Nesika Illahee, Native-focused affordable housing development in Northeast Portland, receives national award for excellence in affordable housing

Pictured: Nesika Illahee, a 59-unit Native-focused affordable housing development in Northeast Portland, Oregon.(Photo: Community Development Partners)

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59-unit affordable housing development winner of Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Awards 2020 Chairman's Award

News Release

Community Development Partners

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/ 

Community Development Partners 

Community Development Partners (CDP) is a mission-driven organization committed to the development and operation of life-enhancing affordable housing with a focus on long-term community engagement. Community Development Partners developments are focused on enhancing whole neighborhoods by incorporating public spaces, cultural and social programming, and robust on-site services from local community partners into their projects. 

A certified B-corporation (social benefit corporation), Community Development Partners is dedicated to the highest standards of social and environmental stewardship, public transparency, and legal accountability—a reflection of their dedication to their mission and priority of impacts over profit. 

Founded in 2011 by brothers Eric and Kyle Paine, Community Development Partners has grown into a team of 22 professionals based in offices in Portland, Oregon and Newport Beach, California. Named a national Top 50 Affordable Housing Developer by Affordable Housing Finance for the third year in 2019, the Community Development Partners team has developed and now oversees 24 unique communities comprising over 2,200 units across Oregon, California, Arizona, and Nevada. 

Native American Youth and Family Center 

Founded by the community, for the community, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) is a family of numerous tribes and voices who are rooted in sustaining tradition and building cultural wealth. Native American Youth and Family Center provides culturally-specific programs and services that guide our people in the direction of personal success and balance through cultural empowerment. Our continuum of lifetime services create a wraparound, holistic healthy environment that is Youth Centered, Family Driven, Elder Guided. Native American Youth and Family Center provides a continuum of housing programs and services from housing navigation, eviction prevention, homeownership, to affordable housing development. 

Confederated Tribes of Siletz 

One of nine federally recognized tribes in the State of Oregon and the second tribe in the US to gain federal recognition after having been terminated in the 1950s, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz is located on the Oregon coast with administration offices located in Siletz, tribal offices in Salem, Portland and Eugene that provide services to the membership. The Siletz Reservation was once over 1,000,000 acres on the Oregon coast but today is a much smaller checker-bordered reservation. Current tribal population is 5,536 members currently with 625 members in the Portland area and 307 members in Multnomah County. 

Education, health care and housing are among the tribe’s highest priorities. The tribe is a Self-Governance tribe engaged in managing government funds to address those priorities in addition to tribal timber sales and casino revenues. Chinook Winds Resort Casino is a major source of tribal revenue. We are proud to be working with the Portland community and the wonderful partners in this housing project, the addresses a high priority of need. 

Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest 

The Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc. (NARA NW), was founded in 1970, to reach out to and offer assistance to those struggling with alcoholism and addictions. The Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc. expanded services through the years and offers residential and outpatient treatment, medical, dental, mental health, supportive housing, OHP outreach, and children, youth and family programs. Elder and Veterans services are new additions. 

Community Development Partners
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