Villa Esperanza, a Catholic Community Services project in Woodburn, will combine affordable housing with on-site social services. (Courtesy Catholic Community Services)
Villa Esperanza, a Catholic Community Services project in Woodburn, will combine affordable housing with on-site social services. (Courtesy Catholic Community Services)

WOODBURN — Catholic Community Services and Fostering Hope Initiative have broken ground on a new affordable housing complex in here. The project is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

Villa Esperanza, or Hope Villa, will offer 16 apartments for low-income families.

Organizers call the complex “an innovative new approach to quality, affordable, supported housing.” Through years of working with struggling families, Catholic Community Services learned that securing stable housing is not enough. Families also need accessible services. “The major barriers families face, in addition to housing, are transportation and child care, barriers that will be addressed in the new apartments,” the organization said in a statement. In addition to a community room and child care space, Villa Esperanza will have private meeting rooms so workers from service agencies can meet with residents on site.

Oregon Housing and Community Services is the major backer of the project, issuing a grant of almost $3.5 million.  

“The groundbreaking of Villa Esperanza could not come at a better time,” said Margaret Salazar, director of Oregon Housing and Community Services. “The housing crisis continues to impact Oregon’s most vulnerable community members, and this development will provide much-needed relief.”

The land was purchased with the help of a donor. 

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Oregon, Carlson Veit Architects and LMC Construction have contributed extra time and resources to the project, said Jim Seymour, executive director of Catholic Community Services. The Woodburn Foursquare Church and Woodburn Mayor Kathy Figley also have given support.

Catholic Community Services teamed up on the model that offers housing plus services with the Oregon Department of Human Services and the Marion County Health Department. 

Villa Esperanza is located in a Catholic Community Services Fostering Hope zone. The Fostering Hope Initiative is a neighborhood-based approach to support and empower vulnerable families. 

Neighborhood residents chose the name.

“We must spend more time listening to what a community dreams of for itself,” said State Rep. Teresa Alonso León, who represents Woodburn. “That is why it is significant that community members and partners named this project Villa Esperanza, or Hope Villa.”