‘Here’s a chance to buy a house’: Bend Chamber, land trust partner on workforce housing pilot project
'There's the word 'handout' used a lot, and that's not it at all"
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Kôr Community Land Trust is joining forces with the Bend Chamber to build more homes for people who work here. It's also partnering with employers on the project.
The pilot project is called Poplar, and will be Kôr's third affordable community. The project breaks ground in March, and should be completed by the end of the year, so homeowners can move in next year.
"In the first 75 years of these homes, we estimate they'll resell over four times, which quadruples the number of homeowners we're able to serve," Kôr Executive Director Jackie Keogh said Thursday,
The Poplar community will consist of seven homes on Southwest Poplar Avenue.
"These homes are three-bedroom, two-bath," Keogh said. "We expect families to move into these homes. We see a variety of workforce, from nurses, pharmacy technicians, emergency response staff -- all local workforce who want to start a family and stay in Bend as long as possible."
Area businesses can help employees purchase their first home.
Brett Dery, his wife and son moved into the Kôrazón community in the Larkspur neighborhood in April 2021.
"There's the word 'handout' used a lot, and that's not it at all," he said. "It's about being able to prove your financial stability. I want people to think of it as not as getting a house, being given a house. It's more, 'Here's a chance to buy a house.'"
It's a public lottery -- anyone can apply -- but there is preference for those in the workforce who have a partnering employer, and are first-generation home buyers.
"The monthly mortgage would be $1,800 a month on average, which is cheaper than the average rent in the city of Bend, which is upwards of $2,000," Keogh said.
The employer application process will open on Feb. 1.
Bend Chambers CEO Katy Brooks said, "A state economist said only about 8% of the working population in the city of Bend can actually afford to buy a home in the city of Bend. This is a big problem, if you're trying to attract the workforce that wants to both live and work in Bend, and they can't afford to live here."
When you can apply, you can do it anonymously and recommend your employer on Kôr's website.