Yes on Affordable Homes

Welcome Home Coalition
Tue, 09/27/2016 - 2:10pm

Providing for the most vulnerable among us

Portland is experiencing an unprecedented housing crisis. For every five families that qualify for affordable housing assistance, there are only two units available—and that’s a generous estimate. Even with improvements to land use regulations—and no matter the range of housing options we could provide for buyers at a range of market rates—there will always be a need for the broader community to provide housing for those most vulnerable among us: Individuals and families making 60% or less of Median Family Income (currently $43,980 for a family of four). This is precisely why 1000 Friends is a proud member of the Welcome Home Coalition and endorser of their first ballot measure campaign in Portland: Yes For Affordable Homes.

This November, Portlanders will have their first opportunity to vote for affordable housing. If passed, beginning in 2017, Bond Measure 26-179 will raise $258.4 million to fund the acquisition and provision of 1,300 high-quality, permanently-affordable homes, which will house about 2,900 Portlanders.

For $6.25 a month for the average Portland homeowner, we can ensure that kids stay in the same school all year, low-income workers can find a stable home and grow in their jobs, and that seniors can age in place with their community. Counter-intuitively, perhaps, homeowner’s rising costs in Portland pale in comparison to the costs that renters in are currently absorbing in rent increases. In 2015, Portland renters saw an average increase of $128 in monthly rent.

The benefits of safe, stable, affordable housing are felt not only by the families that live in those homes, but by the community at large. Our community will have neighbors who can more fully participate in social and civic life, can bring stability to their families, and can have a place that they can truly call home.

Welcome Home, a Coalition of more than 140 regional organizations (including 1000 Friends), neighborhood associations and small businesses, has been working together towards this campaign for the past two years. We were gratified to see that the Portland City Council unanimously referred the measure to the November ballot. The Welcome Home Coalition will go on to build support and strategy towards region-wide policies and funding tools to ensure stable housing for everyone.

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Photo courtesy of Welcome Home Coalition.