Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Serving the less well off

Sounds logical, but it's not ethical

"Workforce Housing" is a type of publicly subsidized, low-income housing.  Your tax dollars go into building workforce housing, along with the taxes of the working poor who live in market-rate housing, and still find a way to scrape by.  Or not.  Sometimes he working poor don't qualify for workforce housing because they don't make enough money.  

"Workforce Housing" is defined as income-restricted housing for those making 80% of Median Area Income or less. Workforce housing was started to assist workers in very wealthy areas where an average salary for needed workers like police or teachers would not cover the local rent.  The concept has expanded across the country so that now "low income" includes those who can make their monthly rent obligations, though perhaps not in their preferred neighborhoods.

If public housing is a good idea, how far up the income ladder should the more advantaged pay for the housing needs of the less advantaged, and how should it be done?
  • For every subsidized unit that is occupied by any but the most needy, there is someone worse off that isn't being served.
  • Newly-built housing in prime locations that is out of reach for those with more resources is backwards. Those who work and struggle to get by are paying taxes so those with better incomes can live in better housing.  
  • New, government-subsidized housing costs more to build than private housing.  Section 8 vouchers are less expensive per housing unit, can serve more families, are preferred by the majority of low-income renters, and stay on the tax rolls employing people with private funds.
  • Subsidized housing is not a program to shelter the needy.  It is a program to_________ ____________________________________. (fill in the blank)

Photos: Passive House going up in Hillsboro 

Walsh Construction is building a highly efficient, transit-oriented workforce housing project in the Orenco Station neighborhood of Hillsboro for owner/developer REACH CDC. The 57-unit project, designed by Ankrom Moisan Architects, is the first phase of the Orchards at Orenco development, which over the course of three phases will total approximately 150 units. 
The $14.5 million project is being built to Passive House standards with the goal of reducing tenants’ monthly energy bills. Green Hammer is serving as a consultant on the building, which will be the largest multifamily Passive House project in the country when completed. Work on the 12-month project is slated to wrap in June 2015.

The project contains 40 one-bedroom units and 17 two-bedroom units, and is located adjacent to the Orenco/Northwest 231st Avenue MAX station.

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