City planners are reviewing plans for the first multifamily housing project in Roseburg in six years.
The project, Deer Creek Village, is being developed by NeighborWorks Umpqua and will feature 68 units aimed at housing low-income veterans.
Housing shortages have been an issue facing cities across Oregon for years, and Roseburg is no exception. The city’s lack of affordable housing was highlighted in a recently finished housing needs analysis, which was commissioned by the city and conducted by the consulting group ECONorthwest.
Creating more affordable multifamily housing, particularly for at-risk populations, will be a key challenge for the city in the next 20 years as it accommodates changing demographics, according to the study.
In an effort to incentivize more housing development, the City Council agreed to let developers defer paying up to $5,000 per unit of systems development charges — costs associated with connecting projects to city services such as water systems and roads.
City Councilor Brian Prawitz praised the plan before it was adopted at a council meeting in July. He said the City Council has been asking city staff to find ways to bring in new affordable housing projects for a long time.
“This is a really good step in the right direction,” Prawitz said.
NeighborWorks Director of Acquisitions and Development Brian Shelton-Kelley said the city’s help has been crucial in advancing the Deer Creek Village project.
But he said NeighborWorks has wanted to do a project like Deer Creek Village since the nonprofit created a new strategic plan a couple of years ago.
“In order to have the impact that we wanted to have as an organization, and really meaningfully address the housing crisis that our area is facing, we set a goal to develop 500 units between then and 2021,” Shelton-Kelley said.
The nonprofit held community meetings in Southwest Oregon as it was developing the new strategic plan. Shelton-Kelley said the meetings drove home the need to create housing for at-risk populations such as low-income, homeless, formerly incarcerated and veterans. The 3-acre property located at 2843 Northeast Douglas Ave. was donated to NeighborWorks by a local family, the Rosensteins.
NeighborWorks currently has 615 units between about 20 properties in Douglas, Coos and Curry counties. “So essentially trying to do as much as we had done in 25 years in a five-year period,” Shelton-Kelley said.
He said Deer Creek Village will be NeighborWorks’ largest housing development, and it is a follow-up to the 2013 Eagle Landing project for at-risk veterans on the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center campus. Deer Creek Village will have resident services and community gathering spaces as well.
“Eagle Landing has more robust services really geared toward people that are coming from a situation of homelessness or being unsheltered,” Shelton-Kelley said. “In a way, Deer Creek could be the next phase in their journey through the housing continuum.”
The project will have studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. It will cater to individuals and small families making less than 60% of the area median income. Shelton-Kelley said NeighborWorks is participating in a US Department of Housing and Urban Development program that will cap qualifying disabled veterans’ rent at 30% of their income. Ten units will be reserved for people with disabilities, he said.
Shelton-Kelley said apartments in the building will fill up quickly because NeighborWorks has an extensive waiting list, but he added that it should not discourage people who need housing from contacting the nonprofit for housing opportunities.
Shelton-Kelley said NeighborWorks will emphasize accessibility, energy efficiency and sustainability when constructing the building. The complex will have a U-shape and feature a courtyard facing a nearby natural area.
NeighborWorks expects the three-story building to start housing people around mid-2021. The nonprofit is holding a ceremonial groundbreaking with city officials and light refreshments at the property at 11 a.m. on Aug. 29.