While housing is a basic human need, the expense of housing has a bigger impact on Americans than any other expenses that we come across in our daily lives. In the last century, buying a home has become increasingly expensive in some areas with the rising number of people. Affordable housing has disappeared in most cities and has led to the increase in the homeless population. “Declining affordability has not only crowded out low-and middle-income buyers, but also enhanced pressures on social and private rental sectors” (Richard, Housing Costs). Shocking house prices has especially made it hard for young people to make their way in the world. Affordable housing can be difficult to define and is open to differing interpretations, but it has come to the attention of many people through political debates and personal experiences.
Central Oregon is known for the endless outdoor activities, great food, mountains, and small town feel. There’s nothing not to love about this place! But with this in mind, there are people coming in from numerous areas to enjoy the lifestyle we do, which in hindsight creates the demand for housing which isn’t always cheap. Then there’s people like myself who is old enough to move out, but the cost of housing in Central Oregon is outrageous for a working student that it makes it hard to start a life for myself without moving out of the area. The issue with cost of living in Central Oregon is significant because it affects people beyond the young adults who are wanting to move out… there are people having to move out of their houses because the cost of living is getting too expensive for them. We find ourselves in this situation because the government isn’t willing to compromise for affordable living. With the right resources, time and commitment from people in the surrounding area, housing should be available for allー not just to those who can afford it. Not being able to afford a place to live has caused great damage in our society.
The graph above is showing the median list prices of homes in Oregon as a whole verses Bend Oregon, verses Sisters Oregon. Both Bend and Sisters are two of several cities in Central Oregon that are growing rapidly, causing the rising of house prices. Oregon as a whole state has an average house price of $375,000 whereas Bend is at $509,000 and Sisters at $499,0000. The cost of living is significantly higher in these two areas which makes it hard for people find a stable place to live. Affordable housing is necessary to keep the economy alive and well in these areas.
Creating something like a National Policy for Affordable Housing for Central Oregon would hopefully create the epitome of the American dream, offering quiet, stable living conditions. It would allow all Americans (but more specifically those who live in Central Oregon) to have access to a home that doesn’t lead them down the path of debt, would decrease the number of homeless people in our area, provide support to our overall public health, and boost the economy in the surrounding cities. With this national policy, when a house is built by a company, it is out on the rental market for a certain reasonable amount of money per month, or people would have the option to buy the house for a reasonable fixed amount of money. If the company was to do well with this solution, there would be more of a demand for the houses and people would just start buying the property without being initially rented. Without the rent, the costs of the house would go up but not so much that the low-and middle-income people wouldn’t be able to afford it. Just north of the United States, Canada has not only made housing costs a campaign issue, but has backed it up with a significant national strategy to address affordability (which is completely opposite to the cuts proposed by the Trump administration in the United States).
In the middle 1940’s when the soldiers came home from World War II, they found that the cost of housing was not affordable. The president at the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, created a VA (Veterans Affair) loan that “allowed many low- and middle-income borrowers the opportunity to purchase a home immediately… This approach made it possible for the company Levitt Sons to build as many as 150 houses per week” (Levittown Promises). With the VA loan, the company was able to gather all supplies needed to build stable homes, and build them to create a community. “It was the largest housing development that had been built in the United States to that time. Each house had two bedrooms, a laundry room, and an extension attic that could serve as a third bedroom or an office. The houses also featured up-to-date kitchen equipment and television sets” (Levittown Promises). When a house was completely built, it was immediately put on the rental market for $65 a month. Then the tenants had the option to buy the house for just under $7,000 if they were able to. The Levitt Sons company did so well with this that they earned a profit of $5 million, which the company used to buy land for its second Levittown. Nevertheless, Levitt Sons transformed the American lifestyle with their own developments, and the dream of affordable housing continues to tease the U.S. population to this day.
As briefly mentioned in the previous paragraph, Franklin D. Roosevelt created a loan which made it possible for low income people to afford housing. Though these solutions have their benefits, it’s not always easy to put these plans in action. Individuals that are invested in the status quo and are able to afford the prices of these houses might argue against creating public policies with the goals of a National Policy for Affordable Housing.