Governor’s Budget highlights the need to invest in home for Oregonians

Today, Governor Kate Brown released her budget for the 2017-19 biennium. The budget included a substantial and needed investment in both new and existing affordable housing that will build or preserve 1,500 homes across the state. This is an important first step to begin to address the crisis we are facing in every corner of our state. The Oregon Housing Alliance thanks Governor Brown for her leadership in proposing new and critical investments in affordable housing. We recognize that the Governor had to make tough decisions, and know that many of the cuts proposed in her budget are ones she finds unavoidable and unacceptable. We also believe in a thriving Oregon, and know there is more we can do as a state together to achieve that vision.

In rural and urban counties across the state, far too many Oregonians are having to choose between paying rent and putting food on the table. We all need a safe, stable place to call home, and we need money left over after paying rent or a mortgage for the basics – food, utilities, and transportation. Today, unfortunately this is out of reach for too many of our neighbors. Tenants are living with extreme rent increases, sometimes several hundred dollar rent increases, and last year, 21,000 of our school children experienced homelessness at some point during the school year. Statewide, one in four Oregonians pays more than half of their income towards their housing costs.

As a state, we can do better to protect people from this housing crisis. We can do more to create a thriving Oregon where everyone has a safe place to call home. The Legislature should approve Governor Brown’s proposed investment in housing, and consider ways to continue investing in solutions to our housing crisis.

The Oregon Housing Alliance is a coalition of eighty organizations from all parts of the state. Our members have come together with the knowledge that housing opportunity is the base on which all of our success is built—individual success as students, parents, workers, and community members, as well as the success of our communities. We represent a diverse set of voices from residents to local jurisdictions to non-profit housing developers and organizations working to meet basic needs in every corner of our state.