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More low-income housing projects get funding

Medford City Hall
Medford City Council awarded nearly $700,000 to three groups planning 299 new units

Medford has awarded grants totaling $682,310 to help kickstart the development of 299 new low-income housing units valued at $107.5 million.

Medford City Council recently approved the distribution of the grants under the Housing Opportunity Fund to three local organizations that will build housing for seniors, low-income families and migrant workers.

“It’s exciting to see these investments in needed housing in Medford,” said Councilor Kevin Stine.

Money from the program is coming from a variety of sources, including $282,310 from cannabis tax revenues and the rest from a construction excise tax.

The Housing Authority of Jackson County will receive the largest share at $400,000 to develop two projects totaling 196 units to serve those earning 60% of the area median income. The median income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, is $29,311 for an individual and $56,327 for a family.

The two housing projects, each with 98 units, will be built in Medford. Prescott Gardens will be located at the 2100 block of Keene Way, and Orchard Meadows will be located at 1652 and 1634 Orchard Home Drive.

The total value of the Housing Authority’s two projects is $73.9 million.

Providence Medford Medical Center received a $160,000 grant to help with the construction of 69 units of permanent housing for homeless seniors who rely on frequent hospitalizations for health care. Providence had asked the city for a $200,000 grant.

Supportive services will be available at the units, which will be located at 1175 Royal Ave.

Providence estimates its housing project will cost $22.3 million.

Casa of Oregon will receive $122,310 for the construction of 34 housing units for agricultural workers displaced by the 2020 Almeda fire.

“It’s a great project for farm workers,” said Matt Brinkley, Medford planning director.

Summit Gardens, located at 915 Broad St., will dedicate 33 units for households at or below 60% of the area median income and one for a resident manager.

Casa of Oregon estimates its project will cost $11.3 million. The organization had asked the city for a $250,000 grant.

The city received five proposals to help fund housing projects, totaling $1,362,900, nearly double the available money.

After five meetings, the Housing Advisory Committee recommended three of the projects, and the council agreed.

The other projects that didn’t receive city grants include a down-payment assistance program for housing from Proud Ground, and Rogue Retreat’s Project Turnkey, which has been converting a hotel at 722 N. Riverside Ave. into housing.

Proud Ground requested $362,900, and Rogue Retreat requested $150,000.

The Housing Advisory Committee recommendation for the three projects represents 91% of the 328 units proposed by all five applicants.

Medford officials have a housing target of 200 new units for each biennium, so the approval of the funding for these three projects exceeds that number.

The city and other communities in the area have struggled with a lack of affordable housing, which was made worse by the loss of 2,500 residences in the 2020 Almeda fire.

Reach freelance writer Damian Mann at dmannnews@gmail.com.