Having a place where folks can become a member of the community helps to create a sense of pride in that community. When your neighbors have been close for so long that you can begin to cultivate friendships, it blooms into community value and cooperation. Community cooperation is vital in making sure we are all working together to make where we live the best place it can be.

I believe in building strong communities. It’s easy and increasingly common to express this value, but it can be much more difficult and rare for us to live up to it. One of the most basic elements of every community is its infrastructure: the houses, apartments, manufactured structures, townhouses, or whatever other place we call home. But housing is more than just a shelter over our heads — it is an investment that provides an anchor to our communities, our jobs, our health care providers and our friends.

As citizens, it’s time for us to pay more attention to the importance and need for adequate low-income housing in many areas throughout the state. Washington County has been singled out for many years when it comes to low-income housing opportunities. This year, we can all do a little something to help make more housing opportunities a reality in Washington County.

Low-income housing is designed to help first-time home buyers and folks facing economic problems afford a decent place to live. In Washington County, a family with an income of approximately $32,000 or less would be eligible for low-income housing. Many of the people who are eligible for these homes are hard-working community members who want to make a home in our area. Low-income housing provides that opportunity for many of our friends and community members.

As a state representative, I will support efforts to create opportunities to build, maintain or repurpose housing in Washington County. By building and supporting the full spectrum of housing options, we can support our construction industry and local businesses while also creating more vibrant neighborhoods with stronger community ties.

I was proud to vote in favor of House Bill 2349 in the Human Services and Housing Committee. This bill will extend a tax credit sunset for single-unit, low-income housing until 2025. We place sunsets, or endings, on tax credits to make sure they are still positively affecting the state in the way they were intended to do. I voted in favor of this bill because I believe we need to continue creating avenues for people to be able to afford housing. Now it is on its way to the Committee on Tax Credits to ensure that the cost and benefits to the state are what we expected. When we find that to be true, I will continue my support of this sound policy .

As we encourage businesses to grow in House District 30, it is important to recognize that more jobs means more workers. Economic growth requires housing and all the other services that accompany community living. Adequate housing is a key aspect in maintaining a healthy community, and I plan to live up to that value in the Legislature.

State Rep. Joseph Gallegos (D-Hillsboro) represents Oregon’s 30th Legislative District in Salem.

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