US Bank Community Development Corporation, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Federal Home Loan Bank and PGE.

The total cost for the project was $26.8 million. The other two buildings in the Housing is Health collaborative, Charlotte B. Rutherford Place and Blackburn Center, will open this month and in July, respectively.