Medford, Ore.– Local experts say Oregon is in an affordable housing crisis. The state’s current vacancy rate is at a mere 3.5%, about half of the national average.
“It took me a year to get into affordable housing,” says Meagan Hadley, a recovering addict who has experienced bouts of homelessness. Hadley is now on the right track and it all started with a place to live.
“The stabilization of my housing made it so my children could grow as well as myself.”
Not too long ago finding an affordable living situation in the Valley proved challenging for Hadley.
“There are so many barriers to get through,” she says.
It’s stories like hers that Senator Jeff Merkley says the state must learn from.
“We can see the homeless population growing all over the state,” Merkley explains. “Oregon is one of the most challenged states in the country.”
At a round table meeting with local housing officials in Medford this morning, the Senator discussed ideas to meet the needs of low income families and individuals who struggle to find a place to live. According to Oregon Housing and Community Services, the state is short some 100,000 affordable housing units.
“We need to address this problem, on behalf of raising our children,” Merkley says.
He proposes $150 million vouchers for states with the highest need for affordable housing including Oregon. Merkley says the money would go towards helping families or individuals in need afford their rent, hopefully making more stories like Hadley’s possible.
“When my children are older they wont have to be in the same boat I was in,” she says.