housing

Public Domain

Congress is moving quickly toward votes on changing the country's tax system... some reorganizing and some cutting of rates, especially corporate taxes. 

There are goals in this and any tax plan that go beyond just money... like stimulating certain KINDS of economic activity. 

One kind of activity that could help many communities would be more building of housing for people who don't make much money; the lack of such housing is a factor in homelessness. 

The National Low-Income Housing Coalition has a few ideas on what might help, and the Coos Bay-North Bend Housing Authority is one of many agencies working to get people into cheaper housing. 

Demi, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72127

It's not quite the same thing as the "tiny house" movement, but Ashland is one city stepping into the cottage housing realm. 

As the name implies, the cottages are smaller houses clustered together, designed for more walkable urban environments. 

The high cost of land and housing in the city led to the program, at least in part. 

Library of Congress

It's one of the less pleasant words in our language: eviction. 

Its meaning is worse than the sound: getting removed from the place where you live. 

And Matthew Desmond analyzed how eviction is used and abused in one American city, Milwaukee, in his book Evicted.  The book won a Pulitzer Prize last week. 

Tiia Monto, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32343945

Housing is tight in much of Oregon, and the state legislature is aware of the problem. 

While the current session considers measures like rent control, some state agencies are making moves authorized by previous sessions. 

Case in point: a pilot project to allow two Oregon cities to speed up the process of building affordable housing by fast-tracking expansions of urban growth boundaries. 

The project is administered by the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). 

missingmiddlehousing.com

The housing shortage is real in several communities around the region. 

Vacancy rates are low, so rents are high, and it can take a long time for people to find suitable housing.  Community leaders are aware of the issue and working to address it. 

One approach: build up the middle of the housing market, the multiple-family homes that are not full-blown apartment complexes.  Urbanist Daniel Parolek calls this the "missing middle." 

We talk housing needs and the economy on a wider scale with Dan Parolek, Guy Tauer of the Oregon Employment Department and Connie Saldaña, an advocate for the homeless for Rogue Valley Council of Governments

In Search Of The Good Life: The Unsettlers

Jan 27, 2017
http://marksundeen.com/

Making life simpler can be complicated. Ditching your smartphone could mean turning your back on work, or turning a blind eye to current events.

But when does all this become less about informing us, and more about making us anxious? With this at heart some people are trying to extract themselves from the parts of the world they're least empowered to change. How and why does one go about "unsettling," and creating a simpler life? A journalist studied this very question.

Housing Problems On House Agenda

Jan 27, 2017
Photos Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

If finding a home to rent has you pulling your hair out, you aren't alone. Oregon has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates in the country.

For those that do find a place, rent costs are high and rising. We unpack housing issues with Speaker of THE House in Oregon, Tina Kotek. Kotek is a Democrat from Portland, where the problems with affordable housing are stark.

VENTSday: Gun Laws + Housing Density

Jun 21, 2016
guernicamag.org

The Senate voted on additional gun restrictions this week (June 20).  Four votes, four rejections. 

Now you get to think like a senator: would additional gun laws help stop mass shootings?  What would you restrict? 

Our alternate topic this week is infill: how you feel about more density in housing, like apartments, next to your single-family home. 

VENTSday removes the guests and puts listener comments front and center on The Exchange. Once a week, it's all about you... we plop a pair of topics on the table, post a survey on our Facebook page, and open the phone lines and email box for live comments.

The topics can range from presidential politics to how you spend your days off.

The Attraction Of Building Tiny Houses

Apr 25, 2016
Zoey/http://www.livetiny365.com/

Did McMansions cause a backlash, or what?  Just a few years after small families bought extra-large houses to fit people and stuff, the real estate market crashed. 

That's not the only reason tiny houses appear to be catching on; they've been out there for a while now. 

And there is something charming about the idea of a small and simple and even portable life. 

Andrew Duncan designs and builds tiny houses at Southern Oregon Tiny Homes and Andrew Morrison does the same at Tiny House Build

Public Domain

A country that has seen wages stagnate for a big chunk of the population has also seen real estate prices resume their rise. 

