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$5.8 million from state to help Thistle & Nest and Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity build 51 more affordable homes

(Update: Adding video, comments from Thistle and Nest, news release)

SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Oregon Housing and Community Services announced this week the approval of more than $7 million to fund 59 homes, most of them in two Central Oregon projects, as part of the ongoing effort to narrow the racial wealth gap in homeownership.

Broadly, Black homeownership in Oregon is consistent with nationwide trends that show lagging progress. OHCS remains committed to moving our state forward on closing the racial wealth gap, and today gets closer to that reality.

"It's really, really important for the fabric of the whole community to have affordable housing," Thistle & Nest Treasurer and Founder Larry Kine said Thursday.

Thistle & Nest has built 133 townhome units in southeast Bend to take on the demand for workforce housing. Eleven two-bedroom homes have also been constructed. The additional $5.4 million from the state will be used to add 38 additional mixed homes to the Woodhaven Estates neighborhood.

"Not only does this help families right now, but this property will stay in trust for generational families," Kine said. "So after these families get done with it, and these people, then the next people will move in. And this will stay within Thistle & Nest forever, so it will be affordable housing indefinitely."

In Bend, between 2010 and 2018, wages increased by about 29%, but the average home sales price rose 110% and the median rent by 42%, according to the U.S. Census.

"The fabric of those communities just disintegrates," Kine said, "because they don't have the people there that are, you know, helping go, and teachers (for) your children at schools or at the city doing work or the nurses or people helping you pump gas."

Along with the 38 homes at Woodhaven Estates, the organization said some of the money will help with the cost of land and infrastructure for more than 600 new homes in Central Oregon. Many are expected to be finished in just a few months.

"That really bridges that gap of inequity for people and helps that lower(-income) working-class folks get a leg up in society and finances. It's super-exciting for me," Kine said.

The Woodhaven Estates home sales are not lottery-based, and those interested can apply on the Thistle & Nest website. Here's their news release on the grant and process:

Bend, Oregon— Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) awarded $5,000,000 to Thistle & Nest, a nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing to the Central Oregon workforce.

Thistle & Nest will use the funds to create 38 new affordable two- and three-bedroom homes within the larger Woodhaven Estates development in Bend.

Woodhaven Estates is in the second construction phase and will have 11 homes available by late July, followed by 10 more in December. The first phase was completed in March, and a total of 17 homes have already been sold in this mixed-income community located at 61647 Daly Estates Drive and 61646 Pettigrew Road in Bend.

This award will support Thistle & Nest's mission, which extends beyond Woodhaven Estates. Over the next three years, the nonprofit aims to build 138 homes in Central Oregon—98 in Bend, 20 in Madras, and 20 in Prineville. These homes will allow many of Central Oregon’s households to avoid displacement and live where they work while realizing housing stability and home equity.

Thistle & Nest is currently matching buyers for the homes at Woodhaven Estates. To be eligible, households must earn less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and meet the program requirements, accessible in English and Spanish through the organization’s website. In the nonprofit’s effort to eliminate language barriers and reach the Central Oregon Hispanic community, Thistle & Nest hired a native Spanish speaker as part of the homeownership services staff.

Additional details about the program are available on the organization’s website

Here's more information the state agency's announcement:

“Awarding these funds just a month after announcing the first round of funding awards in May to build 157 new homes shows the benefit of moving to a rolling application process,” said OHCS Executive Director Andrea Bell. “This new approach allows developers to begin construction sooner, accelerating the delivery of affordable homeownership opportunities. We insist on a better housing future for our state to ensure progress that represents all communities.”

Of the new awards, Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) will receive $1.6 million to develop Abbey Lot Townhomes in the Albina District of Portland. SEI, along with their development partners Community Development Partners and Proud Ground, is seeking to make a lasting impact on the historically displaced community affected by the rapid gentrification of Portland. 

As part of a larger effort to reconnect Black families to the Albina District, the eight 3-bedroom townhomes and a supporting outreach strategy seek to bring families who have been displaced back to the North Portland neighborhood. Homeowners will have access to services through SEI’s Community and Family Programming, including energy assistance, housing assistance, and access to SEI’s in-school services.

"At Self Enhancement, Inc., we believe that the opportunity for homeownership shouldn't be a privilege; it should be a foundation,” said Trent Aldridge, SEI chief program officer. “That's why we are excited to advocate, support, and invest in homeownership in traditionally underserved communities. Owning a home is about more than just having a roof over your head. It's about stability, generational wealth creation, and a sense of belonging. It's about putting down roots and knowing that your success is being invested in your own future."

The remainder of this round of funding will go toward two Central Oregon projects. Thistle & Nest will use the funds to create 38 new affordable two- and three-bedroom townhomes within the larger Woodhaven Estates development in southeast Bend.

Bend-Redmond Habitat for Humanity is also receiving $800,000 in funding to provide additional support to the Timber Cottages development, consisting of 13 cottage-style homes in southwest Redmond.

More information about each project can be found in the June Housing Stability Council packet.

About Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS)  

OHCS is Oregon's housing finance agency. The state agency provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of low and moderate income. OHCS administers programs that provide housing stabilization. OHCS delivers these programs primarily through grants, contracts, and loan agreements with local partners and community-based providers. For more information, please visit:

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Isabella Warren

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