The Lincoln City City Council Monday evening made a bold move to help low income families find affordable housing. The council decided through a complicated financing arrangement to provide money to buy a sprawling facility at NE 34th and Highway 101. The city will purchase the buildings while a non-profit group called Helping Hands will secure other funding so that the multi-building complex can be reconfigured to provide up to 70 small living units – families only.
There was a lot of debate about the project, but city staff assured the council that the project is workable. “It can be done” say city officials. But before anyone can move in, Helping Hands will have to transform the buildings into livable dwellings – and even provide career training and family counseling to lift families up from poverty.
But a lawyer in the audience, who was hired by some surrounding property owners, took the stand saying his clients want nothing to do with such a project. The lawyer said that his clients want to maintain a tourist commercial environment – not change the area into a low income neighborhood. But city staff continued to stress that affordable housing is the city’s “Number 1” challenge that has been long in the making. So we’ll see if the neighborhood goes to court to try and stop the project.