By Midge Pierce

SE Portlanders know intuitively what US Sen. Ron Wyden confirmed last month: Oregon is among the top five states for unsheltered homeless. The troubling stat accompanied his pledge to make housing a priority for his year-end budget package. 

He says there is bi-partisan support for the Affordable Housing Credits Improvement Act that would provide assistance to those who could otherwise fall through cracks.   

Wyden said Oregon’s needy includes 22,000 students, many veterans and over 150,000 Oregonians who spend more than half their take home pay for rent, making it impossible to achieve dreams of homeownership. 

He said, “Low income credits are the best thing you can do to meet housing needs. Even developers see it as workable.” 

At the press conference held at the veteran’s home on the South Waterfront, Margaret Salazar, Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services, delivered her own promising prediction that 25,000 affordable units could come available in the next few years through state and federal resources. State resources can only go so far, she added, and federal help will be needed.   

On the House side, US Rep Earl Blumenauer reflects housing concerns in his white paper  Locked Out about reversing historically unfair federal housing policies and quadrupling the Housing Capitol Fund to $18 billion a year.