March 14, 2024 – Embargo Lifted

Contact: Kevin Cronin, Director of Policy & Advocacy Housing Oregon

P: 971-347-8503 E: kevin@housingoregon.org

Cameron Herrington, Director of Policy & Advocacy, Oregon Housing Alliance

P: 503-489-8334 E: cherrington@neighborhoodpartnerships.org

GAP Report: Oregon Grapples with a Critical Shortage of Affordable Housing for Extremely Low-Income Renters

A new report finds that Oregon has only 26% of the affordable homes it needs for the state’s extremely low-income households. The 138,104 households earning at or below 30% of their area’s median income are vying for a mere 32,370 affordable rental homes. As a result, over 18,000 Oregonians are currently homeless.

The annual report, The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, was released by Housing Oregon and the Oregon Housing Alliance in collaboration with the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). It unveils a national deficit of 7.3 million affordable rental homes for extremely low-income renter households – which includes a shortfall of over 100,000 homes here in Oregon.

Kevin Cronin, Housing Oregon’s Director of Policy & Advocacy, emphasizes the urgency of this situation: “The current gap in affordable housing underscores the urgent need for additional robust investments for affordable homes. Oregon has made some progress, reaching the 26% mark of affordable homes available for those who need it, up from last year’s dismal 22% availability.  We are spurred on by significant state investments in housing from Governor Kotek and the Legislature, and the vital work of Senator Ron Wyden, who is leading the effort to enhance the low-income housing tax credit to ramp up more affordable housing developments nationwide.”

The Oregon legislature’s 2024 session concluded last week, with significant investments made in emergency rent assistance, shelter operations, and new housing production. Yet while 18,000 Oregonians are currently homeless, thousands more remain at risk of losing their homes. “In addition to building new affordable homes, Oregon must invest in preserving the affordable housing we already have,” said Cameron Herrington, Director of Policy & Advocacy with the Oregon Housing Alliance.

The state’s Housing and Community Services department estimates that $1 billion is needed over the next decade simply to preserve existing affordable housing. Without bold investments, the numbers reflected in The Gap report will grow even more dire, as the already-insufficient supply of affordable homes stands at risk of shrinking.

The Gap delves into the acute shortage of affordable rental options for the nation’s most economically vulnerable groups. Despite a post-pandemic stabilization in rent prices, the availability of affordable housing remains critically low, particularly in Oregon, where 78% of extremely low-income renters allocate over half their income to housing costs. This financial strain leaves minimal resources for other essentials like food and healthcare.

The investigation also highlights an adequate nationwide supply of housing for middle-income earners, in stark contrast to the dire shortages facing extremely low-income renters. This imbalance underscores the disproportionate impact of housing shortages on the lowest income brackets, who are forced into higher-priced rentals, further straining the market.

Diane Yentel, NLIHC President and CEO, reflects on the broader implications: “Despite economic growth and stabilized rents, homelessness has soared to record levels, placing countless low-income households at risk. The solution lies in our collective political will to implement known strategies at the necessary scale. It’s time for Congress to act decisively, expanding rental assistance, building and preserving affordable housing, preventing evictions and homelessness, and strengthening protections for renters.”

To explore the findings and implications of The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, please visit https://nlihc.org/gap.

About Housing Oregon:

Housing Oregon is a dynamic, mission-driven association uniting over 90 diverse organizations to promote affordable housing and community development across Oregon. This coalition includes community development corporations (CDCs), financial institutions, and service providers, all dedicated to ensuring equitable housing solutions for all Oregonians.

About the Oregon Housing Alliance:

Through advocacy at the state legislature, the Housing Alliance seeks to ensure that every Oregonian has a safe, stable, affordable home. The Housing Alliance is a coalition of over 100 members, including City and County governments; Housing Authorities; affordable housing providers and developers; homeless service providers, shelter operators and community action agencies; culturally specific community-based organizations; for-profit developers, architects and real estate agents; tenant organizations; and grassroots advocacy groups.

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