BEND, Ore. - To help identify barriers to housing in Central Oregon, the cities of Bend and Redmond have jointly launched an online survey to assess the status of fair housing in each community, officials announced Wednesday.
The public is encouraged to share experiences with housing choice, affordability, transportation and other important aspects of finding a place to live in Central Oregon.
“We want to identify all the barriers our residents face,” said Bend Affordable Housing Coordinator Lynne McConnell.
Barriers to fair housing are any actions, omissions or decisions taken because of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status or national origin that restrict housing choices or the availability of housing choice.
Fair housing laws, intended to help protect the most vulnerable populations in a community, apply to rental and home sale transactions, as well as ongoing tenancy.
The poll asks what area participants live in, their current living situation, to rank neighborhood priorities and whether they would live in the same neighborhood "if availability and cost were not an obstacle." They also are asked if they believe they have faced housing discrimination -- and if so, what they did about it.
There are also a series of questions about what people see as "barriers to fair housing choice," from lack of job opportunities to "not enough quality affordable housing" and lack of public transportation. Other questions focus on transportation options and whether "you ever have trouble keeping your car going" due to needed repairs or gas costs.
Officials said the survey results will help Bend and Redmond prepare an “Assessment of Fair Housing” report for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the agency that funds and regulates much of the housing activity across the country.
Fair housing goals identified through this process will be implemented over the next six years through each city’s Consolidated Plan, which governs their federal dollar funding decisions.
“This process allows each city the opportunity to establish our own localized priorities,” McConnell said. “Survey results will influence important funding goals.”
Participants have until Feb. 28, 2018 to take the online survey, found at: www.FairHousingSurvey2018.com. Deschutes County residents outside of Bend and Redmond are also invited to take the survey.
The cities of Bend and Redmond both will host public meetings before submitting the Assessment of Fair Housing. For more information, visit www.bendoregon.gov/fairhousing or www.ci.redmond.or.us/fairhousing.