Today the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released its annual “Out of Reach” report. This report calculates the hourly wage renters need to earn in order to be able to afford an apartment in each county across the US.
Here in Oregon, we know that to succeed in life, everyone needs a safe and affordable place to call home. We also know that for too many Oregonians, home is out of reach due to the high cost of housing. The amount a renter would need to earn in Oregon to afford a two bedroom apartment is $15.52 this year, while the average renter earns only $12.59 per hour. Minimum wage workers need to work over 10 hours a day, seven days a week to be able to afford the average two bedroom apartment here in Oregon. We also know that housing prices have continued to rise while wages have stayed stagnant.
The good news is that there are effective strategies to help families make ends meet. One strategy is to provide families and individuals with small amounts of rental assistance. One or two months of rental assistance can help a family survive a lay-off, pay a car bill so they can continue going to work, or pay medical bills. Across the state, we use emergency rent assistance to prevent or end homelessness for many Oregonians.
Housing gives people all across Oregon the opportunity to build a better life for themselves and their family. We know what works to help prevent or end homelessness for people – we just need to do more of the things that work – providing emergency rent assistance, preserving existing housing, and ensuring there is a range of options for people in their communities. Together, we can end homelessness and help put housing into reach for all Oregonians.