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Housing and working families discussed during Wyden's latest Eugene stop

Brian Bull

Affordable housing is among the issues U.S. Senator Ron Wyden is discussing on his latest tour of Oregon. 

Wyden met with Eugene-area press in the Market District Commons, one of the newest affordable housing developments in the city. Wyden said he’s aiming to make gains with the “Build Back Better” legislation in Congress.

“I’d like to have more housing vouchers, so that folks who are houseless would be in a position to take those vouchers,” he said.

“And it also is a way to make the marketplace more competitive.”

Credit Brian Bull / KLCC
Jacob Fox (left) of Homes for Good; Nichi Linder (right) of Family Forward Oregon.

Wyden was joined by Jacob Fox, of the Homes for Good housing agency. He said pre-pandemic, they had over 7,000 applicants a week for their housing choice voucher program, and they’ve distributed a lot in rent assistance since then.

“Homes for Good’s distributed over $10 million to the community,” Fox said in response to a question posed by KLCC.

“So those just give you a sense of what the need is, and how we need leadership from our national elected officials to deliver for our communities.”

A recent Eugene Chamber of Commerce report shows more than 3,100 people in Lane County lack shelter.

The Build Back Better plan has a number of items advocates say is important to help working families.

Senator Wyden was joined by a working parent during his latest press conference in Eugene today.

Nichi Linder of Family Forward Oregon said previous legislation has helped them through COVID-19 and the pandemic economy.

“Expansion of the Child Tax Credit through the American Rescue Plan is already proving to be a huge deal for families, lifting millions to incomes above our country’s poverty threshold in just its first month,” said Linder.

“But in order to fix the systemic issues that have made us so vulnerable to this crisis in the first place, we have to expand and extend cash assistance benefits like child tax credits and the EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) permanently.”

Climate change and prescription drug prices were also discussed as legislative issues Wyden plans to address after he gets back to the Senate. 

Congress is working through many provisions in the Build Back Better plan. Differences are expected both along political lines with Democrats and Republicans, and between moderate and progressive Democrats.

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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