Nesika Illahee

Nesika Illahee

A collaboration between the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA NW), Community Development Partners, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians (Siletz) will create 59 units of affordable housing in Portland’s Cully Neighborhood.

The historic project, Nesika Illahee, meaning “Our Place” in the Chinook language, is the first time the partners have come together to construct affordable housing for tribal members and other Native families in Portland using generous funding from the Siletz Tribe’s Indian Housing Block Grant. Those funds have generally been used for affordable housing activities within reservation lands.

The Nesika Illahee complex is located at NE Holman Street & NE 42nd Avenue in northwest Portland, Oregon.

Tenant Selection Criteria

Please review the tenant selection criteria first to determine prospective tenant eligibility. This property has one or more waiting list preferences, which means that priority placement is given to applicants that qualify for a specific preference category. Please see the preference section in the criteria for more information. This is a smoke-, drug-, and alcohol-free property.

Each adult must be screened for credit, criminal and eviction background checks when the application is selected from the waiting list for prospective tenancy. This property is funded by the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program of IRC Section 42. Eligible households must qualify under the most restrictive income limits set out by these programs as apply to the available unit.

It is important to review all of the tenant selection criteria to understand why some applications are accepted, and others rejected for not meeting all of the specific selection criteria.


The application can be found here. Completed applications can be emailed to Brandi Perrin,

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the building be completed?
Nesika Illahee construction is projected to be finished January 2020.

How many units will there be and how many bedrooms will they have?
Nesika Illahee will have a total of 59 units. There will be 13 studios, 30 1-bedroom units, nine 2-bedroom units, and seven three-bedroom units.

Who are these units targeted for?
There is a high need for affordable housing for the Native American community. These units are developed to support the high need for affordable housing in the Native American community. Native American partners–NAYA Family Center, NARA NW, and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians–have come together to develop this site for the Native community. All units will comply with fair housing practices, however, 20 of the units will have a specific tribal preference policy defined by the Siletz Tribe.

What is the tribal preference policy and why does it exist?

The tribal preference policy is as follows:

First preference is to an applicant where the 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 is to an applicant who has at least one member of the applicant household is an enrolled member of a federally recognized tribe, Alaska Native, or state recognized tribe as defined in section 4 of the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA). The state recognized tribes per NAHASDA include: MOWA Band of Choctaw, Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, Lumbee Tribe, and the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe.

Tribal preference exists due to the unique political status of Native Americans as recognized by NAHASDA through the Indian Housing Block Grant. Tribes are legally considered sovereign “nations-within-a-nation” and, unlike other U.S. citizens, Native Americans are considered political citizens of both. This unique political status is rooted in the U.S. Constitution, treaties, federal statutes, and 300 years of Supreme Court decisions.

The Siletz Tribe as a sovereign nation is exercising its right to implement tribal preference. There are no federal laws that prohibit tribes exercising Indian preference, and numerous court cases have upheld this exemption. It is imperative to understand that court rulings have repeatedly and definitively held that Indian preference is a political preference, not a racial preference, due to a tribe’s inherent sovereign powers of self-government.

Units not filled through the preference policy will filled by other tenants in compliance with fair housing practices.

What type of services will be provided?

Nesika Illahee is designed to support tenants in recovery, so there will be drug and alcohol recovery services and programming. In an effort to support clients in recovery, residents will be asked to sign a drug- and alcohol-free lease policy. NARA NW will be a lead provider of on-site services. A certified alcohol and drug counselor will be responsible for supporting residents’ treatment and recovery plan. Support services staff will use assertive engagement techniques to support individuals needing extra assistance re-engaging in recovery support services.

Additional onsite services may include talking circles, other ceremonies, diabetes management groups, dental services, and access to health care. Residents will also be able to access NAYA wraparound services located less than a mile away.

How much is the rent?
We provide this information as a courtesy for families to help evaluate their possible interest in this space. However, rent amounts are very likely to change by 2020 due to many ever-changing factors. The rents are currently projected at:

Unit type Number of Units Projected Monthly Rent Max Number of Tenants
Studio 13 $924 2
1-bedroom 30 $990 3
2-bedroom 9 $1,188 5
3-bedroom 7 $1,371 7

Are there income restrictions to live here?
Yes, household income limits cannot be more than 60% Median Family Income. For 2019 that means:

% MFI 1 pers 2 pers 3 pers 4 pers 5 pers 6 pers 7 pers
60% $36,960 $42,240 $47,520 $52,740 $57,000 $61,200 $65,400

Again, we anticipate these numbers will change in 2020.

Will pets be allowed?
Yes, pets 25 pounds and under are allowed.

How do I apply to one of the units?
Interested parties are asked to review the tenant selection criteria first to determine their eligibility. Then they can complete the application by themselves if they’d like, however, it is encouraged for NAYA staff to help them complete the application in person.

When will I hear back about my application?
Completing the application does not mean you are eligible for a unit. Tenant income and background screening will be conducted by the property management company, Viridian. Units will be assigned to those first on the wait list based on preference, and then by the date and time of the application received.

Viridian Property Management will verify tenant income, assets, and other documentation; assembling files; and continue to work with compliance to complete all lease-up files until all the units have a signed lease agreement. Tenant move-in began in January 2020.