Governor Brown Heralds Five-Year Plan for Housing, Homelessness

The plan, drafted by Oregon Housing and Community Services, takes aim at lack of housing, high rent and home prices, and increasing levels of homelessness.

Posted: Feb 11, 2019 2:33 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2019 2:39 PM

SALEM, Ore. — In a statement released on Monday, Governor Kate Brown announced a new five-year statewide housing plan meant to address housing availability and affordability in the state, as well as the burgeoning issue of homelessness.

"It will take all of us working together to prevent people from slipping into homelessness, to get people quickly off the street, and to help all Oregonians access stable homes," said Governor Brown.

The report, dubbed Breaking New Ground, comes from Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS), reportedly informed by input from community partners and other state agencies. It outlines six priorities: equity and racial justice, homelessness, permanent supportive housing, affordable rental housing, home-ownership, and rural communities.

“We are embarking on a new era for OHCS. An era in which we will be conducting business differently," said Margaret Salazar, director of the agency. "You will see us be proactive, flexible and intentional, and we will step up to provide the leadership Oregon needs to deliver this work. We will not be able to do it without strong partnerships and the support of Oregon communities.”

According to OHCS, the report serves as a road-map for creating more stable housing in the state based on data gathered beginning in 2017.

CLICK HERE to read the full OHCS report on Oregon's statewide housing plan.

The data demonstrated that 27 percent of Oregon renters have a "severe housing cost burden," with renters spending more than half of their income on housing and utilities. Oregonians overall have a greater chance of living in poverty today (16.5 percent) than they did during the recession in 2009 (14.3 percent).

The burdens of poverty and housing struggles disproportionately affected people of color, OHCS found, with 26 percent living below the poverty line, compared to 15 percent of the White population.

According to the last Point-in-Time count of the homeless population, about 14,000 Oregonians experienced homelessness in 2017 — an increase of nearly 6 percent since 2015.

Each section of the report focuses on one of the six priorities and outlines strategies geared toward addressing the problem — strategies that will ultimately require greater funding to implement.

"This is an ambitious and historic statewide housing plan that will guide our state’s housing investments for years to come, and will set a trajectory that will endure even longer. It will take an equally ambitious and historic investment from the Legislature to ensure that every Oregonian, in communities large and small, has access to housing choices that allow them and their families to thrive," said Governor Brown.

For more context and funding information from the report, find the Appendices here. You can download or view the Executive Summary below.

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