New Regional Housing Consortium Releases Findings
The Housing for All (H4A) regional housing consortium released the findings of a regional survey regarding housing needs in Central Oregon. The survey informs a Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) being organized by H4A, with support from the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council and was completed by 772 respondents from across the region.
The results reflect the perceptions of community members and professionals across a variety of housing-related industry sectors in the region.
The full survey report can be accessed here: https://coic2.org/needs-assessment/
Some key findings include:
Broad understanding that the housing crisis is a serious issue: 84% of respondents stated that housing affordability is a “serious problem” in Central Oregon, with fully 95% of respondents indicating that housing affordability is a “serious problem” or “somewhat of a problem” (Q5 p. 7)
The housing crisis is not perceived to be just an issue for very low-income households: 46% of respondents indicated that rental housing for “extremely” low-income households (under $25K/year) is a top three unmet housing need, yet more respondents – 62% – indicated that rental housing for low-income households ($25-45K/year) is a top three unmet need. Interestingly, 38% and 44% of respondents indicated that rental and homeownership housing for middle income households is a top three unmet need (Q7 pp. 10-11). Further, more respondents indicated that homeownership housing in the $150,000-$249,000 price range was a higher priority than housing that is less than $150,000 (Q10 p. 16).
Central Oregon needs a variety of low-to-medium cost affordable housing types: While 75% of respondents stated that the region needs more small single-family homes, 74% also indicated that “affordable/workforce apartments” are needed, and 52% indicated that “duplexes, triplexes, or four-plexes” are needed (Q9 pp. 14-15).
Employees and companies suffer from the housing crisis, and employers are willing to take action: 64% of the 92 employers indicated that their employees have problems finding housing (Q26 p. 38), and 73% of employers indicated that the availability of housing is a “serious” problem or “somewhat” of a problem for recruiting employees (Q29; p. 41). Further, 74% of employers indicated that they would advocate for support of local workforce housing initiatives, with 19% going so far as stating that they would explore the feasibility of employer-provided housing (Q31 p. 43).
Developers and builders favor “project incentives” and tax incentives: 57% of respondents that identified as developers/builders/real estate professionals favored the use of “project incentives” (e.g. density bonus, additional height, etc.) and 45% favored the use of tax incentives to help them provide additional affordable housing options (Q37; p. 51). By and large, local government staffers gave the same responses (Q44 p. 58).
Other groups also favor grants and dedicated, sustainable funding sources: Housing advocates, while also favoring project incentives (46%) and tax incentives (50%), were most likely to favor dedicated local funding sources (67%) (Q53 p. 68).
Public health and human service providers are concerned with ensuring that clients can stay in current housing: While 89% of public health/human service providers indicated that their clients’ biggest housing need was to obtain housing, fully 70% also indicated that their client’s biggest housing need relates to keeping current housing/avoiding eviction (Q41, p. 55).
The Regional Housing Survey was conducted as part of H4A’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) – the RHNA will provide information on the scale and impact of the housing crisis, housing development trends, housing needs by income group, an analysis of which types of housing are in most need across the region, and potential solutions that appear most promising to filling those gaps. There has not been a Regional Housing Needs Assessment for Central Oregon since 2006. The full Needs Assessment will be available to the public in winter 2019.
“The availability of housing affects every part of our lives here in Central Oregon”, says Lisa Dobey, executive director of community and philanthropy for St. Charles Health System and co-chair of H4A. “If our region is to be great, it has to work for people of all ages and from all walks of life. Whatever your economic circumstances, your age, your abilities, or your desired community – housing is a fundamental component of the well-being of Central Oregon.”
Housing for All is a regional housing consortium with the mission “To address the full spectrum of Central Oregon’s housing needs – from homelessness to middle income market housing – through integrated regional effort and action.” H4A is steered by 19 member organizations representing 13 different sectors related to housing. H4A’s Charter outlines the mission, membership/structure, and a brief work plan: https://coic2.org/community-development/housing-for-all/
The Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council serves the local governments of Central Oregon, providing regional collaboration, efficiencies and service delivery for a stronger local economy and quality of life. COIC was designated a Council of Governments in 1972 under ORS 190 and provides service to the counties of Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson as well as the cities of Bend, Culver, La Pine, Madras, Metolius, Prineville, Redmond, and Sisters. COIC provides regional planning, workforce development, alternative education, community and economic development and public transportation services.