Ponderosa Heights apartments, located on the corner of Brooks Camp and McKinney Butte Roads, is built out and fully occupied, with 30 percent of the 48 units awarded to Sisters residents.

The City had a large stake in the apartments, having provided $300,000 toward the project.

According to Mayor Chuck Ryan, “The City is very pleased to see the final completion and full occupancy of the new Ponderosa Heights affordable housing apartment complex in Sisters, in cooperation with HousingWorks.”

Of 125 applicants who applied for one of the 48 units, 46 were from Bend, 15 from Redmond, 28 from Sisters, 12 from other Oregon cities, three from out-of-state, and 21 were previously unhoused.

The residents were determined by a lottery system of the 125 applications. Despite the fact that 36.8 percent of the applicants were from Bend and 22.4 percent from Sisters, Sisters residents ended up with the largest number at 29.2 percent of the units and Bend only one-quarter of the units.

“I was encouraged that a significant portion of the final residents were young, single-parent families along with the homeless (seven or 14.6 percent) who now have permanent homes,” Ryan added.

Mayor Ryan expressed surprise that only 28 of the 125 applicants were Sisters residents. He surmised one reason could be the requirement that the apartment residents cannot earn over 60 percent of the median family income (MFI) for Deschutes County, which amounts to a family income of less than $35,000 a year.

“I think this may indicate that the next affordable housing need for Sisters will be in the category of ‘workforce housing’ or those families or individuals who cannot afford most market-rate housing but cannot qualify for 60 percent MFI-type housing. In other words, the need for more apartment-type housing and/or subsidized housing such as Habitat for Humanity units,” Ryan concluded.

Ryan offered that perhaps some of the out-of-town residents (mostly Bend and Redmond) “that were awarded the balance of the units may, in fact, be current workers in Sisters who had to previously commute to Sisters and can now live and work here.”

Ryan is hopeful that some of the apartment residents can try to find permanent jobs in Sisters, “bringing more workforce availability to Sisters.”

“The City is very proud of this project and its favorable impact on the community,” said the mayor.