Lack of housing supply

Oregon has one of the largest housing supply gaps in the nation. There’s a projected shortage of more than 440,000 units needed in the next 20 years. Bottom line, there is not enough housing for all the people who need it.

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Home ownership is out of reach for the majority of Central Oregonians. Rents are very high for our area and out of reach for those with limited or fixed incomes. The average wage required to afford a 2 bedroom in the state of Oregon is $29+ an hour. Or 84 hour work weeks at minimum wage of $14.20/hour.

This affordability gap is an almost insurmountable barrier for those experiencing homelessness as many factors deteriorate their earning capacity and housing readiness.

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Earnings from employment and benefits have not kept pace with the cost of housing, food, and transportation for people with limited incomes. According to an article by Statista Research Department, which compares wage growth to inflation, “The monthly inflation rate for the US reached a 40 year high in June 2022 at 9.1 percent, and annual inflation for 2022 reached eight percent. Without appropriate wage increases, Americans will continue to see a decline in their purchasing power.”

Source: U.S. inflation rate versus wage growth 2020-2023, published by Statista Research Department, Nov 16, 2023

Other factors

Many other factors contribute to the increase in homelessness in Central Oregon. These include inflation, decades of disinvestment in affordable housing types (e.g. apartments, condos, ADU’s, tiny homes), inadequate wages, poor health and disability, the COVID Pandemic, lack of family and social support, domestic violence and the lack of easily available behavioral health and other healthcare services.