Ridgeland Apartments on Center Street Northeast on Jan. 12. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)
The Salem City Council meets Monday evening for a work session with county, school district and transit officials to discuss housing needs in Salem.
Joining councilors for the 6 p.m. work session are Marion County Commissioners, Polk County Commissioner Jeremy Gordon, the Salem Area Mass Transit Board of Directors and Salem-Keizer School District board members.
Councilors are holding the work session to comply with House Bill 4006, which requires some cities including Salem to hold public meetings to discuss causes, barriers and potential solutions to local rent burdens, according to the agenda item. Panelists will share their experience developing subsidized, affordable, and market-rate housing in Salem as well as what impacts their affordability.
The state's Housing and Community Services department informed the city of Salem on April 1 that it had designated the city as being "severely rent burdened," the agenda item said. That means of the nearly 27,000 households renting housing, more than 25% spend over half of their income on rent. In Salem, that figure is 25.85% based on 2020 Census data.
As required by House Bill 2003 for cities with populations over 10,000, Salem city staff will begin working on a Housing Production Strategy. The report, due in 2025, will list actions and policies the city plans to take to address the need for housing, produce it and "achieve fair and equitable housing outcomes," according to the agenda item.
City officials are also working to designate more land for multi-family housing and offering incentives to close gaps in financing them, intended to provide affordable housing for people at risk of becoming homeless.
City staff also invited local housing and service providers to livestream the work session, including the Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency, the city's Planning Commission, neighborhood associations in Salem, urban renewal advisory boards; PacificSource and the Mid-Valley Homeless Alliance.
How to participate: View the meeting on YouTube or watch on CC:Media Channel 21.