In a time when affordable and workforce housing is scarce in Columbia County, a new project is now open in St. Helens to ease the crisis.

Self-Help, Inc. a nonprofit real estate holding company has partnered with the Columbia Action Team (CAT) to build an apartment complex at 124 North 18th St.

“We chose this site because of the need for housing, thus a benefit to the community and to the City and just all of us doing the right thing for our community,” Self-Help President Nina Reed said.

The Community Action Team is located next door to the apartments, providing a suite of supportive services for the tenants, including rent payment assistance.

“So we have a close eye on the apartments and provide services to those less fortunate than us,” Reed said. “There is a laundromat across the street and the apartments are walking distance to market, pharmacy and The Columbia Pacific Food Bank.”

Reed said the 18th Street apartment development is significant to the community because it offers specialized housing for low-income, homeless at-risk individuals, veterans and the disabled.

“These residents cannot pay more than 30 percent of their income on rent,” Reed said “There’s only about 1,200 units for those most vulnerable. Families burdened by high housing costs lack funds to pay for other necessities.”

Reed said a recent housing study showed an immediate need of another 1,900 units in St. Helens.

According to Reed the 18th Street Apartments project construction cost was $1.6 million, which is funded through grants from Oregon Housing and Community Services LIFT, Wauna Federal Credit Union and Oregon Mental Health.

Land for the project was donated by a gift of equity from Columbia County Self- Help, Inc.

Home First Development is the project development and management team. Doug Circosta is the architect, and M-Group conducted the structural engineering. The civil engineering was done by Lower Columbia Engineering. Macdonald Environmental Planning performed the on-site landscaping for the apartment project. The project’s general contractor is Rich Bailey Construction, LLC.

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