503-654-1705 office@stpaulsumc.us

Why Housing? Why Now? Why us?

Ask a member of our Housing Research team and you’ll find we have many housing stories and motivations. Here are motivations we share:

  • Everyone lives somewhere. Shelter is a basic need. The more stable our housing, the better our foundation to live our lives.
  • We steward 3 acres of land in a community where the cost of housing today keeps many of our neighbors from stable housing.
  • We believe as human beings, as members of the Milwaukie area community, as Christians, as United Methodists, we are called to actively serve our neighbors.
  • We listen for God’s will in how we should serve.
  • We believe the need and resources currently available show us God is already actively preparing this path for us today. We get to choose how to respond.

What is the need for low income or affordable housing in Milwaukie?

  • 38% of households in Milwaukie are cost burdened which means that more than 30% of their income goes to their housing cost.
  • An additional 17% are severely cost burdened which means that they are paying more than 50% of their income for their housing cost.
  • A total of 52% of households in Milwaukie pay more than 30% of their income for housing.

What resources are available to us?

  • The St. Paul’s Housing Research Team is a Cohort of the Leaven Community Land & Housing Coalition. This means we can draw on the experience of many communities of faith. Anna Hoesly is assigned as our “companion” to help guide us through the process.
  • Our UMC Conference held a Housing Summit in Portland in November titled “GNW Housing God’s Beloved,” where Bishop Bridgeforth and many churches spoke.
  • Stephen McMurtrey, who grew up attending St. Paul’s, works with churches to develop affordable housing projects. While Stephen is lending his expertise to our process, no promises have been made or implied that he would be chosen as developer of any project.

How will the decision be made?

  • This Team has been tasked with gathering all of the data about the need for housing and learning how the development of a housing project on a church property could happen. The team has been communicating what they are learning by speaking during Sunday Service, and offering articles in the Epistle.
  • In 2024 the team will be meeting one to one with people, hosting house meetings with small groups, and holding all-congregation gathering(s) after church for presentations by knowledgeable speakers.
  • No decisions or commitments will be made until June when there will be an all-church meeting where all members shall vote to either move forward with building housing on the property of St. Paul’s UMC or not.

If our membership votes to move forward with some form of housing what happens then?  

  • We will choose the target population we feel a call to support.
  • We will choose the type of housing and service provider.
  • St. Paul’s will decide what portion of the property will be used from all of our property to only a portion. 
  • Removing all current structures or part of current structures so that we can build more housing is a possibility.
  • The property to be used for housing will be contributed to the project though a long-term lease, land trust, or low fee sale.
  • St. Paul’s will probably need to fund the initial Feasibility Study. Funding assistance might be available.

What about the Community Garden

  • We know the Community Garden is valued. 
  • We would work to include it in any plans, but it might be relocated.
  • New construction could include new spaces for St. Paul’s to use and/or share.
  • The current zoning may need to be changed and we may need to help fund that change.

How Long?

We have been advised it would be at least 3 years after congregational approval before construction could start.

What is the Church NOT going to be responsible for? 

  • Project development will be by another organization.
  • Management of any of the property or rental of any units.
  • Wrap around services such as property management, case management, community services will be by the organization chosen.

What does the UMC Conference have input on? 

  • Current Bishop Cedrick Bridgeforth is in full support of affordable housing projects.
  • While St. Paul’s UMC is an active congregation we can make decisions on how to steward this site and receive support from the conference.

What does the neighborhood want and need? 

  • We continue to reach out to our community to ask this question, including attending Linwood Neighborhood Association meetings, now being held at St. Paul’s.
  • Further meetings would be held with neighborhood members if we vote as a body to proceed.