Ribbon cutting to celebrate first tribal preference affordable housing development in Portland

Portland’s Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Native American Rehabilitation Association, and Community Development Partners (CDP) will host a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, January 29, 2020, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. to celebrate the opening of the Nesika Illahee affordable housing development. A tour of the building will follow.

Nesika Illahee, which translates to “our place” in the Chinuk Wawa language, is a 59-unit affordable housing development in the Cully Neighborhood in Northeast Portland. A unique partnership with the Siletz Tribe uses generous funding from its Indian Housing Block Grant and allows Nesika Illahee to reserve 20 units for Native Americans — a community particularly hard hit in Portland’s housing crisis.

“We cannot solve our community’s housing crisis overnight,” said Native American Youth and Family Center Executive Director Paul Lumley. “Nesika Illahee demonstrates Native American Youth and Family Center’s willingness to be a leader in developing innovative housing models and developing powerful partnerships that allow us to do more — together — to help the community.”

Speakers will include Siletz Tribal Chairman Delores Pigsley, Heidi Fourchette from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and more.

“We are grateful for the time, effort, organization, and all the planning that had to happen to make these homes a reality,” said Chairman Pigsley. “Portland community organizations have helped to address this unique tribal housing opportunity.”

Margaret Salazar, executive director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, agreed that the collaborative nature of the project was significant to its success, stating, “These new homes are a critical step towards providing stability for Oregonians in need. It’s exciting to see partnerships that increase housing opportunities for Native Americans and tribal members, creating a new model in Oregon.”

Community Development Partners CEO Eric Paine concurred, “Community Development Partners is incredibly proud to have developed, alongside our partners, this critically needed and groundbreaking community of homes for Native American families. Nesika Illahee is an important step forward in our collective effort to address the need for both affordable housing and culturally responsive services.”

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