At CAT we are organizing to end the housing injustice that impacts low-income renters on a daily basis. Throughout CAT’s history, our members have prioritized three main issues to address housing injustice for renters in Oregon. These three issues are highly interconnected.
1) In Oregon, there is a drastic shortage of affordable housing.
2) Oregon tenants face a lack of protections from unjust evictions.
3) State housing maintenance requirements are inadequate and local requirements are scattershot and often poorly enforced.
The lack of affordable housing limits a tenant’s ability to move out and find other housing if a landlord fails to respect the rights of the tenant or his/her responsibilities as a landlord. The lack of strong housing maintenance laws and enforcement places the burden on the tenant to hold a landlord accountable when the landlord refuses to make needed repairs. Additionally, the constant threat of a retaliatory no-cause eviction cripples a tenant’s ability to demand repairs, or stand up against other abusive or discriminatory practices. Low-income tenants are often faced with the choice between substandard, unhealthy and unsafe housing, and no housing at all.
We are organizing low-income tenants and our allies to win new funding to save existing affordable housing and develop new affordable housing. At the same time we are organizing to improve protections for tenants under local ordinances and state law.
Renters in Oregon face a devastating affordable housing shortage:
- One in four Oregonians pay more than half of their income for rent.
- Over 20,000 students in Oregon’s K-12 schools are homeless.
- A minimum wage worker in Oregon had to work 72 hours a week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
- There continues to be a severe shortage of affordable housing units for low-income renters. In Multnomah County, the shortage is over 25,0000, and in Oregon, it is over 100,000.
Despite the magnitude of the housing crisis in Oregon, we can and must create safe, stable, affordable housing for everyone.
- Renters in Oregon should be able to afford housing and still have enough money left for groceries and other basic necessities.
- Children deserve the opportunity to succeed in school and life, which is tied to having a stable home.
- Housing gives people the opportunity to build better lives. To succeed you need a place to call home.
- It’s only fair that everyone has a safe and decent place to live.
At CAT we are active in collaborative, local and statewide campaigns to secure more resource for affordable housing.
At the local and regional level, we work with a variety of housing advocates and service providers to ensure that tenants have safe, stable and affordable homes.
- CAT advocates for rental housing maintenance codes for cities and counties, and ensures that those same programs are held accountable and properly funded. Tenants needing important repairs rely on a strong housing code and enforcement, or inspections, to ensure that landlords are responsible under the law.
- CAT works with local housing groups, through the campaigns such as “Affordable Housing Now!” or “We Are the Safety Net” to seek new and stable funding streams for the Portland region.
At the state level, CAT works to win better protections for tenants in two ways:
- CAT participates in Landlord/Tenant negotiations that take place each legislative session to address changes to the State’s landlord/tenant act, and
- CAT supports legislative proposals to protect tenants through our work in the statewide Housing Alliance.