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Mayor Wheeler releases data on average wait time for many subsidized affordable housing units

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It takes an overall average of 5 years to get into local affordable subsidized housing, according to new data and analysis from Home Forward (Portland’s local housing authority), requested by  Mayor Ted Wheeler.

“Spiking increases in untreated mental illness and drug addictions make these years-long housing wait times deadlier than ever. We need more affordable housing and we need to connect more houseless to health services while the wait,” said Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

Wheeler pointed to a recent story in the Oregonian that illustrates the growing challenges that more and more Portlanders are facing.

This analysis, which collected thousands of data points from housing providers across the city, show that the waiting list to get into subsidized affordable housing, through public housing units (PH) and project-based housing choice voucher (PBV), can take up to ten years.

While PBV and PH units represent only a portion of the deeply subsidized units available in the community and one of the various pathways into housing for people experiencing homelessness, they make up a substantial portion of affordable housing availability in the Portland area. They provide housing for both housed and unhoused individuals. For example, in FY21, of the 1073 households placed in Home Forward PH units, 395 (37%), were homeless at the time of entry.