LANE COUNTY, Ore. — October is Housing America Month–a month when all of us are encouraged to recommit ourselves to meeting the affordable housing needs of our community.
The Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County (HASCA) says 20 million Americans spend 50 percent of their income on rent. The housing it provides brings that number down to 30 percent.
But can you point out public housing? HASCA and other organizations plan to showcase what affordable housing looks like in a unique way.
HASCA, St. Vincent de Paul, Metro Affordable Housing and ShelterCare joined hands in creating art. It all got started with a spark of inspiration from Eugene’s Mayor Kitty Piercy.
“The mayor was speaking at the opening of Willakenzie Crossing, and she looked around and she said wouldn’t it be great if the community could see what affordable housing looks like?” said Larry Abel, HACSA Executive Director.
About a dozen photos show off lush gardens, well maintained buildings, and exude an upscale feeling.
Abel spent the past 30 years helping shape the look of affordable housing.
“At Parkview Terrace, 150 units, you could drive by and never know it was public housing. It’s a great asset to the community because of the way it looks,” Abel said.
“I’m hoping that what this exhibit does is it helps more people see images of what affordable housing in our community looks like,” said Betsy Hunter, HACSA Developmental Director.
Despite providing more than 700 affordable housing units around town, Abel says funding has dwindled.
“Really had to cut down on staff, and it’s really tough times to operate right now,” Abel said.
But he says having the support of city leaders doesn’t hurt. Earlier in the month Piercy read the proclamation of Housing America Month in a city council meeting and continues to show her support for affordable housing.
“Collaboration makes the most sense in the world so we kinda pool all our resources,” Abel said.
“As it gets colder outside, gets windier outside, I hope more people thinking about making sure everyone in this community has an affordable and stable place to live,” Hunter said.
Future affordable housing developments are in the works. Bascom Village in north Eugene and a project in Glenwood.
If you are interested in seeing the photo exhibit to learn more about what affordable housing looks like, it will be at the Holiday Market from mid-November until Christmas time.