Nesika Illahee wins Workforce Housing Awards 2020 Chairman’s Award
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing has named Nesika Illahee, a 59-unit affordable housing development in Northeast Portland owned and developed by Community Development Partners (CDP) and Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), as the winner of its Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Awards 2020 Chairman’s Award.
Nesika Illahee — which means “our place” in the Chinook language — is the combined effort of Community Development Partners, Native American Youth and Family Center, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz and the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA NW). The development team combined Indian Housing Block Grant funds and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that enable the project to focus on the acute needs of the Native Community by including units reserved for Native Americans along with culturally specific services and medical, dental, and behavioral health care for all residents. Nesika Illahee was opened in 2020 and all 59 units are currently leased.
Urban Land Institute, a respected, global voice in urban planning and affordable housing, established the prestigious, national award to honor exemplary developments that represent outstanding achievements in several areas, including affordability, innovative financing and building technologies, proximity to employment centers and transportation hubs, quality of design, and involvement of public/private partnerships. The Chairman’s Award bestowed on Nesika Illahee recognizes especially creative projects designed to address a unique affordable housing challenge.
“Urban Land Institute has long been recognized as one of the world’s most respected and widely quoted sources of objective information on urban planning, growth, and development so this award is an amazing honor,” said Community Development Partners CEO Eric Paine. “We undertook this innovative project with our partners to address barriers to affordable housing for Native Americans, especially homeless and low-income families. This is the first time a Tribe has allocated its Indian Housing Block Grant Funds through a subrecipient agreement in partnership with a Native organization, and established tribal preference on what would have been a traditional low-income housing tax credit project. Nesika Illahee is a project of which all the involved partners and the greater community can be extremely proud.”
“The estimated 54,000 Native Americans who live in the Portland region are disproportionally more likely to face disparities in income and access to affordable housing,” said Paul Lumley, Native American Youth and Family Center Executive Director. “Nesika Illahee is a reflection of Native American Youth and Family Center’s and Community Development Partners’s shared commitment to increase affordable housing opportunities for the Portland Native community in a proximate setting that facilitates community interaction between Native residents. We are appreciative to Urban Land Institute for recognizing the value of this approach and hope it will inspire similar projects focused on Native communities in the future.”
“We have a lot of tribal members that live here in Portland, who have lived here for generations and are facing challenges securing an affordable home,” said Delores Pigsley, chair of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. “This project was an opportunity to help address those needs and Nesika Illahee is already home to many of our members. We could not have done this alone and this fantastic end result is a tribute to hard work and close collaboration with Community Development Partners, Native American Youth and Family Center and Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest. We hope that this award will encourage additional creative solutions and collaborations to address affordable housing barriers facing our members and Native people.”
“Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest is honored to be in partnership of Nesika Illahee as the housing crisis effects so many in the Native American community,” said Jacqueline Mercer, CEO of Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest. “Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest is excited to provide a full time staff member to assist tenants with resources to services at Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest and other agencies in the area. We hope to continue to help our people for years to come.”
Urban Land Institute announced its Housing Awards at its 2020 Fall Meeting on October 14,2020. More information can be seen here: https://americas.uli.org/201014kempawardwinners/