New Oregon law seeks to ease rent burden

Klamath Falls, Ore. – If you spend more than half of your income on housing, you’re considered ‘severely rent burdened’ in Oregon.

Oregon House Bill 4006 is a new state law aimed at addressing housing affordability.

“As a local community, we are considered ‘rent burdened’,” explained Klamath Falls Planning Manager Joe Wall. “Greater than 25% of our population pays more than half of their monthly income on rent.”

According to U.S. Census data, about 1 out of every 3 households in Klamath Falls qualifies as ‘severely rent burdened’.

The House Bill also requires all affected Oregon towns with more than 10 thousand people to hold at least one annual meeting on housing.

“We’re required to have a public meeting prior to year’s end,” Wall said. “What we vision it as, is more of a public open forum to discuss housing affordability issues, and any possible solutions.”

Wall says it’s still unclear just what those solutions may be.  “We’re going to have to work with partners, whether it’s the housing authority, whether it’s home builders, renters associations, and more – and just figure out how to produce more, let’s say, workforce housing units.”

The city is still working to set up the required open house.

“The meeting has not been scheduled, but it will be sometime mid-December, and in the evening,” added Wall.

House Bill 4006 also set aside about two million dollars to provide technical assistance to communities to study ways of increasing affordable housing.

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