Affordable housing built out of energy and persistence

Variables are constant. Our process, experience, and determination are too.

From concept to financing, construction to occupancy, every phase is a step in our mission to make affordable housing a reality for everyone in the Northwest. Take a close look at our process and meet the team that anticipates ‘unexpected,’ asks questions, and figures it out.

1. Pre-Development

Project feasibility analysis, capacity studies, funding opportunity assessment are all completed well before breaking ground. Community success that's long-term starts early and with a lot of questions.

Pre-development allows us to see the community needs, land characteristics, and financing opportunities. We apply our unique lens to find the potential path for the project. If it's not clear, we make our own.

2. Financing

Our government and nonprofit backgrounds give us a unique understanding, perspective and visibility into affordable housing financing.

We are experienced working with dozens of funding sources, both public and private, and benefit from deep relationships with lenders, investors, foundations and government organizations. We are compelled to be good stewards of public and private resources, treating our funders as true partners for the long-term.

3. Design & Permits

We ask a lot of questions. How do we reduce utility bills for residents? Will children who live here prefer a soccer field or a basketball hoop? In the eyes of our neighbors, how will this building look? Is this sink deep enough? Should we ditch the carpet?

Our team of project professionals—engineers, architects, designers and more —are focused on producing designs that resident and communities need. We ask questions early which mean we can work with municipalities big and small to get permits fast.

4. Construction Management

Affordable housing built to last is accomplished through strong relationships, proactive issue management, and a commitment to quality. It's a process that provides well-built communities that support the needs of residents.

Our construction management team works shoulder to shoulder with general contractors, municipalities, consultants, and industry professionals to complete projects on time and on budget.

Community Investment Summary

Total Development Cost Of Home First Supported Projects




Grants, competitive funding awards, LIHTC equity and other funding that complements or replaces conventional debt.

Low Income Fast Track (LIFT) - Oregon Housing & Community Services

The Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Housing Program is a State funding source that provides gap funding for developments that build for low-income families and individuals in Oregon, with a focus on those that emphasize efficiency and community partnerships.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Equity

The LIHTC program is administered by Oregon Housing and Community Services, prodiving tax credits to investors in exchange for equity that funds the construction of affordable rental housing. Home First typically utilizes 4% LIHTC.

Other Funds

Other funds include competitive grants and loans available for affordable housing development such as: Meyer Memorial Trust grants, METRO Transit Oriented Development grants, OHCS VGHAP grants, METRO Bond, CDBG, Portland Housing Bureau CET, etc.


Total Affordable Housing Units in Development Pipeline


Total Affordable Housing Units Under Construction


Total Affordable Housing Units Built

Your Team at Home First

Access to safe affordable homes for every person in the Northwest is our vision. And every day we lean on our team's diverse experience in non-profit, government, construction, property management, and finance to make sure this happens.

Ben Pray


Ben's unique approach to development is informed by a commitment to mission-driven work, a sincere interest in public policy, and a passion for partnerships. Always surrounded by a cadre of talented professionals, Ben's primary contribution to projects is knowing how to hit the curve.

Will Harris


A U.S. Army Veteran, Will has more than 25 years of knowledge building and managing resources to support vulnerable populations. His CFO experience built a small Portland nonprofit from annual budgets of less than $50,000 a year to more than $10,000,000, helping thousands of people find permanent housing.

Mike Boyer

Vice president of development

A diverse experience in government communications, legislative affairs, and human resources for State agencies (Housing & Community Services, Department of Environmental Quality, and Department of Transportation) informs Mike's project management approach for Home First Development. His attention to detail and experience with policy benefit the complex work of affordable housing financing and development.

Alex Reff

Director of Construction

As an experienced project engineer and manager, Alex has worked on the most complex and demanding steel fabrication construction projects in the Pacific Northwest. This background gives him comprehensive knowledge of large-scale budgets, schedules, processes and technical execution. For Home First Development, Alex manages construction for all projects and applies his experience and attention to detail to ensure accuracy and consistency across the portfolio.

Jennifer Huang

Senior Construction Manager

Jennifer possesses extensive experience in construction management and architectural project management and interfaces with contractors, jurisdictions, and professionals on a daily basis to achieve Home First’s design and construction goals. Huang has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Smith College and both a master’s degree and an ecological design certificate in architecture from the University of Oregon.

Colleen O.

Development Associate

With a diverse development experience that includes work at a civil engineering firm and in property management. Colleen’s coordination of complex pre-development processes and multi-family leasing informs her ability to oversee due diligence and asset management for Home First Development. As a detail-oriented, efficient, and skilled communicator, Colleen helps our partners execute closings, conversion, and compliance.

Leah Halstead


Leah oversees the Home First and Home First/Green Light Development portfolio, bringing years of experience as a developer, executive director and asset manager across the Pacific Northwest. Leah's problem solving skills, attention to detail and mission-driven focus ensure our properties stay beautiful, safe and in compliance.

Maya Booth-Balk

Office Manager

Maya brings a wealth of real estate and office management experience to the Home First team and oversees the day-to-day operations of the office. Maya is a licensed Real Estate Agent, a graduate of Whitman College, and a longtime resident of the Mt. Tabor neighborhood where HFD’s office is located.

Barb Canaday

Property Management Director

Barb Canaday is the Property Management Director and Managing Principal Broker for Home First Development. Barb, creator of Oregon Realtors’ Property Management Academy, directs all aspects of our in-house property management from development through lease-up, operations and compliance. She brings 30 years of real estate and property management experience, and as a Certified Instructor at the state and national levels, utilizes cutting edge management principles and best practices.

Our Strategic Partners

With 100+ years of combined experience in financing, design, engineering, and community development, our strategic partners are driven to bring access to affordable housing for their neighbors across the Northwest through the application of their expertise and committment to partnership.

Ripple NW

Construction management

Tabor Design Group

Design Consultation


MWESB Management

Green Light Development

development partner

DDV Consulting

Darcy Vincent, LIHTC Consulting