The result is predictable: more and more people getting priced out of rental housing. 

Several communities are using the term "crisis" to describe the situation, including in Jackson County. 

A Community Conversation series takes up the housing issue in its next session, Thursday night (Dec. 10) at 6 PM at the Medford library.

Home Or Just Visiting: "Microshelters"

Sep 30, 2015
Storey Publishing

It seemed like we went overnight from talking about "McMansions" to talking about tiny houses. 

That probably has a lot to do with the economy crashing.  But small places to hang out for a while or live full-time have their own unique appeal. 

Builder/designer Derek Diedricksen scours the planet looking for creative houses, cabins, tree houses, and more... and delivers the findings to us in his book Microshelters

Public Domain

Chapters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul are present all over the country, delivering on the society's goal of helping people in need. 

St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County defines that mission broadly, with many facets to its operation. 

One of the facets is building affordable housing, and the society just broke ground on new housing in Junction City, with additional units about to open up in Eugene (there's a waiting list). 

JeffX, WEDNESDAY, June 3 @ 8:30: It's an all-housing VENTSday on the Exchange this week; comment on one topic, or comment on both.

First up, the Oregon governor's request for $100 Million to build affordable housing awaits action by the Oregon Legislature.  Let's hear what you think about how and where (or if) government should be in the business of building affordable housing.

Next, the vacation rentals/Airbnb trend, in which people rent out their own homes online to vacationing tourists.  The hotel/motel biz generally hates it, so local governments seek to regulate it.  Give us your thoughts.

Oro Editions

The title of the book Democratic Architecture might lead you to think it's about building political systems or parties. 

There is a ~little~ of that in the book, but mostly it's about democratizing housing... making it more affordable to more people. 

Author Donald MacDonald is himself an architect (see: Bay Bridge, East Span), and he offers up a number of housing designs to address our many housing issues. 

Assessing Housing Needs In Oregon

Apr 14, 2015
Wikimedia

It is one of the simplest wishes for any human: a roof over our heads, a place to call home. 

Simple wish, not always simply fulfilled. 

April is Fair Housing Month across the country, and Oregon Housing and Community Services is taking input on housing needs around the state. 

This is part of a five-year look at housing issues. 

Real Estate Rebound In Rogue Valley

Jan 12, 2015
Wikimedia

Your local real estate agent is probably looking a little more relieved of late. 

The recession whacked the home sales market hard, and the whack lasted a while. 

But now home sales, particularly in the Rogue Valley, are picking up--as are prices--and realtors can draw a breath or two. 

Oregon's New Housing Law

Jul 9, 2014
bizmology.hoovers.com

Discrimination in rental housing is banned under law. 

But landlords in Oregon could refuse to rent to people who got rental assistance through the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program. 

That ended effective July 1, when the Housing Choice Act went into effect under Oregon law. 

Quixote Village: More Than Just A Place To Sleep

Mar 6, 2014
KUOW Photo/Elizabeth Jenkins

This past Christmas Eve, 30 homeless adults found a permanent residence in Olympia, Wash.

Before the move, the group lived in tents, hosted by different churches in the area. Many of the people had been sleeping in the woods and just wanted a safe place to stay.

Now, Camp Quixote is known as Quixote Village and comprises tiny houses for homeless adults. At 144 square feet, the homes are about the size of a one-car garage.

Ensuring Fair Practices In Housing

Nov 4, 2013
Public Domain

Years after laws against discrimination passed at every level of government, there are still episodes of people being denied housing because of skin color. 

The Fair Housing Council of Oregon investigates such cases and provides training to prevent discrimination from taking places. 

David Shankbone

If you're having trouble keeping up with options available to homeowners facing foreclosure, you're not alone.

A number of programs have come and gone, and Oregon (as of August 4th) is now offering face-to-face mediation sessions between homeowners and the entities seeking to foreclose.