Gov. Kate Brown works a bulldozer during a demolition of the old Greyhound building, to make room for HOPE Plaza project, in downtown Salem on March 29, 2019

Gov. Kate Brown works a bulldozer during a demolition of the old Greyhound building, to make room for HOPE Plaza project, in downtown Salem on March 29, 2019

With $6 million in federal funding made available to the city last year, several programs and projects for homeless and low- and moderate-income residents are set to receive an infusion of funds.

Salem annually receives HOME Investment Partnerships and Community Development Block Grant funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The city’s Annual Action Plan outlines specifically how Salem will spend the money, which is disbursed through non-profit and for-profit agencies serving lower-income residents.

Because of how federal funds were distributed last year, the amount this year is significantly higher than the typical $2.5 million available, Shelly Ehenger, Salem’s federal programs manager, said.

She said the money is set to go to several programs designed to increase the availability of affordable housing, shelter domestic violence victims, serve seniors and decrease homelessness.

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Groups submitted applications for funding in the fall and those that met the federal guidelines were given the green light to participate in the program.

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Following public comment and a Salem City Council hearing, the funds will be available this summer.

“I’m really, really excited about this year’s annual action plan and some of the partners that we have,” Ehenger said. “The beauty of both for-profit and nonprofit entities is that many of the for-profit entities are going to be constructing new affordable housing.”

Lack of affordable housing has been tied to the region’s high rate of homelessness. With rising rents and home prices outpacing wage growth, Salem has steadily become less affordable in recent years.

The region is facing a shortage of 100,000 affordable units, according to city documents.

Ehenger pointed to $650,000 going to CDP Oregon LLC, which is building 184 affordable housing units on vacant land in southeast Salem.

The nonprofit DevNW is set to build a 24-home, single-family affordable housing subdivision on MacLeay Road partially funded by $650,000 in HOME grants.

Another $50,000 will go toward the Center for Hope and Safety’s HOPE Plaza, providing 20 affordable housing units in downtown Salem for survivors of domestic violence.

And $700,000 was granted to rehabilitate a child care center to serve up to 300 children in West Salem through the Head Start program.

“We’re really excited about that because childcare has been a big issue in regards to people getting back to work,” Ehenger said.

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Other recipients include Meals on Wheels, which provides check-ins and hot meals for seniors; Seed of Faith Ministries; and St. Francis Shelter.

In the past, grant funds have been used for the ARCHES day center, warming shelters, Cornerstone affordable apartments and Yaquina Hall affordable housing.

Ehenger said the city is always looking for new partners for the next round of funding.

“Community partners are needed and welcomed, and certainly public comment is needed and welcome,” she said. “I’d love to talk with the community neighborhood associations or individuals who may feel that their community is not receiving all the support they need so that we can sit down and have a talk about the needs and how we can address them.”

What to know

Salem’s draft Annual Action Plan is available for public review and comment from until March 23.

Electronic versions of the documents are located online at

Copies are also available for review during regular business hours at the Salem Public Library at 585 Liberty St. SE and at the Salem Urban Renewal Agency at 350 Commercial St. NE.

Written comments may be submitted to the Salem City Recorder at 550 Liberty Street SE in Room 205 or by email to [email protected]. All written comments must be received no later than 5 p.m. March 23.

The Salem City Council will hold a virtual public hearing at 6 p.m. Apr. 25. Video of the meeting is available on the Capital Community Media YouTube channel.

In accordance with HUD guidance, written comments will be accepted during the public hearing on the city’s Facebook platform

For additional information, contact Shelly Ehenger, Salem federal programs manager, at [email protected] or 503-540-2494.

For questions, comments and news tips, email reporter Whitney Woodworth at [email protected], call 503-910-6616 or follow on Twitter @wmwoodworth.

This article originally appeared on Salem Statesman Journal: Salem to spend $6M on affordable housing, homeless services