Nine rural projects help those in manufactured homes

Meyer’s Affordable Housing Initiative has always prioritized the distinct and urgent needs around affordable housing in rural Oregon. The stories of Oregonians living in manufactured housing are particularly moving, both because of their vulnerability to dislocation and because so many people live in older, substandard homes with few resources to address housing issues that impact their health, utility bills and basic housing stability.

Although we’re still interested in strategies for the cost-efficient replacement of older manufactured homes, Meyer has been persuaded by partners around the state to support repair programs helping low-income residents of manufactured homes with urgent repair needs, weatherization and accessibility improvements. By addressing urgent repair needs that homeowners can’t afford themselves, small grants and loans for crucial repairs can help homeowners avoid costly and difficult relocation, help people live in better comfort and health within a community, and even prevent homelessness.

Last fall, Meyer released a Request for Proposals to build the capacity of rural manufactured home repair programs, and we encouraged nonprofits and housing authorities to submit proposals for up to $50,000 per year for up to two years (no more than $100,000 total). With a strong field of proposals, Meyer funded nine projects totaling $630,000 over two years:

ACCESS (Jackson County) $50,000
Benton Habitat for Humanity (Benton County) $100,000
Community Action Team (Clatsop, Columbia and Tillamook counties) $50,000
Community in Action (Harney and Malheur counties) $100,000
Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County (Lincoln County) $30,000
NeighborImpact (Crook, Deschutes and Jefferson counties) $50,000
Neighborworks Umpqua (Douglas County) $100,000
Umpqua Community Action Network (Josephine County) $100,000
Yamhill County Affordable Housing Corporation (Yamhill County) $50,000

The nine grants cover a wide swath of rural Oregon, from the coast and southern Oregon to the central and eastern part of the state. In each case, the proposals described in detail the need for this work in the community, how the agency would carry out repairs, and how the agency would prioritize which households were assisted (most commonly, seniors, people with disabilities and households with veterans were defined priorities). Each program actively seeks out ways to leverage other resources, including donors and volunteers, weatherization funds and other local resources. In most cases, Meyer funding will help programs reach homeowners who can’t be assisted with other, less flexible funding.

We know that these grants will only address a fraction of the statewide need. We intend to document the impact of this work and hope to demonstrate the value of these programs to other funders, public and private. We believe that small repairs can make a huge difference in rural Oregon.

Support for Housing Stability

Last fall, the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) was awarded a two-year Meyer grant to support a statewide steering group including public, private and nonprofit partners wrestling with supporting long-term affordability and housing stability in manufactured home parks. We are pleased to see them take on this important convening and coordinating role and will be interested in their progress identifying opportunities, resources and supportive policies to maintain manufactured homes as an affordable housing option for Oregonians.

For more information, contact Rob Prasch at NOAH: 503-223-3211