REDMOND, Ore. - National officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday presented Housing Works, the housing authority for Central Oregon, two awards for providing quality, affordable housing that strengthens communities in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties.
The agencies commended Housing Works for helping rural residents achieve homeownership through HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program and USDA's home loan programs.
Dom McCoy, USDA's Chief of Staff for the Rural Housing Service, and Doug Carlson, HUD's Community Planning and Development Director for Oregon, traveled to Housing Work's Redmond office to make the presentation to Housing Works and area homeowners participating in its programs.
"USDA's programs – our direct and guaranteed loans – help make the dream of homeownership possible for thousands of rural families and individuals each year, and we rely on partners like Housing Works to help local families access these federal programs," said McCoy.
"Some 150 families across Oregon, including 19 in Central Oregon, are making use of HUD Housing Choice Vouchers to own their piece of the American dream," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. "We appreciate USDA's great mortgage products and the good work of housing authorities like Housing Works who help those families make their dreams come true. And, may many more Oregon families enjoy the same opportunity."
."We open the door to affordable housing opportunities for those who have been locked out, and USDA and HUD are significant partners in that work," said Tom Kemper, Housing Works executive director, who accepted an achievement award for providing outstanding housing options in Central Oregon communities.
Housing Works obtains public funding from federal, state and local governments and leverages these funds with private capital from local financial institutions and foundations to provide quality housing that meets communities' needs.
Kelly Fisher, Housing Works client services manager, received an award for her work in administering HUD's Family Self-sufficiency Program. She said USDA loans and the voucher program help low-income households transition from renter to homeowner status, using their voucher to pay a portion of their mortgage payment.
"Over the past several years, 19 families have used their vouchers to achieve homeownership," said Fisher, "and 12 of those qualified and used USDA loans."
While that may not seem like a lot, Fisher says the addition of just one qualified, contributing family to a neighborhood can improve the quality of life for the whole community.
Housing Works is a public agency whose mission is fostering dignity through housing. It provides people with quality, safe and affordable homes and, through a number of collaborations, provides resources to help people stabilize their lives and become economically self-sufficient.
Housing Works developments in Bend, Redmond and Sisters have won numerous awards for innovation, economic impact, design, beautification, and historic preservation and enhancement. For more information, visit www.housing-works.org.