Modular Apartments Provide much needed Affordable Housing

A survey of Portland, Oregon by the National Low Income Housing Foundation of Washington, D. C. revealed that a breadwinner working a minimum wage job in the Portland area would have to work 78 hours to be able to afford a market rate two bedroom apartment. More and more people are earning the minimum wage but there are fewer and fewer affordable rentals, according to (“Affordable” means rents that are no more than 30 percent of a tenant’s income.). With an apartment vacancy rate that is among the lowest in the nation, working class families are being pushed out of the city. Nearly three of four (72%) renters who earn under $50,000 a year are paying over 30 percent of their income for housing. Some private developers are seeking code variances and waivers of development fees in order to build less expensively for the low income market.

One creative solution, as reported Dec. 19, 2013 is the Kah San Chako Haws, a modular three-story nine-unit apartment project that will charge $500 for studios and $800 for two bedroom apartments in southeast Portland. Developed by the local Native American Youth and Family Center, it cost around $180,000 per unit to build, $40,000 less than comparable traditional build, and the cost may come down to $130,000 per unit if built on a larger scale. One huge advantage: It took only three days to assemble, reducing construction traffic and noise considerably. ##

(Photo credit: Native American Youth and Family Center–Kah San Chako Haws modular apartments in Portland, OR)

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