Like many low-income and communities of color across the country, the Cully neighborhood in northeast Portland lacked amenities such as an ample supply of affordable, healthy and stable housing. Investment in Cully’s parks, sidewalks, roads, other infrastructure, family-oriented businesses and other amenities has lagged behind the rest of the City, keeping the cost of housing down, and much of the housing in disrepair. In 2014, Enhabit joined a diverse group of government agencies, non-profit organizations, and minority and women-owned contractors to provide home repair and no-to-low-cost energy efficiency upgrades to 100 low income homeowners. A strong commitment to prevent involuntary displacement drives the partnership.
40% homeowners of color, 70% elderly
Public private project partners plan to replicate throughout the region
All work completed by MSWBE firms
Program served 100% low-income homeowners (>$30K annual family income)
By successfully braiding together available public resources and utility incentives, we were able to conduct deep, low-cost repairs for homeowners with income below $30,000. Working with local Enhabit trade allies, repairs included fixing leaky roofs and windows, removing dangerous mold and mildew, installing attic insulation, sealing cracks, upgrading furnaces and more.
By working with low and moderate income homeowners, with a focus on communities of color, the project intends that energy and home repair upgrades will improve the habitability of the home, improve health outcomes in populations that often experience high health disparities, provide housing stability and potentially strengthen a sense of community and increased social cohesion to encourage people to remain in the neighborhood.
Enhabit supported employers in developing the skilled workforce needed to meet the growing demand for home energy upgrades. In collaboration with Worksystems Partnership, resources and grant funding were combined to help more workers access critical training needed for the growing home performance and energy efficiency arena. In addition, Enhabit convened stakeholders in the home performance field to define and establish the first Bureau of Labor and Industries-approved Home Retrofit Apprenticeship Program.
Equity as a guiding principle:
Portland Housing Bureau, Northwest Natural, Multnomah County, Meyer Memorial Trust
With her home now mold-free, insulated and more resilient, Nekicia Luckett feels good about her home and her future. “I feel safe and secure. I’m not going to have any problems, she says. “Now I feel like I can invite people over. I have a nice cozy home,” she says about the house she’s owned in Portland’s Cully neighborhood since 2005.