The Missing Middle Housing Fund (MMHF) has worked alongside the Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR) and the Newberg Workforce Housing Consortium (NWHC) over the past two years to identify and develop innovative workforce housing solutions in Newberg. Members of the NWHC include A-dec, Friendsview, George Fox University, Providence Health, and Newberg-Dundee Public Schools, with support from the City of Newberg.
The MMHF was brought in to help guide the NWHC in 2022 on how to best invest $3M in funding from the State, awarded through the leadership of Oregon State Representative Anna Scharf, to address the area’s workforce housing needs. Employers in the Newberg area have long faced a shortage of workforce housing for those earning 80-120% of the area median income, the group we refer to as the “missing middle”. This group of workers tends to be ineligible for affordable housing subsidies due to making a higher income but cannot afford market-rate housing. Employers reported that because these employees are priced out of the local housing market, it negatively impacts their ability to recruit and retain their workforce.
Through a disciplined process that aligned key employers from the region around shared innovation and workforce housing goals and attracted housing innovators and developers to the City of Newberg, the team created a plan to invest the funds in opportunities that could create more housing at scale. In June of 2023, two teams were chosen to receive a portion of the $3M investment due in large part to their potential to reduce the time and cost to build. The partners established a revolving investment fund to help finance pre-development costs for these and additional, future workforce housing development projects in the area.
Our work with SEDCOR and the NWHC in Newberg has garnered attention throughout the state of Oregon. Economic development organizations have heard about our collaboration with area employers and how we have been able to tap into our community of over 400 product innovators, developers, financers, builders, policy makers, businesses, city leaders, and non-profits to drive change and think differently about an approach to workforce housing development.
In the interest of spreading the word about how community collaboration can catalyze workforce housing development in other parts of our State and beyond, we have developed a case study that outlines the history of our work, the approach to finding out of the box solutions, and the key lessons learned along the way.
We invite you to download a copy of the case study today to learn more about our efforts. There is tremendous potential across our state to meet the needs of employers and cities and address our missing middle workforce housing. We stand ready to partner and/or lead in this journey together.