It is no secret that the cost of housing has grown dramatically over the last few years. The purchase price of homes has skyrocketed, going up nearly $100,000 on average over the last 2 years. This is pricing many in our community out of the home-buying market altogether, forcing them into the local apartment market. A new apartment complex here in Albany is asking for $1,195 for a one bedroom, one bath apartment. For the members of our community earning at or near minimum wage, rent makes up the bulk of their take-home pay, leaving very little for child care, adequate food, medical bills, transportation, and savings. Others in our community who have been working hard to build up enough savings to purchase a home have seen the costs spiral out of reach.
We need to work to make housing more affordable at all economic levels. Legislation from 2021 in Oregon helped ease zoning restrictions for new affordable housing to be built. This is a good step in the right direction, but we must continue making progress to increase the availability and reduce the cost of housing. We need to work with building organizations in the state to construct new apartment buildings, duplexes, multi-generational homes and new single family homes so that we can bring down the costs of rent and also make the American dream of home ownership just a little more achievable for the hard working members of our community.