National Report: Housing costs in Oregon continue to rise, putting families who rent at risk

With rents at an all-time high and vacancy rates near zero, families evicted from their homes face few housing options

Salem, Ore.— The cost of housing in Oregon continues to rise and is increasingly out of reach for low-wage Oregonians, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The report, titled Out of Reach, shows that the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Oregon jumped 27 percent over five years, from $807 in 2012 to $1,028 in 2017. It would take an hourly wage of at least $19.78 an hour to afford a modest apartment at that cost. The report comes as housing vacancy rates in communities across the state hover around 1 percent and more than 21,000 Oregon students experienced homelessness at some point in the past year.

“This report shows us why our Senators must pass HB 2004A” said Pam Phan, Policy and Organizing Director for the Oregon Community Alliance of Tenants. “It’s no secret that Oregon is facing a severe housing crisis and families are losing their homes. The Senate has a solution that can help keep families in their homes, right in front of them. Now is the time for them to act on HB 2004A, which will keep our communities whole and prevent displacement happening throughout the state. Legislators will own this vote for years to come. When face to face with Oregonians, they’ll need to explain to us why they sat back and allowed needless displacement of children, families, those with disabilities, and seniors, many of whom are disproportionately people of color, to continue.”

Oregonians like Patti Jay, a veteran of the Oregon Air National Guard and mother to three children need the protection of HB 2004A so they are not trying to find a new apartment in a difficult rental market.

“Our state’s no-cause eviction laws are a loophole that allows bad behavior to go unchecked,” said Jay.“Last spring, I received a 60-day notice to vacate my home. There was no cause listed. It was difficult to find alternate housing. It was the middle of my son’s freshman year at Milwaukie High School, and we wanted to stay within the school district. While we finally found an apartment, the monthly rent is $400 more than we were paying before. And the fear that this could happen again, at any time, with no warning or reason, remains with my family.”

The bill preserves landlords’ right to make business or personal use decisions about their rental property, allowing them to evict for business or personal use reasons, with 90 days’ notice and payment of one months’ rent. It also gives renters legal protection so they can request repairs or raise issues without fear of retaliation.

HB 2004A has passed the Oregon House of Representatives and the Senate Human Services Committee and is waiting for a vote of the full Senate.

The full Out of Reach report, including Housing Wages for all counties and major metro areas in the state, is available at nlihc.org/oor/oregon.


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