‘Overwhelming demand:’ 240 applicants for 40 affordable housing apartments

March 30, 2011


Affordable housing yes; supply that meets the current demand in Hood River County, no.

It may only be a veritable drop in the bucket compared to demand, but Hood River County will soon have new affordable housing options.

Hood River Crossing, a 40-unit apartment complex on West Cascade Ave., is scheduled to open in May. Meanwhile, construction is scheduled to start on a 13-unit senior affordable housing complex in Cascade Locks this summer.

"We've had an overwhelming demand," said Ruby Mason, mid-Columbia Housing Authority director. "We've had 240 applications for 40 units."

Hood River County, and Hood River in particular, has long faced an affordable housing crunch, and Mason hopes the Hood River Crossing project will show that more is needed.

Many of the applicants have been couples and families, and interest among farm workers has been particularly strong.

In addition to the overwhelming number of applications for the apartments, Mason said there have been 189 applications for 10 Section 8 housing vouchers for the complex.

Section 8 vouchers allow the tenants to receive government assistance to cover rent over 30 percent of their income level.

"It underscores the fact that there is a significant demand for affordable housing in Hood River," Mason said. "There is a far greater demand than we have the ability to meet."

Mason said one of the biggest areas of need has been among farm workers, who she said have a hard time finding housing options.

"We have done significant outreach to farm workers," she said. "It is certainly not restricted to farm workers but we are responding to an area of need."

They will have somewhere to live soon. The project, built by Bogatay Construction, is around 85 percent completed and Mason said it was on track to open May 1.

Mason said many of the applicants so far had been families, with a few couples and individuals applying for the units.

While the Hood River Crossing project finishes up, the wheels are in motion for a senior housing project in Cascade Locks.

"We have all the funding approved and the city has approved the site plan," Mason said.

The 13 units will be age-restricted to residents 62 and over with one unit income-restricted.

The project is funded through HUD capital development program and will be located on Bell Street behind Cascade Locks City Hall.

Cascade Locks interim city administrator Rich Carson said the city and the Housing Authority had reached a memorandum of understanding on the plans, which should allow construction to begin soon. He said the project also helps to fill a need in the city. "In terms of these kinds of facilities I don't know that we have any," he said. Mason said the project should begin construction in June, just as the Hood River Crossing project finishes up.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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