Our community has been suffering from lack of affordable housing and workforce housing for too long. Although there is a lot of talk about this issue, opportunities to actually do something about it don't come very often.
This week we have a real opportunity for action on housing in Grants Pass. Together we can have a big impact if we show up to the council meeting, email the council, or speak at the hearing. Join us in taking action.
This Wednesday, July 18th, at 6pm the Grants Pass Council is holding a public hearing and a vote on a proposed 52 unit affordable housing development.
The Rogue Action Center is calling for community support of this project because it would provide exactly the kinds of housing Grants Pass needs more of: affordable multifamily rental housing.
Let's Make This Happen What: Grants Pass City Council Public Hearing (Full meeting agenda here) When: This Wednesday, July 18th at 6:00pm Where: Grants Pass City Council Chambers, on the corner of 5th and NW A Streets, Grants Pass Who: All of us Why: The size of the crowd and the number of people who speak for a minute or two in support of saying yes to 52 units of the affordable housing we need. We can't afford for this decision to be made without strong input from community members like you and me.
If you can't make it to the meeting: email the entire City Council and the Mayor at MayorCouncil@grantspassoregon.gov or call the Mayor's office at 541-450-6000.
Here's why we need more affordable multifamily rental housing:
Grants Pass and Josephine County more generally are in a severe housing crisis, and most housing that developers want to build is single family for sale housing that is priced out of reach for the folks who live and work here. A study by the Daily Courier found that fewer than 100 apartment units have been built in the county seat of Grants Pass over the past 10 years. During that same period, more than 1,000 homes have been built — and quickly sold to investors and retirees from outside the area.
Meanwhile more than half of the 1 in 3 Josephine County residents are cost burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income on housing costs, leaving little left over for food, utilities, healthcare, and other basic necessities. A December 2017 series by the Daily Courier found there isn't enough rental housing to keep prices affordable. The area has a low vacancy rate, causing a supply deficit that pushes up rental rates.
But it's not just about simple supply. We need more affordable multifamily rental housing, and we need it near public transit routes, school, employment, and grocery stores. Across our region, even as housing development has picked up, apartments and other multifamily units, as well as rental units, have lagged.
This leads to wide reaching impacts for our community, especially for our most vulnerable community members such as children. Last year alone there were 987 homeless students in Josephine County. Housing instability creates lifelong impacts for health, educational attainment, and economic security.
These conditions are what led the Josephine County Commission to declare a housing state of emergency late last year.
But we can act now and call on the city council to take a step toward addressing these complex issues by saying yes to 52 units of affordable rental housing.