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Community Leaders Tackle Housing Crisis Head-on with Grand Opening of The Valfre at Avenida 26, Forest Grove's first Affordable Housing Bond Project

Key government officials celebrate the grand opening of The Valfre at Avenida 26, an affordable housing bond project that has been completed in Forest Grove, Washington County.

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Sponsored by: Housing Services Department

Community Leaders Tackle Housing Crisis Head-on with Grand Opening of The Valfre at Avenida 26, Forest Grove's first Affordable Housing Bond Project

Washington County's affordable housing supply will start off this month in a little better shape with the grand opening of Forest Grove's first affordable housing bond project, The Valfre at Avenida 26. Community leaders gathered on August 30 which turned out to be a hot sunny day, under a tent at one of the newly established community's green spaces to celebrate the official opening of the latest housing addition to the Forest Grove neighborhood at 2525 Main Street. Thanks to the steadfast efforts of the Housing Authority of Washington County (HAWC) and  partners, the community has opened its doors earlier than the slated fall opening announced during its groundbreaking celebration back in September of last year.

The Valfre at Avenida 26, a modern apartment complex with a variety of community amenities including an activity room, playground, a community garden and more, provides 36 units of affordable housing for low-income families, with 30 two- and three-bedroom units. Eight of the units are set aside to provide permanent supportive housing with wrap around services and case management for our most vulnerable community members. Community leaders attending the event included Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, State Representative Susan McLain, Metro Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Washington County Board of Commissioners Chair Kathryn Harrington, District 4 Commissioner Jerry Willey, Forest Grove Mayor Pete Truax and Forest Grove City Councilors Elena Uhing, Malynda Wenzl, Kristy Kottkey and Timothy Rippe.

Adolph "Val" Valfre, Jr., for whom the project is named, served 24 years in the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel and Vietnam veteran, was present as well. He is a former Forest Grove city councilor, prior executive director of the Housing Authority of Washington County, longtime public servant and resident of Forest Grove too. Giving an impassioned speech he stated "Nothing can please me more than to see families, both young and old, culturally diverse experiencing security, hope and prosperity in these new apartments. These families and more to come will become our new neighbors…. [and] if there's any doubt whether more affordable housing is justified, please consider this singe 36-unit project alone generated over 470 inquiries, far exceeding this project's capacity. I ask you to just multiply that demand across this beautiful county... too many in our communities are either being priced out or forced out of housing security and without housing security, no city, no community, can prosper."

"Housing is foundational, it forms the bedrock of household stability and security and is vital to a full and meaningful participation in society," said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. "Metro's affordable housing bond and supportive housing services measure are game changing investments. They show our region's commitment to putting forward solutions to end the housing crisis and to help our neighbors afford a home of their own," she added and thanked community leaders for their collaboration, emphasizing this is "really the Oregon way."

"Washington County is working closely with our partners to address the housing crisis in a myriad of ways including the development of beautiful affordable housing like this," said Washington County Board Chair Kathryn Harrington. In the last year alone, the county has opened 117 new affordable homes and has another 505 currently under construction.

This project, funded in part by the Metro affordable housing bond, is a partnership between DCM Communities LLC who developed the site, the Housing Authority of Washington County (HAWC), Cascade Management, and service providers including Bienestar and Sequoia Mental Health Services, Inc. Bienestar partnered with DCM Communities LLC to lead the effort in community outreach and inclusion as well as equitable marketing and lease-up. Long term, Bienestar will collaborate with HAWC to provide on-site services to the families and individuals who live at this development. Sequoia Mental Health Services, Inc., will provide services to The Valfre at Avenida 26 tenants with licensed medical practitioners offering a range of behavioral health services. Lastly, Oregon Housing and Community Services was also a key funder of this project, providing over $4 million in equity through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program.

The same week of the grand opening celebration for The Valfre at Avenida 26, Washington County and BRIDGE Housing celebrated a groundbreaking event to commemorate construction underway on the Aloha Family Housing project. This project is slated to open sometime next year.

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The Housing Authority of Washington County (HAWC) has been providing and developing affordable housing opportunities in Washington County for nearly 50 years. Begun in 1970, the effort has continued in the County's Department of Housing Services (DHS). The Department of Housing Services was formed in 1992 to administer housing activities and programs of the County and the Housing Authority. HAWC remains a separate legal entity and contracts with the County to implement and administer Housing Authority programs and all support services. This mission of the Department of Housing Services/HAWC is to provide a continuum of affordable housing options that promote community strength. Currently, DHS/HAWC administers 2,828 Section 8 Rental Assistance Vouchers and has a portfolio of 1,818 affordable housing (developed independently and in partnership with developers) and public housing units with 264 units in the pipeline.

Contacts:

Hameed Alnassar (he/him) – Communications Coordinator II
Washington County Department of Housing Services | County Administrative Office
[email protected] | 971-645-1056

Emily Roots (she/her) - Public Affairs & Communications Coordinator
Washington County Department of Housing Services | County Administrative Office
[email protected] | 503-846-8339