Hayden Homes recently announced a grant program to encourage affordable housing in Idaho, Oregon and Washington – states that have all been experiencing rapid increases in real estate prices.
The Redmond, Oregon-based company established the Hayden Opportunity Fund for Housing affordability in October. The fund will award three grants of $20,000, $30,000 and $100,000 for innovative programs that make homeownership more affordable regardless of income, the company said. Municipalities, counties and other stakeholder agencies are eligible to apply.
The Hayden Opportunity Fund is a new initiative, and the first grants will be awarded in the latter half of 2020. The application forms and guidelines will be available in mid-January at haydenopportunity.org. Applications will be accepted starting in mid-March and ending in mid-June.
“This will give the applicants two to five months to complete and submit the application,” said Deborah Flagan, Hayden’s vice president of community engagement.
Judging the applications
Hayden is still looking for judges to evaluate the grant applications. Flagan said.
“We are seeking individuals that are making a difference in their community and who are committed to seeing housing affordability and availability improve in the Northwest. An email can be sent through haydenopportunity.org, letting us know that they are interested in serving on the judging panel.”
Hayden will accept both nominations and self-nominations for the judging panel. They hope to attract a diverse group from housing-related industries and agencies. The judges will be announced early in 2020.
The government or organization earning the top grant of $100,000 will receive an engraved trophy, a ceremony at a public meeting of their choice, a party for their staff, and public recognition throughout the Pacific Northwest for their leadership in housing affordability and availability.
Hayden said the company created the new grant program because they realized affordable housing is endangered.
“At Hayden Homes, we have been right in the heart of the housing availability conversation for 30 years,” said Dennis Murphy, Hayden Homes CEO. “We’ve made it our mission to work with communities to design high-quality neighborhoods and homes that offer home ownership to families across the income spectrum. But as the years have gone by, it’s gotten harder and harder to achieve.
“We need leadership from local governments and stakeholders who refuse to leave this problem for others to solve. … With the Hayden Opportunity Fund, we will do our part to support and recognize that leadership, innovation and collaboration.”
Flagan added, “Cities are acutely aware of the problem, all across the Northwest; but very few are implementing bold and innovative solutions in turn. We find that the same ideas are being passed along from city to city with failed results of more expensive homes and less of them being built. We are beginning to see a few cities implementing policy changes and cost-saving measures and we applaud them for their leadership.”
Hayden’s motivation is to encourage housing innovation by public entities and agencies, Flagan said.
“Our hope is that the $150,000 in grants assist in funding these new programs and creates a platform for these cities to share their innovative ideas and programs for others to see.”
Hayden’s roots are grounded in affordable housing. In 1989, developer Robert Watson and his wife, Virginia, moved to Redmond, a small, rural community in central Oregon. The mayor of Redmond approached Watson about building affordable homes for the town’s working families. Watson started Hayden as the result.
A few years later, after graduating from college, Bob’s son Hayden Watson and Hayden’s high school friend Dennis Murphy joined the firm. Today, Murphy is the company’s CEO.
Hayden Homes is the largest privately-owned new home construction business in the Pacific Northwest. The firm has built more than 17,000 home in Idaho, Oregon and Washington since its inception. The business has also donated over $18.3 million to charitable causes, especially the affordable-housing nonprofit First Story.