Public meetings set on statewide housing plan

New houses are on the market in Hermiston. The long-awaited Statewide Housing Plan is scheduled to be released by the end of this year or beginning of 2019.

Oregon Housing and Community Services is scheduled to hear from the public this month on a long-awaited comprehensive plan laying out housing availability and ways to address housing needs in the state.

The agency has scheduled two public informational meetings June 14 in Eugene and June 28 in Salem and an online webinar June 12 on the Statewide Housing Plan.

The state housing agency was called out in an audit by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office in December 2016 for failing to provide a statewide housing plan and statewide affordable housing inventory. Both are critical to adequately and strategically addressing the state’s affordable housing shortage.

The housing plan became an “overarching priority” when Margaret Salazar took over the agency in the midst of the audit.

The agency hired Portland-based Enviroissues and EcoNorthwest to help develop the plan, which his due in late 2018 or early 2019.

The plan will articulate the “extent of Oregon’s housing problem and what can be done to address it,” according to state informational materials.

State lawmakers often ask for proof of a clear need when asked to boost funding for affordable housing projects.

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis has repeatedly reported that construction is tens of thousands of housing units behind growth in the state’s population, which is caused largely by new residents moving into the state.

In Portland, tent cities under major bridges have become commonplace.

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