Students walking around MHCC campus

College Housing Northwest and Mt. Hood Community College Welcome the Opening of Gresham Project Turnkey Property

May 06, 2024

College Housing Northwest (CHNW), the extraordinary 50+-year-old student housing nonprofit created for students by students, is proud to be strengthening its partnership with Mt. Hood Community College. CHNW has a new student community opening in the Gresham area in the fall of 2024.

Oregon college students are experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity at all-time highs with some local colleges seeing homelessness among students up to 20%. Paying for housing is consistently the hardest part of attending college, and students are excluded from many affordable housing sources.

“Graduation rates are much higher among students who receive housing when they need it. This makes sense– students are humans first, and it’s really hard to learn when you don’t have a safe place to sleep. It’s incredibly exciting that CHNW is supporting students and local colleges this way,” said Sara Goldrick-Rab, higher education sociologist and senior fellow at Education Northwest.

CHNW is uniquely positioned to help local colleges with student housing insecurity and has been making incredible strides over the past four years with the advent of the Affordable Rents for College Students (ARCS) program. ARCS provides rent assistance and personalized support to students referred by partners (New Avenues for Youth, Naya Family Center, Latino Network, Portland State University, Portland Community College, Clackamas Community College, and Mt. Hood Community College). The ARCS program is making real progress in addressing the local student housing crisis while supporting hopeful students in completing degree programs.

“Being in ARCS has given me hope with my future, without this help I wouldn't be engaged like I am nor thriving like I do with school now. Being able to have a place to lay my head at night has given me the power to keep fighting for my future in all aspects of life,” shared a current ARCS student on the impact and the support they have received since being a part of the program.

Mt Hood Community College has been one of the ARCS program’s earliest partners and instrumental in its support and growth. The Project Turnkey property, the former Pony Solider Inn, located at 1060 NE Cleveland Ave in Gresham, will be able to impact in-need MHCC students in the greater Gresham area directly. 

"Mt. Hood Community College is thrilled to be part of this transformative initiative with College Housing Northwest. As we witness the growing challenges of housing insecurity among our student population, this partnership underscores our commitment to providing holistic support for our students' success. The Project Turnkey property not only offers a tangible solution to housing instability but also fosters a sense of belonging and stability crucial for academic achievement. Together, we are building a brighter future for our students and our community," Dr. Lisa Skari, President of Mt. Hood Community College said.

The Oregon Legislature generously granted CHNW $6.6 million through Project Turnkey to purchase a hotel in Gresham, which is currently being renovated into 75 low and no-cost studios specifically for student housing. CHNW, through a capital campaign, is looking to raise an additional $6 million to help pay for renovation costs. This unique public-private partnership brings together communities, businesses, government, and philanthropy, allowing CHNW to create deeply affordable housing for Gresham’s most vulnerable college students.