Three new developments in East Portland and Cornelius look to increase the availability of affordable housing in the region.

At a groundbreaking ceremony on Sept. 13 in East Portland, nonprofits developers and local government officials celebrated Woody Guthrie Place, a new four-story apartment building in Lents Town Center.

Woody Guthrie Place will feature one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments and serve individuals and families of mixed incomes.

Some of the apartments will rent at the going rate for the Portland market, while others will be reserved for individuals and families earning incomes that range from 30 to 80 percent of the area’s median income.

What is “affordable housing”?

Affordable housing generally describes housing, whether owned or rented, that’s within the financial means of individuals and families.

The federal government considers spending 30 percent of a household’s income on rent or mortgage the threshold for affordability.

Affordable housing programs typically set income restrictions to reserve homes for people earning below a certain percent of the area’s median income.

The 2017 income limits for Multnomah and Washington counties are:

60% Median Family Income

1 person household: $31,380
2 person: $35,880
3 person: $40,380
4 person: $44,820

30% Median Family Income

1 person household: $15,690
2 person: $17,940
3 person: $20,190
4 person: $22,410

Source: Oregon Housing and Community Services

“It’s about a $21 million investment in Lents Town Center,” said Nick Sauvie, executive director of Rose Community Development Center, the nonprofit developer constructing the project. “So the rents for the building are going to be as low as $378 a month.”

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