The affordable housing crisis is becoming a defining issue in political campaigns on both a national and local level. As a realtor, the affordable housing crisis is very apparent, so it's no wonder that affordable housing is an important issue for me in our upcoming election.
Currently, even the local employers paying people over $40,000 per year struggle to find employees who can afford to live in Bend. Meanwhile, builders say they can't afford to build the needed affordable housing in most demand.
People earning around $20 per hour should be able to afford a place to rent or buy. I recently heard a story of a teacher earning $50,000 per year being unable to qualify to rent a home for $1,600 per month because the landlord required earnings of three times the monthly rent—which would be $4,800. The teacher's monthly income was $4,167. There are many stories like this from local employers who are paying decent wages. It's become a problem filling educational, police, firefighter, health care and other necessary positions. The problem is much worse for the average Bend wage earner who earns significantly less than the above teacher's scenario.
The seriousness of the problem is apparent when local mayoral and gubernatorial debates cover the subject. Meanwhile, many other states are taking steps to alleviate the problem. Recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2018. Many cities are trying to resolve parts of this problem by providing tiny homes or affordable housing on public property for teachers and health and safety workers, easing zoning restrictions, implementing inclusionary zoning regulations and so on. I've been closely listening to the various candidates on what they propose to do about alleviating the problem locally.
The online version of this story includes links to recent mayoral and gubernatorial debates where the candidates answer questions about what they'd do to solve the affordable housing crisis. Listen for yourself and consider it when you vote.
City of Bend mayoral debate:
Brown vs Buehler scroll to 5:40-8:40 point on video: https://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2018/10/kate_brown_vs_knute_buehler_wa.html
Link to American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2018: