The National Low Income Housing Coalition's "Out of Reach" Report for 2017 shows that the median rental household in most Oregon counties cannot comfortably afford a two-bedroom apartment. As expected, Deschutes County is one of those counties. The Source has reported on this multiple times in our ongoing Housing Crisis series.
According to the report, there are 66,337 households in Deschutes County, of which 23,418 or 35 percent are renter households. The estimated mean renter wage is $13.06 per hour and the rent affordable at this wage is $679 per month. Affordability is defined as housing costs of 30 percent or less of income, and this is what the HUD housing vouchers are based upon. The concern is that when more than 30 percent of income is spent on housing, there's not enough for basic necessities.
The report shows the Deschutes County fair market rent for a 1-bedroom apartment to be $857 per month and a 2-bedroom apartment to be $1,231 per month. This translates to wages of $14.10 per hour required to afford a 1 bedroom, $16.48 for a 2 bedroom, and $23.67 for a 3 bedroom. The hours of work required per week at mean renter wage are 43 hours for a 1 bedroom, 50 hours for a 2-bedroom, and 72 hours for a 3-bedroom. In other words, the annual income needed to afford fair market rent is $29,320 for a 1-bedroom, $34,280 for a 2-bedroom and $49,240 for a 3-bedroom.
Reviewing these statistics shows how serious our housing affordability situation really is. The NLIHC website also has links to tenant advocacy, rental programs and other resources that might be helpful for those struggling with housing costs.