Stable housing is a public safety issue
Hundreds of Oregonians from around the state recently traveled to the Capitol in Salem, urging lawmakers to address the current housing crisis and protect vulnerable renters.
They called upon us to pass House Bill 2004, which would implement a just-cause eviction policy and lift the statewide prohibition on rent stabilization.
These steps to protect tenants have won broad support because they will help keep more families in their homes and create more stable and diverse communities.
As chief co-sponsors of HB 2004 and former law enforcement officers, we are fighting for safe and stable housing for an additional reason: it is critical for the safety and well-being of survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
We have personally witnessed the challenges facing survivors after they leave a violent relationship. ometimes they need medical care, they are often economically vulnerable, and they are always in crisis.
A study cited by the National Alliance to End Homelessness regarding the effects of domestic violence "found that 92 percent of homeless women had experienced severe physical or sexual assault at some point in their lives, 63 percent had been victims of violence by an intimate partner, and 32 percent had been assaulted by their current or most recent partner."
This is consistent with our experience from years of responding to these calls.
Once survivors leave the abusive situation, one of the most important things is to secure safe, stable housing. Unfortunately, affordable housing is increasingly difficult to find.
In East Multnomah County, two out of three renters with extremely low incomes are paying more than half of their take-home pay on rent. In this tight housing market, vulnerable populations are in an especially dangerous situation.
When faced with a no-cause eviction or a dramatic and unplanned rent increase, survivors are often left with a heart-wrenching choice — homelessness, or returning to their abusers. In fact, 38 percent of domestic violence victims become homeless at some point in their lives.
This is not the Oregon we want.
Displacement due to rent increases or no-cause evictions can have a profound impact on any Oregonian, but it can have a particularly damaging and dangerous effect on survivors of domestic violence and their children.
We will keep fighting to pass HB 2004 to create greater housing stability for all renters, including survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Carla Piluso represents House District 50 (South Gresham) and Rep. Chris Gorsek represents House District 49 (Troutdale, Wood Village, Fairview and North Gresham.)