Peace Village Co-op
Scaling up the village model through the adaptive re-use of a large church property to create the most accessible pathway to homeownership in Lane County.
Location: 3060 River Rd, Eugene, Oregon
Type: Limited Equity Co-op
Size: 70 units on 3.6 acres
Permanently Affordable for: 60% area median income or under
In January 2022, SquareOne Villages officially purchased 3.6 acres of land and roughly 9,000 sq. ft. of existing buildings from Peace Presbyterian Church at 3060 River Rd. in Eugene.
The Church sold the property to SquareOne at a below market rate in exchange for leasing back a portion of the facilities for a nominal fee so that the small congregation of around 30 members could continue to exist.
Pastor Glenn Edwards explains, “Peace Presbyterian Church is a relatively small congregation and yet we are committed to making a big impact in our neighborhood and community. We are excited to be working with SquareOne to create this housing."
On the land, SquareOne plans to develop Peace Village, 70 new units of permanently affordable, co-op owned housing for households under 60% area median income (under $30,000 per year for a single person household).
The project is founded on an innovative ownership structure that combines a Community Land Trust (CLT) with a Limited-Equity Co-op (LEC). SquareOne will retain ownership of the underlying land, with the intent of preserving long-term affordability, and the residents will collectively own the housing on the land as members of the Peace Village Cooperative.
The goal of this shared-equity ownership structure is to create the most accessible pathway to homeownership in Lane County—reaching people with incomes as low 30% area median income (around $15,000 per year)—while also preserving long-term affordability of the housing.
Enabling owner-occupied housing for very low-income households…
CLTs commonly consist of single-family houses where individual households must qualify for individual bank loans. This poses major barriers to lower-income households and those with poor credit histories. In our collective ownership model, residents do not need to qualify for a mortgage individually. Instead, the CLT is able to provide a blanket mortgage for the entire LEC project, and any loans remaining from construction can be assigned to the LEC, rather than individual households. Co-ops have also proven to lower monthly housing costs by more than 20% compared to physically similar affordable rental housing managed by the same management companies.
After a dollar is invested once, it’s there forever…
Our Village Model guarantees that housing developed will be permanently retained at affordable rates for people with low-incomes, whereas conventional low-income rental housing generally only guarantees affordability for 30 years or less. That means that each dollar invested by banks, government, foundations, or donors will go further. LECs preserve the affordability of housing by setting income limits for prospective members and restricting the resale value of a membership share. A partnership with a CLT adds an additional backstop to ensure perpetual affordability.
A multi-layered ownership structure ensures a safe and stable investment…
The CLT-LEC partnership never leaves anyone hanging. If an individual household misses a payment, all co-op members are in jeopardy and the LEC will step in to remedy the situation. As a result, co-ops offer lower risk to lenders and have proven to have lower default rates compared to rental properties owned by both for-profits and nonprofits. In rare cases where the LEC cannot remedy the situation, the CLT provides an additional backstop that will step in as necessary. Studies have found that homes owned as part of a CLT have proven ten times less likely to default compared to in the conventional market.
Peace Village include five unique floor plans to support a variety of households:
❖ tiny home (262sf + 141sf loft) | 14 units
❖ ADA tiny home (407sf) | 4 units
❖ 2-bed tiny home (388sf + 186sf loft) | 20 units
❖ 1-bedroom flat (384sf) | 24 units
❖ 2-bedroom townhome (782sf) | 8 units
Current building design includes homes projected to use around 50% of the amount of energy as a similar sized home built to minimum code. Sustainability measures include higher insulation values, heat pump water heaters, and ductless mini split heat pumps.
The small homes will be supported by existing buildings on the site that include a community kitchen and dining area, meeting space large enough to accommodate all of the residents, laundry facilities, storage space for bicycles, shared tools and resources, and other flexible spaces.
The housing is clustered around several flexible open spaces that can be utilized by the residents for a wide variety of purposes, such as gardening or a children's play area, as well as stormwater management.
Vehicle parking is consolidated to the southern perimeter of the site in order to create a walkable, pedestrian-friendly environment. A fire lane and service road provides limited vehicular access into the center of the site.
Interested in living at Peace Village?
Sign-up above for updates on how to become a member of Peace Village Co-op. We currently anticipate breaking ground in Fall of 2022, with move-in estimated at the end of 2023 / early 2024. We will reach out once we are ready to schedule information sessions for people interested in becoming an initial member of the co-op. Qualified applicants will be required to have incomes under 60% area median income.