Lane County Board of County Commissioners approved an affordable housing action plan conducted by Better Housing Together on Wednesday. The goal is to increase housing options and reduce the risk of homelessness.
The plan includes a series of recommendations like loan programs, leveraging land for housing, and focusing on building smaller homes. Also suggested is partnering with faith-based groups in the area and local colleges and universities.
Commissioner Jay Bozievich voted against the measure citing a lack of support for the private sector.
“Where [are] the actions to... remove permit requirements, to make it easier to construct, to lower the infrastructure requirements in a subdivision?” Bozievich continued, ”It's incredible how much more expensive it is before you ever even build a foundation to build a housing unit in Lane County and in Oregon.”
At the Dec. 15 meeting, Bozievich suggested that building more housing, whether it’s affordable or not, will decrease housing costs overall.
The underproduction of housing is one factor highlighted in the affordable housing plan, as well as low wages and available land.
In response to a question related to Bozievich's concern by commissioner Joe Berney about private partnerships, presenter Kaarin Knudson suggested considerations for the private sector could be worked on down the line. Knudson is the Project Lead at Better
Better Housing Together is a group of organizations and businesses working to address the housing crisis in Lane County.
Close to 55% of Lane County renters are considered cost-burdened by their housing, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on their housing, according to Better Housing Together.
Commission Chair Heather Buch praised Better Homes Together for developing a plan that allows the county to act as a coordinator in building more housing.
“I really feel like this is a housing masterplan for our entire county and community because this [has] a lot of information in it, a lot of action that we could be doing, some of it easier than others, but it is something we now have a path forward in trying,” she said.
The measure passed 4-1, with commissioners Heather Buch, Pete Sorenson, Joe Berney, and Pat Farr voting in support of the measure. Joy Bozievich voted against the measure.
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