About 100 people converged on the St. Johns Community Center Saturday to talk about how best to spend tax increment funding on affordable housing.
 

About 100 people converged on the St. Johns Community Center Saturday to talk about how best to spend tax increment funding on affordable housing.  

Kristian Foden-Vencil/OPB

Over the last year, the city has spent close to $20 million on affordable housing in North Portland.

Bishop Steven Holt, of Kingdom National Church, says the city found another $32 million this fall and wants to know how best to spend it.

“I mean it doesn’t make sense for any other people to decide what’s best for folks that live in the area,” he said.

Some of the money will go to marginalized families with roots in the area.

Shei’Meka Owens, is a third generation North Portlander. She lost a home in the great recession and is now determined to get back on the housing ladder.

“I’m not relying on them to help me,” she said. “I’m not asking for a hand-out. I’m asking for a help-up. And where I don’t get a help-up, I’ll find a shovel and I’ll dig my way through. That’s the bottom line.”

People called for apartments where not just low-income people could live, but also moderate-income people.

There was also interest in getting city government to help with buying homes, finding affordable rentals and dealing with higher taxes.