City earns $400,000 state grant
Manufactured home residents in Newberg could soon get a boost in keeping their homes in good condition as the city gets a $400,000 state grant specifically for that purpose.
Stuart Brown, local developer and chairman of the city's Affordable Housing Commission, told the City Council last month that the grant will be a boon for the city's largest category of affordable housing and one that is often overlooked.
"For ownership or for rental, we need more inventory, more units and we need to protect the ones that we have," Brown said. "So, this has been almost five years in the making and it's a great opportunity for us."
Brown told the council that the city has nearly 700 manufactured homes, but that is only those in mobile home parks and does not include those that sit on their own property.
Brown said the community development block grant from Business Oregon represents a significant boost to the $60,000 sitting in the city's affordable housing trust fund as of April.
"This is a great win for us and a big leap… it's also a big opportunity for us to actually get funds in the hands of the community. So, we're really excited about it," he told the council.
Doug Rux, Newberg's community development director, confirmed that a contract has been signed with Business Oregon's Infrastructure Finance Authority for the grant, and now a sub-grant agreement is being worked out for the Yamhill County Affordable Housing Corporation to administer grant funds. He noted that the process for funds to be given out to residents has not been determined yet.
Brown said the city expected about $10,000 will be available this fiscal year, which ends June 30, and the rest of the grant funds will be ready for use in the next budget year. He added that the city and commission will begin work to spread the word about the grant later this year.
Also, he announced a program the commission is developing with Habitat for Humanity that would give financial assistance to manufactured home residents needing small but critical repairs, like fixing a leaky roof.
He said Habitat for Humanity has requested about $10,000 of city funds with a matching $3,000 from the organization to launch the program, plus private donations that include funds Brown is contributing personally.
Marketing this program to the community would be the precursor for promoting the larger grant, Brown said.