Affordable Housing Development Opens Doors to Wildfire Survivors in Talent


News Release from Oregon Housing and Community Services
October 13, 2023 

TALENT, ORE. — NOWIA Unete and Commonwealth Development Corporation announced that residents this week began moving into Renaissance Flats, a new affordable housing development in Talent. Several of the families and individuals who are moving into a home in the 72-unit affordable housing community were impacted by the 2020 Labor Day fires.

“The Almeda fire had a devasting and disproportionate negative impact on immigrant families, so our work until this point was focused in doing outreach for people who were displaced by the fire to help them with the application process,” said Kathy Keesee, programs director at NOWIA Unete. “This week we saw the fruits of our labor as many families who were not likely to apply are moving in.”

Commonwealth Development Corporation, the developer of Renaissance Flats, is working with ACCESS and NOWIA Unete, a Medford-based nonprofit, to remove barriers for access to affordable housing for the Rogue Valley Latino community in a culturally responsive manner.

“One of our objectives from the beginning was to partner with a respected community organization to help provide quality homes to underserved people and families who were most impacted by the fires,” said Daniel DiFrancesco, vice president of development at Commonwealth Development Corporation. “The cities of Talent, Phoenix, Ashland, and Medford are still recovering from the damage and loss of over 2,500 housing units so it’s an honor for us to bring these 72-units back into the Talent community.”

Renaissance Flats is one of more than a dozen new affordable housing developments in wildfire-affected areas that received funding from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS). The state housing finance agency has prioritized these impacted communities when selecting developments for funding from multiple pre-existing housing development programs, including the Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) Homeownership Program and Federal Disaster Housing Tax Credits.

“In total, 975 new homes both for rent and purchase will be built in fire-impacted counties and will prioritize fire survivors,” said OHCS Director Andrea Bell. “This is a testament to the resiliency, commitment to resolve, and state and local partnership to rebuild after the fires. This is about centering community voice and community solutions. We are fortunate that we can come together and do the things that maybe a lot of folks think we can’t do.”

The majority of the OHCS-funded affordable housing developments will open their doors to tenants next year and provide much-needed housing in Jackson, Lane, Marion, and Lincoln counties.

Commonwealth Development Corporation is planning a grand opening celebration for Renaissance Flats on Nov. 29.