People ask me, “Why is it that I see all this building going on and yet everyone is talking about the Housing Crisis? Aren’t there enough new homes under construction?” Great question. And one that can be answered best by the following fact: the units going up are almost universally high-end apartments and homes that only the most well-paid workers in our City can afford.
This chart gives you a quick glimpse into what is wrong here. Rents are on the rise and wages, social security and disability payments are not. So full-time workers making minimum wage, seniors and folks on disability are being left in the cold…literally.
Bottom line, Capitalism is not very good at filling the basic needs of housing, food, and healthcare. If we are going to participate in a Capitalistic society, we need to admit that and find a way to socialize the distribution of these basic needs. Otherwise, we will continue to pass hungry and homeless and sick people in our streets and wonder, “What should our government be doing to fix this?”
This Fall, you will get an opportunity to help address this problem by voting to pass the Metro Housing Bond. By voting yes to this, and the accompanying Constitutional Amendment allowing public money to be combined with Private Money, you will be committing to providing housing for up to 12,000 folks in the Metropolitan Area (Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington Counties). This bond measure and the Portland Housing Bond that just passed are desperately needed to backfill 40 years of disinvestment in affordable housing in this country. And since the Federal Government has stepped back from a commitment to house our most vulnerable, the State and Municipal Governments must step up. That is us.
For more info on the state of housing and the research behind what it will take to get folks off the streets, check out the Welcome Home website>>