Thanks to state and federal grants, six new units of affordable housing will open in Ashland on Aug. 1, joining the East Village community on lower Clay Street.
Owned and created by ACCESS, the $1.1 million rental project earned an Earth Advantage platinum rating for many environmentally friendly features — high-efficiency heating, cooling, plumbing and lighting, fiber-cement siding and paint with low levels of volatile organic compounds.
Called Hyde Park, the half-acre project offers one-, two- and three-bedroom view apartments for individuals and families at 50 to 60 percent of median income, said ACCESS Housing Director Cindy Dyer.
A four-person household would have to earn less than $27,840 at half median income or $33,360 at 60 percent of median income, she said. All rents are in the range of $490 to $660 a month.
Future tenants will get the first look at their new homes at 10 a.m. Thursday at an open house at 2272 Dollarhide Way.
Funders, including Oregon Housing and Community Services, the Consolidated Funding Cycle and HUD will be recognized.
"It adds affordable housing to a community where there's a big need for it," said Project Manager Merry Hart.
"I know the tenants are excited about it," added Dyer. "There was a line outside when sign-up started in May on a first-come basis. ... Within a few hours we were putting people on a waiting list."
One tenant, Laura (who declined to provide her last name), will move into a three-bedroom unit with her two children — and noted that in the Ashland market she would have paid at least twice her mid-$600 rent.
"There's no way we could have afforded something like this," said Laura, who said she is looking for work. "We're so excited and happy. We could never have found something this comfortable. We are very fortunate indeed."
The apartments are townhouse style, with the three-bedroom units having two floors and one- and two-bedroom units located on the upper floor. Upper levels are carpeted and ground floor levels in the three-bedroom units have slab-in-grade colored concrete floors that invite area rugs. Each comes with cable, storage area and parking space. View patios are found in upper units.
The project, designed by Kistler + Small + White and built by Golden Fields of Ashland, aesthetically blends with the existing East Village affordable housing neighborhood.
Earlier attempts to develop the property were stalled by the poor economy, but that opened the way for ACCESS to buy the site in foreclosure for $130,000, using the city's Community Development Block Grant money.
ACCESS is always looking for more land and funding to do similar affordable projects, Dyer noted. Ashland is especially in need of it, she said, because 20 percent of the population is considered low-income and real estate prices are high.
Applications for the waiting list continue to be accepted and can be picked up at the ACCESS office or downloaded from its website at www.accesshelps.org.
John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.