Accessory Dwelling Units: Be Part of the Affordable Housing Solution

Do you want to increase the availability of affordable housing in Portland? If you own a home, one way to help is to build a detached accessory dwelling unit (ADU) and rent it to a family in need of an affordable home. Enhabit is building a program that will make it easier for homeowners to build ADUs to house homeless or low-income tenants, while providing the homeowner with positive cash flow from rental income. Interested in participating? Read more below, or sign up to be notified about future program updates.

What’s an ADU?

ADUs are small, complete living units (sometimes called ‘backyard cottages’ and ‘in-law units’) that can be rented out to provide supplemental income to the household. ADUs can be newly built, detached, separate units or converted from existing garages, attics and basements. Most Portland lots are zoned to allow detached ADUs. More about ADUs

Enhabit and ADUs

Since 2009, Enhabit has advised and helped thousands of homeowners and worked with utilities and local governments to create efficient, healthy, and safe living spaces. As Portland faces a housing and homelessness crisis, Enhabit began investigating how to use ADUs as affordable housing option, in service to our mission to create social impact through better living spaces.


2017-2018: A Place for You


Multnomah County contracted Enhabit to manage a pilot project to design and install ADUs to house homeless families in four privately-owned yards. Read more

2018: Enhabit commissions design of "Essential House"


To better understand conventional building costs for an affordable ADU, Enhabit commissioned the design of the “Essential House,” a 384 sq ft, fully functional one-bedroom home. Read more

June 2018: ADU charges waived

Portland’s City Council voted to permanently waive system development charges for Portland homeowners, saving up to $16,000 for each new ADU used as a long-term rental. Read more

Summer 2018

Enhabit is working with a Portland-area coalition of government, lending and non-profits partners to develop a new ADU program for homeowners willing to house families experiencing homelessness. Sign up for updates

Sign up for ADU program updates

Be the first to know about new ADU programs by signing up for email updates. We won’t share your name or details with anyone.

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