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Deschutes County commissioners OK $320,000 in funding for new workforce housing pilot program

Deschutes County

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County commissioners have unanimously approved $320,000 in funding for a new pilot program that encourages builders to construct and sell new homes at prices attainable to median-income earners.

The program, called Workforce Home Ownership for Median-income Earners (Workforce HOME), was established in partnership with NeighborImpact, Housing Works and the Central Oregon Builders Association (COBA).

It will provide developers a $30,000 builder credit for each home they build that is sold within a price range that is affordable for the workforce in Deschutes County.

Buyers must earn between 80 and 120 percent of the area median income and be currently employed by or have an accepted offer of employment from a Deschutes County employer to qualify. A deed restriction will be placed on each home constructed through the Workforce HOME program to ensure that any future sales price remains affordable to qualified buyers for 20 years.

The county has allocated $320,000 in support of the project. Commissioners approved moving forward on June 12.

“The county is excited to be providing enough money to fund builder credits for 10 newly constructed homes, which means 10 families in Deschutes County will be able to fulfill the American Dream of owning a home,” said Patti Adair, County Commission Chair.

“There is a huge need for workforce housing in this community. While this is a one-time commitment from the County, I hope it’s going to prime the pump to get more people that are working in Deschutes County into housing,” said Tony DeBone, County Commissioner Vice-Chair.

“I would like to express appreciation for all the innovative folks who brought this pilot program to us. While the funding provided by the county isn’t enough to help all of the workforce families in our community, it is a start,” said Phil Chang, County Commissioner. “We hope other agencies and businesses will be motivated to help support the Workforce HOME program in the future.”

NeighborImpact will administer the program, determining the eligibility of developers and potential buyers, overseeing the application processes and funding, and conducting annual verifications to make sure the homes remain occupied in accordance with the deed restriction.

“This program is crucial to helping developers buy down the high costs of land and development fees in Central Oregon, and we’re excited to see an increase in badly needed homes for our county’s workforce as a result,” said Morgan Greenwood, COBA Vice President of Government Affairs.

“Our local workforce is our community's greatest asset. I extend thanks to our County Commissioners for prioritizing the opportunity and ability for our hard-working folks to own their own home.” said Cheri Helt, owner of Zydeco Kitchen and Cocktails. ”Deschutes County is leading the nation by launching the first program to have a dedicated fund for homeownership for individuals active in our local workforce earning 80% to 120% of area median income. Our workforce will now have more opportunity to live, and invest, where they work and play.”

“This program is innovative. It’s a break from the same-old, same-old,” said Scott Cooper, Executive Director of NeighborImpact. “Central Oregon is once again in the forefront of thinking creatively. It’s exciting.”

Of the funds provided by the county, $300,000 will go toward builder credits for 10 new homes in Deschutes County and $20,000 will be paid to NeighborImpact for administration of the program.

For more information about the program, email Morgan Greenwood at

Article Topic Follows: Deschutes County

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