Merkley, Wyden Announce Millions of Dollars in Affordable Housing Support in Oregon

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced more than $2.7 million for new Section 811 Housing Choice Vouchers that will assist people with disabilities in accessing affordable housing and an array of supportive services.

“These vouchers allow public housing authorities to better serve Oregonians with disabilities,” Merkley said. “As communities in Oregon and across the nation face their biggest housing affordability crises in decades—with rents dramatically outpacing incomes—we must do everything we can to make sure families have the decent homes they deserve. While much more needs to be done, these grants will help some of our most vulnerable neighbors.”

“Oregonians with disabilities deserve every opportunity to live independently in housing throughout our state,” Wyden said. “These vouchers will help achieve that goal by investing federal resources now in Oregon communities working to battle soaring housing costs that hurt our most vulnerable residents.”

“The Housing Authority of Jackson County is thrilled to have the additional housing funds for our community,” said Jason Elzy, director of the Housing Authority of Jackson County. “This award will enable us to provide much needed housing for approximately 30 of our county’s most vulnerable residents on a long-term basis.”

“Mainstream voucher funding will allow Homes for Good to further the inclusive and equitable goals established by the Americans with Disabilities Act by ensuring persons with disabilities can leave institutions and be welcomed into neighborhoods within Lane County,” said Jacob Fox, executive director of Homes for Good, Lane County’s public housing agency. “Because of Senator Merkley’s steadfast support for affordable housing we are creating more opportunities for Oregonian’s with low-incomes and other challenges to have a place to call home.”

“Because the rental market is so tight in our region, this incredible award will complement existing services and support our most vulnerable residents in need of housing,” said Rich Swift, Director of Health, Housing, & Human Services of Clackamas County. “Clackamas County can use these funds to assist up to 40 non-elderly people with disabilities, with a priority to serve residents who have been hospitalized.”

“This federal investment will move our region forward in creating a better culture of health by housing some of our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Joel Madsen, Executive Director, Mid-Columbia Housing Authority and Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation. “We recognize that being part of the community and living as independently as possible are among the most important values and goals shared by people with disabilities. We look forward to leveraging our work with the tireless work of our community partners to assist persons with disabilities in finding a stable, affordable home that will allow their values and goals to flourish.”

Section 811 Housing Choice Vouchers, known as Mainstream Vouchers, enable people with disabilities to access both affordable housing and supportive services—provided though partnership agreements between public housing authorities and local agencies—in an effort to enable individuals to live independently in the community.

Nationally, 285 public housing authorities received 11,931 Housing Choice Vouchers, totally more than $98.5 million this year. The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2018 made an additional $385 million available for new Housing Choice Vouchers. Merkley is the only Oregon member of Congress from either chamber since Senator Mark Hatfield to serve on the Appropriations Committee, considered to be one of the most powerful on Capitol Hill. He joined the committee in 2013 so that Oregon would have a strong voice in decisions about the investments our nation should be making.

The more than $2.7 million to Oregon communities includes:

  • Housing Authority of Clackamas County, $329,449
  • Housing Authority of Portland, $859,079
  • Housing Authority & Community Services of Lane County, $190,278
  • Housing Authority of Jackson County, $189,173
  • Housing Authority of Yamhill County, $325,772
  • Housing Authority of Washington County, $425,580
  • Mid-Columbia Housing Authority, $170,188
  • Central Oregon Regional Housing Authority, $273,812