When we had conversations with human dignity leaders around the state to create a Roadmap to a Thriving Rural Oregon in 2020, safe and affordable housing was a top priority. Now, three years later, more evictions are happening than even before the pandemic, and rental prices are skyrocketing! Many human dignity groups are working on creative local solutions, including talking to elected officials at all levels of government, distributing emergency supplies to folks without homes, advocating for an end to “sweeping” (aka displacing) houseless campers, and volunteering at newly opened warming shelters. We wanted to share two pieces of news from last month about efforts at the state and national levels to address the housing crisis.
Firstly, our friends at Portland State University recently published a project called Evicted in Oregon. The project shares data on evictions statewide as well as by county, as shown by the map below. OPB recently interviewed these researchers about how publicly sharing eviction data can support better housing policies. Check out your county’s data and more info about evictions across the state here.
And secondly, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley introduced a bill to stop Wall Street from owning residential housing. The proposed federal legislation would charge hedge funds and private equity firms who own more than 100 rental units a sharp tax penalty and use the funding raised from the bill to support homebuyers with affording down payments!
“Everyone should have a safe, affordable place to call home,” said Senator Merkley. “In every corner of the country, giant financial corporations are buying up housing and driving up both rents and home prices. They’re pouring fuel on the fire of the affordable housing crisis that so many of our communities are facing, leaving working families behind. The housing in our neighborhoods should be homes for people, not profit centers for Wall Street. It’s time for Congress to put in place commonsense guardrails that ensure all families have a fair chance to buy or rent a home in their community at a price they can afford.” You can read the full article below or on KTVZ News here.
What are you and other human dignity leaders in your community working on to support everyone’s access to safe, affordable housing? What are the biggest challenges you’re facing? What’s giving you hope or inspiration? We’d love to hear what you’re thinking about and strategize with you about your local organizing! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org!