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Keeping it Affordable

Non-profit partners with AmeriCorps to revitalize homes

Danny Peterson | 6/20/2018, 2:33 p.m.
A nonprofit in northeast Portland is hosting 12 AmeriCorps volunteers this summer to protect vital affordable housing by upgrading homes ...
In an effort to preserve affordable housing in gentrified northeast Portland, AmeriCorps crew work on upgrades to the Alberta Commons Apartments, including landscaping, as plants are prepared for transfer to a new garden. The apartments are owned by the non-profit Sabin Community Development Corp. Photo by Danny Peterson

A nonprofit in northeast Portland is hosting 12 AmeriCorps volunteers this summer to protect vital affordable housing by upgrading homes with green technology, building community gardens and more.

The work is being done in conjunction with the Sabin Community Development Corp., a non-profit located on Northeast Alberta Street that has been dedicated to providing long-term affordable housing for low and moderate income residents in the face of rising housing costs since 1991.

Sabin maintains a tenant base that is 73 percent African American, a demographic similar to what many of north and northeast Portland’s pre-gentrified inner city neighborhoods were comprised of in the early 1990s. Many of the residents served by Sabin have been there over a decade, and with AmeriCorps’ help, they’re revitalizing the homes of over 100 low income families.

“We are really excited to have AmeriCorps volunteers here,” said Sabin CDC’s Executive Director Mary Schoen-Clark. “They will help us lift up our capacity to improve the housing and lives of the people we serve,” she added.

Volunteer AmeriCorps workers assist in the upgrade of a drainage pipe at the Alberta Commons Apartments as the nonprofit owners of the complex, Sabin Community Development Corp., gets help to keep the organization’s home units affordable.

Volunteer AmeriCorps workers assist in the upgrade of a drainage pipe at the Alberta Commons Apartments as the nonprofit owners of the complex, Sabin Community Development Corp., gets help to keep the organization’s home units affordable.

The work is designed to increase a sense of belonging by developing aesthetically pleasing and safe spaces to enjoy. The renovations include fixing drainage pipes, painting over chipped door frames, and transplanting yard plants to areas with more light. New green technology has been added to all 116 units, including water saving fixtures and low energy lighting that will save in excess of 1,000 gallons of water and reduce energy consumption by at least 60 percent a year, respectively.

The nonprofit will soon host a garden party to celebrate the opening of the first of many community gardens built in partnership with City Repair, another volunteer organization dedicated to community improvements in public spaces, and with funding from the East Multnomah County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“Sadie’s Garden Party” will be held on Saturday, June 30 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Alberta Comments, which is located at 5010 N.E. 19th Ave., and feature the organization’s hippo mascot Sadie.