Portland mayor’s office says average affordable subsidized housing wait time for many is five years

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 9:29 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - New data shows it’s getting harder and harder for people in Portland to find affordable subsidized housing. According to Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office, the average wait time for many is five years.

FOX 12 spoke with local residents and organizations who said many people don’t have the luxury of time to wait it out for years to find a place to live. But said sadly, many also don’t have another choice.

“It’s sad, that’s what it is, and you know, it’s frustrating,” Marie, a local resident, said.

Marie said helping her nephew find affordable housing took years.

“In 2018, I assisted my nephew in applying for Home Forward affordable housing,” Marie said.

She said the list closed, then closed indefinitely once the pandemic hit. Fast forward more than four years later to today, they finally received some good news.

“My nephew just received a letter saying his name had been pulled for a Home Forward apartment,” Marie said.

According to a new finding released by the mayor’s office, the overall average wait time for many affordable housing units is five years.

A spokesperson for Home Forward who said their organization was asked by the mayor’s office to provide data on different waitlists, said the data isn’t comprehensive of everyone who needs affordable housing, and that it’s an estimate.

Local advocates we spoke with said they would like to see more cross-organizational collaboration to really help be a part of the solution.

“I think using a team approach to housing,” Marcus C. Mundy, Executive Director of Coalition of Communities of Color, said. “Using all the possible people that care about housing is a better approach,”

Marie said unfortunately for people like her nephew, waiting was one of his only options.

“He’s a young adult, he needs to be in his own place. But because of his disability, he’s on a fixed income.”

According to the mayor’s office, five years is just the average they found, but the waiting list to get into subsidized affordable housing can take up to 10 years for some.