In this critical time for stable housing, two Habitat for Humanity organizations are uniting as one—Habitat for Humanity Portland Region—to greatly expand our impact.
It is with great excitement for the future of affordable homeownership that Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East and Willamette West Habitat for Humanity announce we have merged our two organizations and will now be known as Habitat for Humanity Portland Region. This decision to merge comes after over a year-long process between our boards and staff, working together to identify how we can strengthen our collective impact and partner with even more folks throughout our community to realize the dream of homeownership.
We are humbled and grateful to have the opportunity to serve three thriving, diverse, and unique counties—Multnomah, East Washington, and North Clackamas—and are so thankful for the support of all who join us on this journey.
The three counties are intrinsically linked through community and workforce connections, transportation planning, and, unfortunately, by a worsening housing crisis that continues to push people farther from finding safe and affordable places to call home. In a year marred by the COVID-19 pandemic, our two Habitat organizations are uniting to expand our reach and impact in delivering quality, affordable homeownership and home repair solutions to the greater Portland region.
This year, 2021, is the 40th anniversary of Habitat for Humanity working in the Portland region. Habitat Portland/Metro East and Willamette West Habitat have long, successful track records. Since its founding in 1981, Habitat Portland/Metro East has partnered with more than 1,700 people, and Willamette West Habitat nearly 700 people, to purchase affordable homes and receive critical home repairs.
“As each organization has grown, it has become increasingly clear that we can have a greater impact in our region as a single organization that fully integrates our programs and staff,” states CEO Steve Messinetti.
Board Vice Chair, Jim Woodruff, from Willamette West Habitat added, “We view this as an opportunity for us to leverage each other’s combined strengths and resources, ramp up home production on the West side and in the greater Portland region, while increasing home repairs. It is critical that we help more people realize the stabilizing impact that homeownership uniquely provides.”
Habitat for Humanity is the only non-profit developer in our region providing homeownership opportunities to families earning as little as $30,000 a year.
“This merger marks a commitment to the many people in our region that are feeling the heavy weight of the economic crisis and the many burdens that come with unstable housing and financial insecurity,” said Messinetti. “Habitat is committed to an equitable and just future. Where people with low-incomes and communities of color will have access to buying a first home, to building equity, to living and thriving in this beautiful region.”
Habitat for Humanity Portland Region has initial plans to be building and repairing more than 115 homes this year in Beaverton, Hillsboro, and in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland. The organization will be undergoing a strategic planning process to envision what they can accomplish in the next five years.
“We will look to other housing professionals, to elected officials, and most importantly, to residents across the three counties to help inform that vision,” Messinetti said. “To effectively operate as one nonprofit organization in this larger region, we will need to take a fresh view of how we can best position ourselves to bring this effective Habitat model to scale across the region.”
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