Last year, the Oregon Legislature passed a new law requiring cities with at least 10,000 residents and at least 25 percent of its residents experiencing severe rent burden to conduct a meeting to discuss causes and potential solutions to ease the problem.
Rent burden is defined by looking at the percentage of one’s income spent on rental costs. If you pay more than 30 percent of your household’s income on rent, you are considered “rent burdened.” “Severe rent burden” means your rent costs more than 50 percent of your household income.
The state also implemented new requirements to track and report on communities experiencing high percentages of rent burdened households, and the first report just came out.
The results were pretty good for Canby, finding that 291 of our our approximately 2,000 renter households are severely rent-burdened. That comes out to 14.1 percent, which is more than 10 points lower than the 25 percent threshold set out in the new law that would trigger a communitywide response.
In fact, Canby’s percentage of families who are severely rent-burdened was lower than any other city included in the study. More than 24 percent of the renter households in Oregon City are severely rent-burdened, and in Woodburn it’s over 26 percent. Even in Wilsonville, the number was over 17 percent, several points higher than in Canby.
Still, that’s about one out of every seven households in Canby that has to spend more than half of their income just to put a roof over their heads. That leaves less leftover for food, transportation, child care, medical care and other necessities. It’s something the state, county and cities will have to look at, as efforts continue to make quality affordable housing available to every family in Oregon.
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