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Foreclosure to Opportunity

Building a foundation for new beginnings

Donovan M. Smith | 7/10/2013, 10:25 a.m.
Non-profit partnership with Multnomah County turns foreclosure into hope for new family.
Multnomah County Commission Loretta Smith and Joe Wycowzki of Community Visions, Inc., tour a northeast Portland home that was lost to foreclosure and then rescued for new ownership thanks to a partnership between the county and the non-profit group. Photo by Donovan M. Smith

A home lost to foreclosure will be turned into a win for a deserving family. The home, located at 5220 N.E. 28th Ave., has been renovated from the foundation to the roof thanks to a partnership between a local non-profit and Multnomah County.

A waterproofed garage, a new furnace, and roof repairs were just some of the many changes that were introduced to this quaint house built in 1913.

“We’re trying to go top dollar so people have good housing, and we know they don’t have to have concerns,” says Joe Wykowski, executive director of Community Visions, Inc.

The Oregon-based organization primarily focuses on finding housing for people with disabilities and their families.

About a year ago, tax problems forced the previous residents out of the home; Community Visions worked with that family and got them placed in affordable housing.

Around that same time, Multnomah County was working with eight different families living in substandard housing. All of the houses had been foreclosed on, and Wycowski reports that even the utilities didn’t work in some of the homes.

The county reached out to Community Visions in an effort to do two things: Relocate these families to safer housing, and to rehab the residences into livable spaces again.

For the house on 28thAvenue, the logistics of the project took about a year, costing $190,000, not including labor costs.

Though a family has not yet been chosen to occupy the revamped space, criteria for choosing the next homeowner requires a family of four with a household income of less than $54,000.

Should the new owners move in the future, they will be required to sell the home to another low income family. Together Multnomah County and Community Visions have ensured the property will provide affordable housing for the next 30 years.

Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith was excited to see the final product during a recent public event, even proclaiming she would not mind living in the house, adding that in 1992, a project similar to this allowed her to purchase her first home in the same neighborhood as a single mother.

Smith realizes the significance of limiting the program to low-income families in order to offset a housing market that is pricing folks out of inner north and northeast Portland.

“We have families here that can take advantage of our schools, the closeness to activities, and live affordably,” Smith said.

To see if you qualify for being housed in the home, visit the Community Visions website cvision.org or give them a call at 503-292-4964.