Built to give homes to formerly houseless Veterans individuals in Portland, Oregon, this 35 unit affordable housing project was completed in 2022. We're thankful for our partners Do Good Multnomah and St. Mark's Lutheran Church for the opportunity to bring more affordable housing to our neighbors in the Northwest.
You’ll find a Veteran sleeping on the streets of Portland nearly every night. Do Good Multnomah was founded to help each of them find permanent supportive housing and supportive services.
Chris Aiosa, Founder and Executive Director of Do Good Multnomah, had a vision to create Supporting Housing for underserved Veterans, focusing on those of color, women, and extremely-low income. A home should give residents a sense of stability, cater to their nuanced needs, and be environmentally sustainable. And he wanted to do this without assuming any debt.
In the summer of 2017, Chris and I met at Rogue for a beer to talk about how we’d try to make his vision a reality. How could we build something for Veterans that was efficient, affordable, durable and a place residents were proud to call home? We didn’t have any money and we didn’t have much experience at the time. So we knew we had to get creative.
That day, we joined forces to create something truly special - a unique home for underserved Veterans. We would stretch every dollar to the max to create a thoughtful, efficient permanent place to serve those who have served.
Planning and fundraising for what became Findley Commons felt like a development version of the “stone soup” story. It took more than three years to get enough ingredients from partners to be able to break ground. All project funding was secured through grants that sometimes took multiple applications to win. The game changer finding an under-ultilzed corner of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church’s parking lot. The site had parking, access to two bus lines and services and a friendly, flexible, and mission driven owner in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. (Wonderful as the site was, it was also the wrong zoning for apartments - but you can't have everything)
Outdoor furniture, kitchen supplies, and small appliances were donated by area businesses and nonprofits and the church. Closet storage systems were designed and installed at a discount by California Closets of Oregon. The paint was selected from a trauma-informed color palette. Each one bedroom unit has a mini-split air conditioning. All units are fully furnished and residents pay no utility bills. There’s even an elevator, EV stations and a full solar array. Findley Commons is certified Earth Advantage "Gold”, so our carbon footprint is low, just like our utility bills.
We not only gave a vulnerable population a place they can be proud to live that meets their individual needs, we built quality homes that will stand up to the rigors of their lifestyle for the long term.
Findley Commons was anything but easy to develop. (Did we mention, we broke ground at the onset of a global pandemic?). But dozens of strong partnerships made Findley Commons a home to 35 formerly houseless Veterans when it opened its doors in January, 2022. Do Good Multnomah brought extensive knowledge of the population we needed to serve. St. Marks was a fabulous partner, selling land to the project for below market value. OHCS, Meyer Memorial Trust and PHB provided technical assistance throughout the development process. And our trusted contractors - General Contractor Beaudin Construction, Architect Doug Circosta and many more - delivered a beautiful project amid challenging circumstances.
In the end, Findley Commons was built for roughly half the cost of a typical affordable housing project, with no sacrifices to quality, accessibility or energy efficiency. In the years that it took to build Findley Commons, we grew a great deal as a company. We're proud to have contributed to Chris an Do Good's original vision and mission, and will be proud partners at Findley for years to com.
100% of the residents at Findley Commons are formerly houseless Veterans. At Findley Commons, Veteran residents can access a wide variety of supportive housing services provided by Do Good Multnomah caseworkers and VA caseworkers. Veterans are able to rent SRO units for $500/month with all utilities paid for. All 1BR units have property-based vouchers, meaning residents pay no more than 30% of their income on rent.
The Home First team was proud to help bring Findley Commons to life and to support Do Good's mission and work with houseless Veterans.