SALEM, Ore. - All Oregonians need a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home. The cost of a place to call home in Oregon continues to rise this year, according to the national release of the 2019 Out of Reach Report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Today in Oregon, families must earn $22.97/hour to afford an average two-bedroom apartment, and still have money left over for other basics like food and medicine.
"Today, far too many of our neighbors are facing tough choices between paying rent and putting food on the table," said Susannah Morgan, chief executive Officer of the Oregon Food Bank. "Every day, our pantries and food banks hear from seniors, parents, low-wage workers and others who must choose between paying for their housing and other basic necessities. We all need a safe, stable and affordable place to call home."
Across Oregon, the cost of housing continues to rise rapidly. In the Portland metro area, people earning minimum wage would need to work 84 hours a week just to be able to afford an average one-bedroom apartment and still have money left over for food, utilities, and transportation. In Jackson County, someone would need to earn $19/hour to afford an average two-bedroom apartment, and have money left over for the basics.
"Kids deserve a safe place to call home, where they can do their homework and focus on being kids," said Jenifer Wagley, executive director of Children First for Oregon. "Stable housing helps kids stay focused and learn in the classroom and helps them stay healthy. We are urging the Legislature to help more kids have safe homes by investing in affordable housing and in the future of Oregon as a whole."
As the legislative session comes to a close, decision makers have an opportunity to invest in housing opportunity for people with low incomes. The Local Innovation and Fast Track (LIFT) housing development program supports the development of affordable housing, with an emphasis on supporting rural communities, communities of color, and families.
The Housing Alliance is calling upon the Legislature to include $200 million in general obligation bonds in HB 5005 for the LIFT program so Oregon can substantially increase the number of affordable housing units created in our state.
"We're calling on the Legislature to help address this problem by making strong investments in affordable housing before they adjourn later this month," said Melissa Erlbaum of Clackamas Women's Services, a service provider focused on domestic violence survivors. "State and national studies consistently show that the lack of safe and affordable housing is one of the highest unmet needs for survivors of domestic violence. Too many women who are seeking safety from violence are forced either to remain with their abusers or experience homelessness because of the lack of affordable housing and shelter in our communities."
The Out of Reach Report measures the cost of housing in every county in the US, and compares what renters would have to earn to afford a basic apartment. The full Out of Reach report is available at http://nlihc.org/oor. Complete data for Oregon, including Housing Wages for all counties and major metro areas in the state, is available at https://reports.nlihc.org/oor/oregon.
The Oregon Housing Alliance brings together advocates, local governments, housing authorities, community development corporations, environmentalists, service providers, business interests and all others dedicated to increasing the resources available to meet our housing needs to support a common statewide legislative and policy agenda