Cities and regions across our tri-state market, including San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Fresno, Portland, and Seattle, are each experiencing an affordability crisis characterized by:
- Soaring Rent and Home Prices + Increased Cost of Living
In 2018, the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) ranked all metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) and found San Francisco to be the most expensive jurisdiction in the nation for housing, followed by the greater San Jose area at second, and Oakland at third. Yet, while median rent in Alameda County has increased 29% since 2000, median renter income has only increased 3%.¹‚² In King County (where our Seattle branch is located) and Multnomah County (where our Portland branches are located), renters need to make $36.12 and $25.58 per hour, respectively, to afford a 2-bedroom apartment at fair market rent – that is nearly four times their respective minimum wages.³
- Rapidly Dwindling Supply of Affordable Housing
NLIHC’s 2019 report further indicates that California exhibits a deficit of 1,306,034 affordable housing units, Oregon a deficit of 135,746 units, and Washington a deficit of 234,362 units. In each state, the deficit of affordable housing units compared to rising demand far surpasses national averages in housing deficits. In the SF Bay Area alone there is a shortfall of 200,000 affordable units for low-income families and according to East Bay Housing Organizations, Oakland will need to develop nearly 15,000 units from 2015-2023. Los Angeles, with a deficit of over 600,000 units, has the fourth highest need in the U.S. In Multnomah County, Oregon, where we have six branches, there is an estimated shortage of 23,845 housing units. In the areas we serve, affordable housing shortages and increasing rents have led to a dwindling supply of affordable housing. Dire situations where too many people are not just paying high portions of their incomes for rent, but are no longer able to afford rent at all are becoming the norm.
Those who are most vulnerable to the painful loss of affordability are low-income people and communities of color–especially Black and Brown people–who have historically been and continue to be disinvested and robbed of the resources needed to secure stable housing. In this way, housing affordability is both a racial and economic justice issue.