Rents continue to rise: NLIHC releases Out of Reach Report

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2011

For More Information:
Janet Byrd                                                        Alison McIntosh
(503) 516-4698                                                (503) 816-2882

RENTS CONTINUE TO RISE DESPITE HIGH UNEMPLOYMENT, FORECLOSURES, AND PROLONGED RECESSION

Oregon’s high cost of housing highlighted in 2011 report

Higher prices in the rental market continue to force Oregon families to choose between paying rent, putting food on the table, and paying utility bills.  A national study reports that the cost of renting an apartment in Oregon has increased again, an alarming trend for a state with unemployment at 10%.

“The on-going recession, high unemployment and continued wave of foreclosures in Oregon continues to make it more difficult for hard working Oregonians to find a safe, decent and affordable place to call home,” said Janet Byrd, Chair of the Housing Alliance, “In Oregon, we believe everyone needs a place to call home. As we work together to solve the current budget crisis, the Legislature needs to prioritize providing basic needs to those most impacted by the ongoing recession.”

According to the report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the average rent and the income required to afford those rents continue to rise despite high unemployment and foreclosures. As rents continue to increase, more and more Oregon families find themselves homeless for the first time.

“Every year it is becoming more difficult for hard working Oregonians to find decent homes they can afford,” said Rocky Johnson, Executive Director of Community Action Team in Columbia County. “This year, someone making minimum wage in Columbia County would have to work nearly twelve hours a day, seven days a week just to be able to afford a place to call home.”

“Hardworking people should be able to afford housing and still have enough money for groceries and other basic necessities,” said Cyndy Cook, Executive Director of Housing Works in Redmond, Oregon.  “Unfortunately, high rates of foreclosure are contributing to low vacancy rates putting upward pressure on the rental market and creating challenges for low income Oregonians to find affordable rental housing.  In the Bend area, we’ve seen increases in rent as high as 18% over the last 12 months—making it difficult for families to find safe, stable places to call home.”

The report, Out of Reach 2010, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a Washington, DC-based housing advocacy group, and Oregon’s Housing Alliance. The report provides data for every state, metropolitan area and county in the country. The report also defines a “Housing Wage”, which for Oregon is $15.81, or nearly double Oregon’s minimum wage. The Housing Wage is the hourly wage a family must earn—working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year—to be able to afford rent and utilities in the private housing market. The average fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Oregon is $822—a number that has increased 35% since 2000.

This year, Oregon is the twenty-ninth most expensive state in the nation for renters. The National Housing Wage is $18.46 in 2011.

For additional information, visit http://www.nlihc.org/oor/oor2011/.

Click here to download a PDF of this media advisory.

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The 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. To find out more about the Housing Alliance, go to: http://www.oregonhousingalliance.org/