A pdf of the above image is available at https://friendsoftheunsheltered.org/wp-content/uploads/Rents-Homelessness.pdf.
During the February 27, 2023 Seaside City Council meeting Rick Bowers shared this information during the 3-minute public comment period. Here is the link (opens in a new window): https://www.youtube.com/live/_SBKKbMAnYg?feature=share&t=4514.
I, Rick Bowers, have spent the last 4- or 5-years reading consulting reports, academic studies, and books related to homelessness. I want to share a few things I’ve learned about rents & homelessness.
The chart in the center of the handout compares states — showing median rent in each state and their corresponding rate of homelessness. As you can see, states with higher rents tend to have higher rates of homelessness. Clatsop County’s rate of homelessness is 7 or 8 inches above the top of the page.
The ECONorthwest report discussing this chart says “High rents are to blame for the severity of the state’s homelessness crisis. Economists John Quigley and Steven Raphael were among the first to demonstrate that housing affordability—rather than personal circumstances—is the key to predicting the relative severity of homeless across the United States. They estimated that a 10% increase in rent leads to a 13.6% increase in the rate of homelessness. Consistent with Quigley and Raphael’s findings, our analysis indicates that median rents across U.S. states explains 43 percent of the variance in rates of homelessness.”
Elsewhere this same report says “over the 2010-2016 time period, Oregon created only 63 new housing units for every 100 households that formed during the time period.” From what I can tell we’re not doing any better in subsequent years.
Two economists writing in Economic Policy Review say “If policy advocates are interested in reducing housing costs, they would do well to start with zoning reform.”
The handout has related quotations from other sources I don’t have time to share.
Thank you for your time.
- The graph compares rent with rates of homelessness across the United States. The rate of homelessness in Clatsop County is easy to miss in the graph… follow the red arrow to the top of the page!
- The major points being made include:
- Researchers have shown a 10% increase in rent is associated with a 13.6% increase in the rate of homeless.
- Government assistance is available for only about 1/4 of those in need.
- Oregon is going backwards in solving the problem of the lack of housing.
- Government regulation significantly increases the cost of housing.