Portland’s One-of-a-Kind Affordable Housing Unit
- By Nathalie Varney
- February 20, 2020
A new apartment complex specifically designed to help Portland’s Native American population find affordable housing has just been completed in the Cully neighborhood. The building features studio, one, two and three bedroom options and has been titled Nesika Illahee, which translates to “Our Place” in the Chinook language. Nesika Illahee’s exterior adorns a mural by Native American Artist Toma Villa, while the interior is decorated with different art pieces designed by various Native American artists.
According to Oregon Housing & Community Services, the Siletz Tribe secured $1.7 million in Indian Housing Block Grant funds, making Nesika Illahee the first project of it’s kind to develop in an urban environment instead of on a reservation.
The Siletz Tribe can exercise preference to citizens of tribal nations. Twenty units have specific tribal preferences. First preference to applicants whose head of household is “an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians or the household includes a minor or dependent child who is an enrolled Siletz tribal member”. Second preference goes to households with “at least one member enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, Alaska Natives or tribes recognized by states and included in the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act.”
Nesika Illahee will also provide a space for tenants in recovery from drugs and alcohol, and new tenants are required to sign drug-and-alcohol-free policy included in their lease.
Click here to learn more about this one-of-a-kind project.