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A research project from

The Ford Family Foundation

Voices from Oregon’s Statewide Crisis

Anyone who has bought a home or searched the rental market knows that the cost of housing far exceeds the budgets of many Oregon families. The first issue brief from the Oregon Voices survey highlights the housing issue in the words of the people who are living through it. The findings are clear: Oregonians of all backgrounds and in all parts of the state are adversely affected by the housing crisis.

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Key Finding 1: Cost

The top concern for respondents across all demographics is the lack of affordable housing. Renters especially identified affordability as a problem, in both urban and rural areas. It’s a problem with a big ripple effect, as survey participants noted its effects on issues such as shortages of people to fill jobs, particularly in health care and education.

“Housing is incredibly difficult to find for any price. I learned recently that I have a ‘good deal’ renting a ~700 square foot house for $1,100 without utilities. When I move out, my landlord plans to raise the rent to $1,800 per month.”

– Rural renter, white, Coos County

Key Finding 2: Housing Satisfaction

People expressing dissatisfaction with their housing situation include lower income households, renters, younger people and people of color. They talked about issues with cost, availability, housing condition and maintenance issues. Several homeowners said they were fortunate to have found an affordable home before costs increased, but recognized that anyone searching now faces a struggle.

“Housing cost is astronomical. A single person cannot afford a studio. Rent is upwards of $1,000. Most of us work service jobs and do not make the required three times the amount of rent. If I lose my current housing situation, there is not another one bedroom for rent for less than $1,200, which I can’t afford on a single person’s salary.”

– Rural renter, white, Clatsop County

Key Finding 3: Access and Availability

Homelessness in their community is an issue for more than 60% of the people responding to the survey. Rural Oregonians are noticing a growing trend of homelessness in their communities.

“Lack of affordable homes for low-income people, resulting in a huge influx of homeless people living on the streets.”

– Rural homeowner, BIPOC, Wasco County

document cover image Click image to download issue brief PDF.