PORTLAND, Ore. – Federal funds for rental assistance aren’t exactly plentiful, but in Washington County what’s even more scarce are actual available apartments.

Washington County had to give back more than $221,000 in federal rent assistance in 2015 because renters couldn’t find available apartments, the county said.

The lack of affordable housing impacts people across the region.

There are 100,000 low-income people statewide who need housing, according to Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports there are only 20 affordable homes available for every 100 households that need them in the Portland metro area.

In Multnomah County, there is one affordable unit for every five extremely low income families who needs it, according to the Oregon Housing Alliance.

People with Section 8 vouchers see this issue, too. Last year, a quarter of those who received a voucher in Multnomah County had to give it back because they couldn’t find an available apartment to rent.

The problem is bound to grow as Oregon looks to slash $1.4 billion from its budget after Measure 97 failed to pass. The future of federal housing dollars, like the ones Washington County returned, are uncertain as President-elect Donald Trump nears his inauguration date.

One beacon of light for housing in Portland is the recently passed housing bond, which will raise $258.4 million for affordable homes. That initiative is expected to create at least 1,300 units for low-income people.


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