What happened to AFFORDABLE HOUSING?
We hear a steady drone that we have a housing crisis in our community. THIS IS NOT ACCURATE. We only have a shortage of affordable housing. We also have a surplus of market-rate apartments! "Affordable” (lower-income) is not the same as market-rate (expensive) housing.
LAND-BANKED AND PURCHASED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Two decades ago, HACSA (Housing And Community Services Agency, now “Homes for Good”) purchased the proposed Lombard apartment site in order to build affordable housing. But now Jacob Fox, current director of Homes for Good, is opening the door to pave-and-run developers by negotiating the sale of this public land to private interests instead.
Evergreen Housing Development Group, an out-of-state developer, is poised to purchase the land and put up an oversized and blighty apartment complex right along one of the most beautiful and beloved sections of our parkland Greenway.
EVERGREEN DEVELOPMENT HAS POOR TRACK RECORD Back in 2012, the Evergreen Housing Development Group from Seattle built a 192 unit complex in the River Road neighborhood of Eugene. Called ECCO, it opened for tenants in 2014 and has since been unable to stay filled. Residents report shoddy workmanship and many units go unrented. Not even a couple years in, Evergreen sold the apartments for a tidy $14 million profit and left us with a poorly constructed and unpopular building on our hands.
Eugene’s Jacob Fox and Homes For Good are teaming up with this very same out-of-state developer to impose another unsuccessful project on the city, allowing Evergreen to pave over 3 acres of green space at the end of Lombard Lane, repeating an ECCO-type disaster with their usual strategy:
1) build shoddy 2) sell for a massive profit 3) move on to the next capital venture.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE AFFORDABLE, LOW-INCOME PLAN?
In an August 2016 article, The Register Guard reported that the ECCO project was “built by private developers using federal assistance to create government-subsized housing for lower-income families.”
But the reality at ECCO is, there are no low-income opportunities. Today the ECCO web site boasts of LUXURY APARTMENTS. "We are a traditional apartment community,” says the new manager, “with no low-income options here.”
The Lombard building will be more of the same, and would leave our community with expensive problems and expensive housing we don’t need. Meanwhile, 62% of our community spends more than 1/3 of their income on housing. We can do better!